Mistakes to Avoid in Real Money Games

All poker players especially those who are new to the game need to understand that each and every mistake that you make at the poker table costs you money. In the case of no limit hold'em where potentially your entire stack can be at risk during any betting round, it can be a lot of money! So it makes sense to try and make fewer mistakes then your opponents and to learn from the mistakes we commit to improve our game moving forward.

Playing Too Many Hands

If you want to master poker it all starts with understanding the value of different starting hands, which is easy to learn through a good starting hand chart. This will outline the hands you should be raising with depending on your position. One of the main mistakes to avoid in real money poker games, which are common and made by many novice players, is playing too many hands. Poker is a game of patience and well-timed aggression. Raising or calling with lots of hands because you're bored or out of frustration will inevitably put you into situations where you make bad plays due to your bad pre-flop decisions.

You can avoid this all together by being stricter with your pre-flop starting hand selection. In loose passive games where players don't like folding, you are going to have to rely on making a better hand than your opponent, which is not going to happen often when you are playing garbage hands. Try and only play hands when you can be reasonably confident that you will be ahead of your opponent's range of hands. Hands like Q7, KT, K8, are troublesome hands that can be very costly when you flop top pair and go with it. When you do this you are just gambling and not playing winning poker.

Defending Blinds Too Often

New players also make the mistake of playing too many hands "out of position". Basically this refers to players having to act first post flop so the other players have "position" on them in the hand. This is a huge disadvantage to have in poker, since our opponents gain more information about your hand, yet many players feel committed to calling from the small blind or big blind simply because they already have something invest in the pot, ignoring the fact they will be playing the hand out of position post flop.

Overvaluing Hands

Another common mistake beginners make is they tend to overplay their hands, and never fold anything equal to or better then top pair. This is a big leak in their games since it completely ignores the range of hands an opponent is playing and what the previous action is telling them. Although top pair is a pretty good hand in hold'em, especially when you have the top kicker or a very good kicker, there is a decent chance you are beat at a full ring table, with 9-10 other players especially when there has been a lot of action. You always want to be mindful of the types of players you are playing against and what their bets, calls, or raises are telling you. For example, if you're playing against a very tight player and you get raised on the turn and you only have a one pair type hand then you very likely are beat. Try and only build big pots with big hands. It can take lots of discipline to do this, but it will improve your win rate significantly.

Slowplaying at the Wrong Times

Slowplaying too much and trying to be trappy is another mistake common among newcomers to poker. Beginners should realize big hands are susceptible to losing very big pots when they are played incorrectly. A big hand preflop or on the flop can very easily become the loser by the time the action gets to the river, so bet big in order to protect your hand when there are potential draws out there. You have the best hand or close to it and want to get more money into the pot whilst you currently have the best hand to get others to pay and chase with incorrect odds! The only time you should consider a slowplay is when there are no draws on the board and it's basically impossible for someone to have a hand they can call with. In these situations, slowplaying and allowing your opponents to make a hand makes sense to win a bigger pot.

Know that these common newbie mistakes are preventable and should be avoided at all costs if you don't like burning money. It all starts with the decisions you make pre-flop this cannot be overstated enough since any mistake made before the flop gets compounded on the flop and later streets. Understand that some hands don't have a positive expected outcome. As you gain more experience playing poker, you will start becoming aware about the obvious and may be not so obvious mistakes you are making, and by having a commitment to improving your game, it will go a long way to ensuring improved results on the felt.