Biggest Pre-flop Leaks in Holdem

In today’s world of poker, there are literally thousands of sites offering up poker strategy. From the very basics, to the highly advanced. With this wealth of information at your fingertips, it still blows my mind when I see some mistakes that beginners and even seasoned players continuously make.

Most of these mistakes are very common and easy to fix. To me, they are plays that anyone should understand not to make, yet you see them on a regular basis. This is obviously good for me, as I like when players make mistakes. But, if you want to be one of the better players at the tables, you need to start avoiding these common pre-flop mistakes in Holdem.

Mistake #1-Limping

This is by far, the most common mistake you will see at a poker table. This is especially true at the lower stakes and even in live poker up to the mid-stakes.
In case you don’t know what limping in means, let me break it down for you. It’s when you just call the blind pre-flop instead of making a raise. If it’s folded to you, or are first to act, limping in would be just calling the amount of the big blind.

Why limping in pre-flop is such a big mistake? For starters, you are playing a weak loose game by limping in. Most of the time when a player limps in, they are just looking to get lucky and hit some cards on the board. They have no regard as to what the other players may have and are only relying on their own hand strength to win. Often times their hand strength is very weak since they only limped.

When you raise, you are playing aggressive and giving yourself more ways to win the pot. First by making a hand, and more importantly, getting your opponent to fold. By playing an aggressive style of poker, you are constantly putting pressure on other players and forcing them into making a decision. When you limp, you concede control of the hand and allow other players to put pressure on you.

This mistake is easy to fix however. To fix this mistake, you either raise or fold. If you feel inclined to play a hand, just raise it up instead of limping in and looking to hit a hand. There are many hands that shouldn’t be played which will be another mistake we will get into shortly. But, if you must play the hand, raise!

Mistake #2-Playing too many hands

Many players love to play as many hands as they can. One of my favorite reasons for playing a hand is when someone says, “I had 8-2 off suit last hand and the board came down all 8s, I should have played the hand. “This leads to a trail of reasoning that only the player understands and justifies the next trash hand they play.
My reply to this theory is: Would you fold pocket Aces after losing with them one time? The answer will surely be no.

If you’re just starting out in poker, playing few hands is the right way to approach the game. Even if you’re a skilled player, you still want to have a decent range of hands that can be played. Never play a hand just to play one or because it would have won the last time you had it.

Mistake #3-Misuse of the 3 Bet

The 3 bet is a powerful weapon at the poker table. However, it can be your worst enemy when used in the wrong situation.

A common scenario that the 3 bet is used poorly will be from the blinds. When a player opens from the button or cutoff, the average player will initially think it’s a steal attempt and want to 3 bet any 2 cards. This may work against certain players who will fold to a 3 bet a lot of the time, but in many cases the reasoning behind the 3 bet is wrong.

Many times a player will 3 bet someone who will never fold and wonder why their 3 bets aren’t showing a profit. It’s funny how poke players love to try and outplay everyone and the 3 bet is their weapon of choice. Yet they fail to realize that 3 bet bluffing someone who never folds is a losing proposition.

Pay attention to how your opponents react at the table and make decisions based on their tendencies, not just the position they raise from. When the 3 bet is used properly, it will be one of your best plays.

After reading these mistakes, tell me if this scenario sounds familiar.

You are in early position with 7-8 of hearts. You like this hand and want to play it, so you limp in. Everyone folds to the button who makes a raise. The action is back on you, and you call, because, hey; you already put some money out there; why not see a flop for a few extra bets.

You see the flop being out of position and miss the board completely. (This will happen over 50% of the time.) You check to your opponent who makes a continuation bet, and you fold. Repeat!

This is a far too common situation that compounds many of the mistakes players make. In your mind, you may think that you only lost a little bit and it’s not a huge deal. But, if you do this all the time, you will be losing a ton of money that adds up very quick.

These are some the easiest mistakes to fix and can save you money in the long run.