How to Avoid Beginners’ Mistakes

laptop open with poker chips sitting on the keyboard

New poker players quickly find out that poker is a very hard game.  There is a lot to learn.  There is also a lot to unlearn!  Some of the mistakes new players make seem reasonable at first.  Here Juicy Stakes Poker Australia talks about how to minimize beginners’ mistakes.

Why Do Beginners Make So Many Mistakes?

Human nature is involved in everything we do including playing poker!  As you will see in this article, there are elements of poker that are hard to either learn or unlearn.  Let’s get started!

Beginners Often Over-estimate or Under-estimate their Opponents

Your opponents are people too.  You probably don’t know much about them.  Whether you play online here at Juicy Stakes or at a land based poker room, unless you are a poker pro playing against other poker pros, you won’t know even a fraction of the things you need to know to properly evaluate an opponent.

So, you should neither expect that they are well-versed in poker math, that they are experts in the area of hand ranges, that they don’t have any poker tells but that they can read every one of your tells, especially the ones that you don’t know you have, and that they are simply far ahead of you as a poker player.

This is the epitome of over-estimating your opponents!

Especially if you have started out in low stakes games, your opponents are probably just as inexperienced as you are.

On the other hand, you should never think that just because my opponent is a new poker player, he or she is completely ignorant of the nuances of poker.  She might be studying poker math and can accurately calculate pot odds, EV, and other poker esoterica.

He might be a good salesman which would likely make him a good bluffer.  She might be just about ready to advance to a higher stakes level while you are still enough of a neophyte that you will stay at low stakes for quite a while still.

This is the epitome of under-estimating an opponent.

Give each opponent the respect he or she deserves, assume they are intelligent people and that they know something about poker, and are no more or less prone to mistakes than you are.

Keep Your Emotions under Wraps

Poker is a hard game.  There will be a lot of hands that you play right, where the chances of losing the hand are small, and still, you will lose to the one card that can beat you. 

This is universally called a bad beat and poker players have to learn to let a bad beat slide off their back if they want to become really good at poker.  The syndrome that refers to a player who cannot get over a bad beat is tilt.

In everyday life we use the term rage to indicate the same thing.  Someone cuts you off in traffic, costing you exactly five seconds but you fly into what we call road rage.  On airlines, if a passenger can’t get what they need they might go into airplane rage.  Rage is a detrimental emotion in all or most contexts and it keeps poker players from learning the game in depth and advancing as poker players.

As hard as it is at first, keeping your emotions under wraps is a formula for success as important as learning poker math, developing poker patience, and every other aspect of poker.

New Players Tend to Fall in Love….with their Cards!

The most common love affair new players have is when they are dealt pocket aces.  How could they lose?  Well, pocket aces lose a lot of the time.  They will lose to any hand from two pair on up and those lonely aces may fall far short of winning the hand.

If you get pocket aces, you should raise before the flop.  You might raise after the flop as well.  But if it looks like an opponent has two pair or better, you need to be able to fold.

A common occurrence is a hand where two players have pocket pairs and one gets three of a kind on the flop.  Three deuces is a lot better than pocket aces!

The lesson to be learned is that no matter how good your hand is, it might not be goo enough to win the hand.  You need to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em!

Paying to See the Flop

It is very true that the flop can turn a dud of a hand into a big winner.  It is also true that it doesn’t happen all that often.  A dud of a hand is often still a dud after the flop.  It can be expensive to stay in a hand just to see the flop.  Especially at low stakes, many players feel that it is inexpensive to pay to see the flop.

It might be monetarily inexpensive if you can easily afford the cost of calling the big blind.  However, a low stakes payer who stays in to see the flop on hand that they should have folded, which is about 70% of all hands, will never get good enough at poker to justifiably move up to higher stakes games.

Ironically, a lot of these players do try to move up after a period of time at low stakes.  If they haven’t learned to fold before the flop in low stakes games they will probably not be able to fold early in higher stakes games and that might be very detrimental to their bankroll!

Playing low stakes poker should always be a low risk way to learn how to play poker well so you can move up and win at higher stakes.  It should not be seen as a cheap way to play poker.

Staying in too Many Hands after the Flop

After the flop, players have to count their outs.  This is a rudimentary aspect of more complex poker math.  A common new plyer mistake is staying in a hand with a straight or flush draw.  Both of these hands fill in a number of hands.  For most players, it is too expensive to chase every possible straight or flush in the hopes of winning big when the hand fills out.

A lot of hands end up with a straight or flush that doesn’t win much because the opponents can see it developing and get out of the hand before the pot gets big.

Poker players need to learn that most potential hands don’t pay off.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t win big with a big hand.  It simply means that it is usually better to fold after the flop rather than chase a big hand.

Avoiding Poker Math

It is true that poker math is kind of boring.  It can be hard to learn.  For some players, who like to play by the seat of their pants, poker math detracts from the fun of playing poker.  However, if you are playing at low stakes and have a desire to move up to higher stakes, you need to learn the rudiments of poker math.

For players who commit themselves to learning poker math, it turns out to be a lot less difficult than they had thought.  It might still be boring but it’s not as hard to learn as card counting in blackjack or the best strategy for video slots which might be a very long list of playing options.

Poker math is really nothing more than a few simple calculations as the hand progresses.  If you are paying attention to the hand, the math side of it should, over time, become second nature to you.

Play Poker at Juicy Stakes Poker

We offer many ways to play poker.  We offer games in several poker variations so you can play the game you enjoy playing the most.  We also offer games in many stakes levels so new players can have a low risk way to learn this great but difficult game.

Join Juicy Stakes Poker for the finest online poker around!