In today’s competitive poker world, every little thing counts. Fixing leaks in your game is extremely important in order to increase your long-term profits. It’s the small differences that separate the good players from the professional players. This article is aimed to help you avoid the top 10 common mistakes poker players’ make.
Missing a value bet is the worst and most common mistake I see on the felt today. How many times have you checked the river, knowing that you will call any bet under ¾ of the pot, and your opponent checks? You present your holding and to your surprise your opponent has a stronger hand than you. Even though they had a stronger hand, you feel relieved that he missed the river bet. This means you lost the minimum. Don’t put yourself in the position where you miss a value bet. If you have a good read on your opponent and you think its worth a value bet on the river, don’t miss the bet due to a competitive table. If you miss a value bet every five hands you win could result in a 25% reduction in your profit margin.
One of the more common situations you see on the felt is amateurs calling down the more experienced players with the weaker ace. It’s important to remember that having top pair with a low or mediocre kicker is not the nuts. If your opponents are betting strong, provided that they don’t bluff too often, it is important to fold your ace by the turn.
Bluffing the donk is a term used by professionals to describe how mediocre players foolishly try to outplay beginners. Have you ever been in a position where you have designed the perfect bluff, only to find out that your opponent is stupid enough to call you down with a ridiculous holding? It’s your responsibility to estimate your opponent’s capabilities and calling range, a true professional will never perform a complex bluff on a beginner, due to the fact that they can be unpredictable.
A big mistake many players make is over calling small pocket pair’s pre-flop, hoping to hit their set and cash-in big. It’s important to understand that you will only hit your set on the flop approximately one in eleven times. If the bet preflop is, you have to call in order to see a flop with your small pocket pair larger than 1/11 of your stack, your play is unprofitable in the long run. In simpler terms, it is not profitable to call a $20 bet in a $1/$2 game with a stack of $200 with a small pocket pair.
We all know that poker is a psychological game, but do you actually understand what it means for someone to get in your mind and play tricks with you. A professional’s objective when trying to psych you out is to make things personal. This can be done by showing you a bluff or chatting aggressively, anything to get you steamed up. As a result, you will eventually make bad decisions, trying to take some sort of revenge and eventually paying him off.
Let’s face it; we all love to see aces in our hole cards, but knowing when to fold them in play is what separates the boys from the men in the Texas Hold’em. There are some situations where a correct read and a dangerous board, force a player to fold this premium holding, but some amateurs just won’t let go. Don’t forget, pocket aces are just a pair, the lowest of ranked holdings in Hold’em.
Calling with a small flush draw can definitely be tempting, especially when there are a lot of players willing to put money on the flop. But what happens if you hit your flush draw and one of your opponents has a larger flush? Basically, you’re drawing dead and will go bust. To play it safe, it is advisable to not commit yourself to multi-way pots with a small flush draw.
Showing your cards can be a powerful tool for releasing false information about the way you play specific types of hands and can prove valuable in future situations. But you must be very cautious of observant professionals on the table. They will not be looking at your holding, but at your physical tells that connect your holding to your style of play. That means that if you showed a bluff, next time you’re bluffing the pro he will know via certain movements and tendencies you subconsciously present.
A very important tool you must always have in your arson is the mental chip count of all of your opponents. If you know everyone’s stack then you are less likely to commit yourself to situations you cannot get out of. To provide an example, in a $1/$2 cash game, if you raise from the button $15 with A10 and the big blind pushes you all in for a total of $35, you have committed yourself to calling due to pot odds, when in fact you are almost certain that you are behind.
Knowing when to put an end to your bluff is important in the game of poker. It is understandable that after bluffing two streets you don’t want to just surrender your chips to your opponent, but you have to understand, there are some games that just cannot be won.