Poker Strategy: Common Oversights by Beginner Players

Poker has gained widespread popularity over the past decade due to its engaging mix of strategy, stakes, and luck. Unlike every other casino game, poker isn’t a game of chance. You play against real people, implying limitless possibilities. 

Every game is different, so players must know how to adapt to every potential situation. The element of luck also keeps the game fresh and exciting, as you’re never 100% certain of any outcome. Lastly, poker being played with real money means that you’re constantly on the edge of your seat. It also means the game can be very lucrative if you’re good enough. All these factors combine to make poker the giant it is today.  

Learning the basic mechanics for simple poker variants like Texas Holdem is relatively easy. However, poker has an extensive range of strategies and nuances that make it a game you can spend a lifetime learning. There’s a world of differences between beginners and experienced players, with a key reason for that being the many mistakes rookies make.

If you’re new to the game, this poker guide aims to help you by describing the common errors you’re most likely making. By identifying them and adjusting your strategy, you can make significant improvements to your game in a short amount of time.  


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Mistake #1: Limping

Limping in poker is often seen as a disgrace because it is detrimental to your game. It is when you call the big blind preflop instead of raising or folding. While it gives you a chance of seeing the flop cheaply, you miss out on so much more since you weren’t aggressive. 

A raise provides you a chance of winning the hand outright. It reduces the number of players you have to deal with.

Limping does the opposite. It encourages players to join the pot and reduces your chances of winning since the more players there are, the more likely someone has a better hand than you. Limping also puts a target on your back since it’s a sign that you aren’t confident in your hand and are inexperienced. 


Mistake #2: Playing too passively

Many beginners are afraid when playing poker, likely due to playing with real money. Not knowing what to do, they revert to a passive playstyle in the hopes that it will minimize their losses. The truth is, winning poker requires aggression for numerous reasons. 

Aggression lowers the number of players in the pot, making winning easier. It puts pressure on your opponents, causing them to make bad decisions and to potentially fold to you. Lastly, aggression helps build the pot, increasing your potential reward.

Passive play gives you none of these benefits, putting you at the mercy of the cards since you can’t make others fold. While you may not suffer huge losses playing passively, you’ll slowly lose over time. 


Mistake #3: Sticking to one playstyle

Poker’s a game about adaptation. No one strategy is always the best in every situation, so a static approach is not recommended. Beyond that, always employing one strategy will make you incredibly predictable. If your opponents know your game plan, they will adjust their strategy to counter it.

For example, if you are a tight player that will always fold to a bet if you don’t have a strong hand, they will simply bluff you more often. Mix up your playstyle to remain unpredictable and to adapt to the situation. 


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Mistake #4: Relying solely on luck

If you want to be successful at poker, you must depend on more than just fate. Although getting an excellent hand can feel amazing, no game is set in stone. A bad hand can win just as much as a good hand can lose. 

While this doesn’t mean that you should always chase bad hands, it also doesn’t mean you should lose hope when seeing them. At the same time, your strategy should complement your strong hand to get maximum value. You should play aggressively and be proactive with a strong hand instead of sitting around and waiting for what you assume will be a guaranteed win at the showdown. 

Remember, luck is only temporary, and poker is a long-term game. Over time, skill will always win out. 


Mistake #5: Playing too often without breaks

Avid poker players know to have a strategy and understand the game’s rules. However, nobody can deny that poker is mentally exhausting. 

Taking a few breathers between games is essential to ensuring your best chance at success. It’s easy to get caught up in the adrenaline of each hand. A healthy belief in yourself and feeling sure of your actions are necessary when playing any game. However, there comes the point where one can become overconfident and tired from playing too much. It can lead to careless decisions and a sense of complacency. 

Taking short breaks allows time for players to reset and helps keep them more focused on each hand. Doing this leads to better overall decision-making and enables you to enjoy the game more.


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Start improving today

Now that you know some of the most common mistakes new poker players make, avoid such missteps in your games. And remember, practice makes perfect. So get out there and start honing your skills. Maybe one day you’ll teach someone else how to play. Thanks for reading, and try your skills in online poker!