Mistakes happen; we all know and accept that as part of our day-to-day lives. That said, when they consistently appear in your poker game, be it online or in a live card room, they can cost you a lot of money. Here are three mistakes that I’ve observed cropping up in players at all levels of experience, and how you can fix them.
Mistake 01: Focusing Only On Your Hand
It’s easy to focus on your own hand, but you have to remember that poker is a game of relative strength. That means that your hand may be fantastic, but it has to beat the other players’ to make you money. Take the time and effort to figure out what your opponents might have based on their betting patterns had the community cards. If they’re a tight-aggressive player who rarely raises and the flop is 4-6-7, you could be facing trips or a straight while holding A7 and thinking you’ve got it made.
If you’re having trouble concentrating on the others’ hands while you’re playing, just observe the next time you’re not in on a hand.
Mistake 02: Being Too Predictable
That tight-aggressive player we mentioned in the earlier mistake you might be making? What if they had covered their tracks and had left you unsure when it cameos time for you to bet. Even if you maintain an overall tight aggressive profile, take the time to put the fear in your opponents by playing speculative hands harder than you normally would on occasion. Even if you end up folding, they’ll remember it and will likely believe that you’re a looser player than you normally are. This gives you a chance to maximize your winnings when you get AA or the like.
Mistake 03: Playing In Too Many Multi-Table Tournaments
Let’s be frank: with the time involved and the number of players, poker tournaments can frequently involve more luck than most people would like to admit. It’s not unusual to have an online poker tournament where 300+ players compete over a six-hour span of time. With that many players and so many different player types in on the action, there are an awful lot of coin flip plays and bad beats being handed out.
Tournaments are terrific, but it’s hard to consistently win money for most players and they also adversely affect your cash game. That’s why so many players specialize in one or the other. Add in the fact that tournament players generally don’t play that many post flop hands and you’ve got a greater learning curve to overcome if you’ve been sticking to that style of play. That’s why I recommend playing in ring games for very low stakes to get the skills that can take you further.
If you’re making these three mistakes, it’s okay! One of the best things about poker is that you can make progressive improvements to your game and work to play better while you’re earning. Don’t get too frustrated when you find yourself making errors; instead, correct your game and make that money.