Every year, a new pool of people enters the poker world. Perhaps they’ve just turned legal age, or watched it on TV or online and want to try it for real. Whilst this is great for the poker community it’s great for the individual too as they come to grips with one of the most fun and complex card games known to man. The only downside is that they’re initially at a disadvantage due to their inexperience. That’s why in this post we’re going to detail the common mistakes made my novices so that if any novices read this, they can address them early in their poker journey. Let’s get to it!
Forgetting Hand Rankings
One of the most obvious errors beginners make is forgetting the order of hand rankings. A common error is to think that a straight beats a flush. They will be sitting there thinking their 9 high straight is good at the river only to lose out to an opponent holding a flush. Their shocked expression when the chips move to their opponent is a sight to behold. An easy way to counter this mistake is to use a poker cheat sheet PDF early in your poker career. As long as you have one on the wall or printed off and nearby, there will be no reason to ever forget the order of hand rankings.
Overplaying Any Ace
Don’t get me wrong, an ace is a nice card to hold in Texas Hold’em. But when you’re up against between 5 and 8 other opponents, an ace on its own isn’t that great. Remember there are three other aces in the deck and the second card you hold is just as important. If you’re sitting there with an ace four, anyone else who has an ace and hit on the board will have you outkicked the vast majority of the time. The problem beginners have is that they think the ace on its own is priceless. As you gain experience, you’ll realise that the kicker you have with it is what really counts. Therefore, avoid the urge to play low aces and stick with ace ten and up.
Experts realise that position is power in poker. Beginners don’t seem to understand this. As such, they’ll happily call raises out of position, play marginal hands from early position and defend the small blind too widely. The result of this is that they face difficult decisions on a regular basis, far more difficult than they need to be. The key to avoiding this error is to appreciate that acting last is worth more than your hand sometimes. Therefore, you should be employing tighter hand selection when you’re likely to act first post-flop.
Only Focusing on Their Hand
Last but not least we come to novices only focusing on their own hand. This is forever happening in live games where a new poker player isn’t giving any consideration to what others hold. This is human nature as we’re always interested in ourselves and sometimes not looking around us. This extends to the poker table for novices as they don’t read the situation and only worry about what they’re holding. The result of this is that they may pay off too lightly or miss easy opportunities to bluff.