Monday, June 24, 2024

Poker Beginners: Common Mistakes To Avoid


Though it’s been around for some two hundred years, poker has arguably never been as popular as it is right now. Indeed, according to one study, there are around 100 million poker players worldwide — and that figure is growing every year. If you’re considering becoming a poker player yourself, then you’ll find no shortage of games available, both online and in the real world. But you’ll need to know a thing or two before you can play competitively since this game can be particularly unforgiving for new players. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes that you’ll be well-advised to avoid.

Diving Straight In 

For some games, it’s possible — and perhaps even recommended — to just dive in and figure things out as you play. Poker isn’t like that. While newcomers will have to play a hand at some point, they’ll need to learn how to play poker before they sit down at an online or real-world poker table. After all, poker is more complex than your average game, and it’s just not possible to feel your way towards victory. Having a solid sense of the gameplay is key. It’s best to pay particular attention to sites that provide a clear overview of the hand rankings — you’ll find that you refer to them time and time again during your first few games. At some point, they’ll just become second nature. It’s also recommended to double-check which variant of poker is being played at the table; knowing the gameplay for Texas Hold’em won’t do you much good if it’s a game of Omaha poker.

Playing Every Hand

In jazz, they say, “it’s the notes you don’t play that count.” Poker is similar. When we talk about ‘playing poker,’ we very often mean not playing poker. You’re not supposed to play every hand. New players are often eager to jump in and play the game, but it’s better to be OK with missing out on the action. Poker hands are fast and frequent, and if you don’t have a hand that deserves to be played, then it’s better to be patient. The card-gods will align in your favour at some point.

…Or Not Playing Enough

On the other hand, some new players have the opposite problem. They don’t play as many hands as they ought to. Being overly reserved in your gameplay is almost as damaging as playing with a cavalier attitude. You don’t have to wait until you have the perfect hand before you start playing; in the vast majority of cases, it’s the ‘good enough’ hand that ends up winning. It’s also best to keep fear away from the table — just because someone else is playing with confidence or aggression, that doesn’t mean that they have a great hand.

Poker Beginners

Under/Over-valuing Bluffing

Bluffing is very much a part of poker. Newcomers either make the mistake of believing that everyone is bluffing all the time, or that they shouldn’t do it until they’ve perfected their acting skills. You’ll bluff — or should bluff, even if it’s not close to your mind — every now and again. Newcomers can feel a little awkward bluffing when they obviously have a dud hand, but as we said, it’s a part of the game and you’ll need to have it in your locker if you’re going to become a good player. And unlike other aspects of poker, this is something you can really only learn by doing.

Feeling Excitement, Anger

OK, maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say that a poker player should never feel any emotion. It’s an emotional game. But newcomers tend to let their emotions influence their performance, and that’s never a good idea. It’s nearly always the rational, composed mind that ends up winning poker, not the person who has let the excitement of winning a hand go to their head and is now playing with reckless abandon. Also, you’ll lose some frustrating hands — but everyone does, so it’s best to just accept it.


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