Top Mistakes of the Hold'em Newb

Hold’em, like many games, can take a lifetime to master. And one of the reasons why some beginners struggle with the game is they make minor slip-ups that can easily be avoided. With that in mind, here’s a list of the top mistakes most new players make. Avoid these, and your game will get hellova strong, hellova fast:

Playing Too Many Hands: We realize that, when people sit down at a game, they want to play. This excitement, however, often means they’ll play bad hands because they want to stay in the game so bad-ly. Remember: Bad players play bad hands; good players play good hands. If you have a bad hand, get out. Another game will be starting soon.

Playing Above Your Bankroll: This is a fairly easy mistake to make, but it’s also an easy one to avoid. Although it may be hard, don’t get caught up in the excitement and play games you can’t afford. Also: If you’re just starting out, it’s always best to stick to lo-limit games.

Becoming Too Emotional at the Table: Remember: it’s just a game. You’re bound to make bad bets, and you’re also going to lose sometimes. You’ll run into annoying opponents—so does everyone who plays. Just try to go with the flow and not be swayed by your emotions. Getting too emotionally involved is called "going on tilt" and it's something you'll definitley have to overcome if you plan on becoming a poker hotshot. 

Not Using Pot Odds: If your hand needs improvement, the concept of pot odds can help you determine if you should call in order to see the next card on the board. Few beginning players understand pot odds, and they end up calling too often as a result. So, before you hit the tables, make sure you're in the know by clicking here. It will definitely save you a lot of time, money and headaches.

Not Following Etiquette: This is a mistake a lot of players make at brick-and-mortar casinos. Just remember: Most people want the game to move pretty quickly, so if you decide you want to raise, all you have to say is “I raise.” If you decide you want to call, all you have to say is “I call.” Better yet, don’t say anything and push your desired amount to the center of the table. In Texas Hold’em, “efficiency” also means “etiquette.”

Imitating Other Players: Understandably, a lot of new players learn how to play Texas Hold’em by mimicking the style of other players. The problem with this is, the decisions those players make are usually determined by that particular game and probably won’t work in all cases. Develop your own style and strategy as quickly as you can. After all, succeeding at Hold’em isn’t done through imitation, but through understanding the complexities of the game.

Superstitions: Most people believe in luck, and while we’d like to be able to dissuade them, we know we’d have a better chance of swatting a dust mite with a tennis racket. Honestly, if luck does exist, it tends to even itself out over the long run—surprisingly adhering to the rules of probability and the Law of Large Numbers. But because gambling involves randomness, people will often chalk up the outcome of a game to completely unrelated events that coincide with how they fared at a certain gambling session. This may be as innocent as believing in a lucky shirt, a lucky hat or even a lucky pair of squibs. But however such superstitions impinge upon your fashion sense, you can’t let them go too far. You can’t, for instance, believe that if you constantly move seats or change socks—thereby killing everyone else’s “lucky” groove—that you’ll somehow wind up the next World Series of Poker champ. Get real! The only thing you actually have the power to control in Hold’em is how well you play. Play a great game and you’ll win more often than even “luck” would have it. And get this: A great player can be stark naked if he wants—assuming, of course, that he’s playing online.

Overvaluing Suited Hands: Having a suited hand is a plus, but you should never play a hand just because it’s suited. The first two things to consider about a starting hand are the ranks of the cards and whether the cards are paired. These are, by far, the most important factors in the value of a hand. After this, you should consider if they are suited or connecting.

-Jim Abrahamsson