When it comes to live dealer games online, the most popular card game is Texas Hold’em Poker. It’s a fast-paced and exciting game that offers a wide range of different table values online, whether you’re a casual player or an experienced pro that’s looking to build their poker career. However, it’s the attention to detail and being knowledgeable about strategy, that will separate the great players from talented amateurs.
The world of online poker does offer big cash rewards for those who have smart and risk-taking strategies. If you want to learn how to win those amazing pots on a single hand, here are some of the most common mistakes that you should avoid making as a rookie.
1. Not Taking the Time to Study Your Opponents
This is the most common mistake that any player, professional or amateur, can make when entering a poker table for the first time. It generally comes from overconfidence and thinking that they have the upper hand against their opponents, and it shows in their style of playing. They typically make unadvisable bets, call on weak hands, and generally play haphazardly.
When you enter the table for the first time, it’s always advisable to take the time to size up your opponents first. No matter how strong your hand is, always play cautiously for a few rounds to analyze and understand the playing style of your opponents. For experienced players, they will generally have a better idea of who is sitting with them at the table after a few rounds of play.
2. Calling a Hand with the Weaker Ace
Here’s a mistake that will immediately single out rookies: calling any hands when holding an ace. While we all know that an ace is a strong card to have, being overconfident when holding an ace can be a huge pitfall, especially if you’re holding the weaker ace.
While there’s always a chance that you can catch a break and another ace gets drawn on the river, chances are you will still lose because of your low kicker. If you notice that your opponent is still betting strongly against you, you might want to consider folding your weaker ace hand.
3. Calling a Small Flush Draw in a Multi-Player Pot
There’s always a rush that comes with seeing that a flush draw is being created on the river, but this rush can blind you to the fact that it’s very easy to lose on a flush draw unless you’re holding the highest possible card: the ace.
In a multi-player pot, holding on to a flush draw in the hopes of winning the big pot has a huge chance of turning out badly for you, especially if you’re holding mediocre or lower-middle cards.
4. Showing Your Cards
After winning a few hands, you might feel that “winner high” especially if you come out with a huge win. This rush might compel you to show your cards just to rub it in your opponent’s faces! While there is some satisfaction to showing off a winning hand, it also gives experienced players around the table a clue into your playing style.
There is some strategic advantage in showing your cards in order to set up a bluff down the road, but you should know how to use this kind of move to your advantage. In fact, most pro players won’t even show their hands no matter what kind of win they get. In poker, I always recommend playing with an air of mystery and holding your cards close is one of the best ways to do that.
5. Bluffing “Donks”
Do you know one of the surest ways to identify an amateur player? One who tries to bluff others by playing donk bets. In poker, donk bets are short for “donkey bets”, which means that a player who is out-of-position suddenly places a raise a bet post-flop. This type of move signals that the particular player is inexperienced and gives a huge clue on the style of play. In fact, players who place donk bets are viewed as inferior players!
While it might be strategic to play it every now and again to throw off experienced players with regards to your own playing style, it’s a strategy that rarely pays off and might even cost you in wasted bets in the long run.
6. Not Knowing When to Stop Bluffing
Bluffing is an integral part of playing poker; we all know that. However, an experienced player knows when to bluff and when to stop. What’s more, a really good experienced player knows when another player is bluffing uncontrollably, whether it’s because they want to look like they’re on a hot winning streak or they just want to psyche out their opponents.
Like I always tell my clients, a poker game is a like a mental war of attrition: most of the time, you will win by being patient and waiting for a really good hand to come along. There’s a fine line between selling a bluff and knowing when to stop bluffing, no matter how much time and effort you’ve already invested in the strategy. A great poker player knows where that line is and when they should toe it.
7. Committing Yourself to a Hand
Every now and again, you might find yourself becoming committed to a certain hand especially if you’ve already contributed so much to the pot. I understand; sometimes it’s hard to let go of a particular hand even if you know you’re probably going to lose. You want to see the hand through and lose the bet rather than let go of the pot.
You always have to be ready to walk away from a hand. In the long run, becoming committed to a certain pot can cause you to lose even with something as simple as table placement! This becomes even more critical if your stack is smaller compared to your opponents.
8. Getting Psyched Out by Your Opponents
When you lose a hand, especially to a bad beat, it’s easy to become psyched out by your opponents. It’s even easier to become psyched out when you’re playing against the type of opponent who goes out of their way to get into your head by taunting you, intentionally bluffing you, or distracting you.
Always keep in mind that all their antics are aimed towards one goal: to distract you enough to goad you into losing your concentration. Poker is always a mental game and the best players will never allow anything that goes on their table to lose their cool, whether it’s a streak of bad luck or other players playing badly. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to fold a few hands and sit out the next rounds to allow yourself to calm down and regain your composure.