Learn to play poker like a pro
Welcome to FREEPOKER-ONLINE.NET, your resource for great poker tips and advice. Before we get started, read through our article on Texas Hold'em and see if you're making these common poker mistakes!
TEXAS MISTAKE #1: Too much bluffing
We’ve all seen the movies when the hero bluffs his way to a huge win against the bad guy, but unfortunately this is more fantasy than reality. Yes, it’s true that bluffing is a part of the game and can be done successfully, however it’s surprisingly not a common play in poker and professionals all over the world very rarely attempt a bluff.
In order for a bluff to work it depends on several factors – your opponents, pot size, bet size, community cards, and timing. If you miscalculate just one of these factors then your bluff isn’t going to work, and more often than not will see you losing a lot of chips.
Bluffing just isn’t as common as what everyone thinks, and the pros take advantage of this misconception every single day and catch out amateurs constantly. So the next time you are thinking of bluffing, then think very carefully. Make sure you only do it when the time is right, and do not over-play a bluff.
TEXAS MISTAKE #2: Forgetting the other players' cards
Time and time again we see players focusing on their own cards and forgetting what the other players may hold. Even though you can’t see the other player’s hole cards you can still see the flop, turn and river. With this knowledge you should be able to work out all the possible hands, and not just your own.
A good example of this is when a player has a pair of Kings before the flop, and still has a pair after the flop. However, an Ace appears on the table and they forget the possibility that someone else may now be beating them. They then focus throughout the whole hand on these pair of Kings and continue to bet assuming either no one is beating them, or another King will come out on the table.
Another common mistake is assuming your top pair is the winning hand, but fail to spot the 3 hearts that are on the table after the flop. If someone is betting big at this stage it could mean they’ve either hit the flush already, or are just one more heart away.
So missing possible straight or flush draws will very often see you losing a lot of chips, and it’s important to take your time and attempt to figure out all of the possible hands which could be made, and give yourself the opportunity to fold and save a lot of chips if this is the right thing to do.
TEXAS MISTAKE #3: Too much slow playing
So what is slow playing?
Slow playing is when a player has a great hand but pretends it is weak. So it’s the opposite of a bluff, and the player either checks or limps in to try and trap an opponent. If an opponent falls for this ruse and bets big, the player who slow played can then raise over the top.
The problem however with slow playing too much is that you won’t always be able to add value to the pot and get your opponent to fall for it and bet high. So if your opponent decides to check and doesn’t bet, then you are losing value to the pot.
You also allow the other players a chance to hit something really good on the turn or river, which is a very dangerous thing to do. If you slow play a top pair of Kings for example all the way to the river and someone else happens to hit a pair of Aces, then you’ve just lost the pot. However, in this situation you could have bet early and forced them out of the hand.
TEXAS MISTAKE #4: Losing it – on tilt
When a player gets angry or frustrated and these emotions affect the way they play, the player is said to be ‘on tilt’. This usually happens when a player loses a large pot, and carries that anger over to the next hand. It makes them even more frustrated when it happens on the river card and they were winning until that point.
What usually happens to a player who’s on tilt is they get overly aggressive with the next few hands, and they bet a lot more chips than they usually would when calm and relaxed. Players on tilt try to force a winning hand because they are angry at a big loss and want to get those chips back as quickly as possible.
Sometimes this might work and their aggressive play steals them a few chips, but most of the time it will only make things worse and betting big on a pair of tens is just going to end up in disaster.
Professional poker players will easily spot when someone is on tilt and will take advantage. So rather than fold the second highest pair they might just take the chance and see it through.
TEXAS MISTAKE #5: Playing too many hands
This is easily one of the biggest mistakes a beginner poker player makes. Everyone who’s fairly new to the game thinks that the only way you can win is if you take part in almost every hand, and that a pair of tens is bound to win. However, the reality is that professional poker players only play around 15-30% of the hands, and only stay in when the time is right.
This could be if they end up heads up, or if they have a great starting hand. Or it could be if they are sat at the blinds and don’t have to pay much to continue. What professional players don’t do is limp in on a King-Ten when there are other players at the table betting big.
An experienced player knows when to fold and save lots of chips, which is the difference between a bad player and a very good one. For some reason a lot of players think folding is a negative way to play, and they assume that constantly playing the hands is the way forward. But when a game may last for hours, this is just a faster way to take yourself out of the game.
TEXAS MISTAKE #6: Playing scared
A lot of players who are new to the game of Texas Holdem are too frightened to play only the very best of hands, because they are afraid of losing. Unfortunately if you only play the best hands you are going to let everyone else in on this secret very quickly, and each time you bet you will see everyone fold leaving you with very small pots.
Players who play like this also get paranoid when another player bets, and instantly assumes they have the winning hand and fold their cards quickly. If a player only ever bets when they have the best hand and always folds to a high bet, they are going to lose very quickly.
Poker isn’t just about holding the winning cards, and experienced players will play against their opponents and not just the cards. If a professional player spots weakness, then they will pounce on this opportunity regardless of the cards they hold.
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