Poker is an easy game to learn but a difficult one to master. Many people play poker their whole lives and never get out of the beginner stage, providing easy pickings for sharper players who know the game well. If you want to be good at poker, it’s a long road, but luckily, learning to play is easier than ever. Thanks to the internet, there’s a huge range of free and helpful guides, videos, and other resources. Whether you want to play recreationally against friends or you aim to turn pro, you can find lots of information that will help.
One of the most important things you can do as a beginner is to cut out some of the classic mistakes. Most beginners all make a lot of the same mistakes as they’re first starting out. This isn’t because they’re destined to be bad at poker, but just because there are habits that you need to learn in order to improve. Anyone can be good at poker games, but it does take hard work, practice, and commitment. If you’re hoping to be a great player after watching a few five-minute videos, you’re in for a rude awakening. Here are some of the most common mistakes that new players make that you should avoid.
Bluffing Too Much
When you first start playing, bluffing your way to the pot can seem very tempting. When you win a couple of times with weak hands, it starts to seem like the best possible strategy. Bluffing is incredibly fun, and it can lead to some big wins. However, players will soon cotton on to your strategy. On top of this, bluffing online tends to not work as much, with players more likely to play aggressively and call you on your bluff.
Getting caught in a bluff can lead to some big losses, and you’ll soon find that other players call you out too. Generally speaking, if you raised on the pre-flop, you should normally raise again on the flop. However, you should normally slow down on the turn and the river if you have nothing. Knowing when to bluff and when to fold a bad hand are things you learn with experience.
Playing High Stakes
A lot of players go into poker with a lot of confidence, thinking that to win big, they need to bet big. While it’s true that you can win more in high-stakes games, you can also lose a lot more. In addition to the added risk, you’ll also be playing against much stronger and more experienced players. In poker, these are known as sharks, and you’ll be bait for them if you’re just starting to learn the game.
No matter how good you think you are or how many games you’ve won against your friends, you should always start off with low stakes. You can always move on to bigger and more experienced tables as you start to grow more confident later on. While high stakes do mean bigger prizes, you can still win a lot of cash playing at smaller stakes tables, especially if you play at multiple tables at once.
Not Making the Most of Software Tools
As a beginner, you should be making the most of your time playing to learn and develop your strategies. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using tracking software that shows you your past hands and the performances of you and your opponents. Tracking how you played after the game is a great way to spot mistakes that you can improve on in future games. All of the best players use tools to get better, especially when they first start out.
However, while tools can be a great way to show your stats and performance, you should be careful about making assumptions from a limited set of data. If you’ve only played one hundred hands, that might not be enough to get a clear picture of your performance. Some of the top players play over one hundred hands an hour, so they have a lot more data to use. The more data you have available, the more useful it can be.