Top 5 Errors in Poker

This was published 07-04-2009

There are many online poker players out there as you all know. In fact, most of them are bad poker players, and you could be one of them. Don’t despair, help is here! This article will discuss some of the most common poker errors made by online gamblers.

Error #1 – Great Starting Hand that Misses the Flop

This has to be one of the most common situations I see online. Poker players get in trouble because they fail to recognize that a great starting hand can be a terrible “ending” hand. Suppose you have A-K. You’ll probably raise pre-flop with a hand like this and if you get a few callers, an interesting pot could develop. What happens when the flop is 4-4-8? Well, you may still have the best hand, but the more opponents you face, the more you’re likely to loose. What you need to do is watch out for indicators of strength or traps. Too many times I have seen players call an all-in bet with their A-K thinking they had the best hand. When the pot is just $300 and someone goes all in for another $1000, it’s just not worth the risk. Learn those fold those hands early on, especially if you are facing many opponents.

Error #2 – Going All-in on a Bluff

Going all-in is probably the most overused poker move in Texas Hold’em. Many players go all-in with nothing in an attempt to steal a nice pot. I’m not saying that you should never go with this play, what I’m saying is that it’s usually the wrong play. As a general rule, you should never need to bet more than the pot to steal it. It makes little sense to bet all of your $1500 chips into a $400 pot. The only reason you attempt to bluff in the first place is because you think opponents are weak and they will fold. If you are correct, a $400 bet in this case would suffice in making that happen. The risk is that if your read is off, you end up loosing. It’s better to loose a portion of your stack and live to fight another day than to commit poker suicide by going all-in.

Error #3 – Too Much Calling

If you’re doing too much calling actions it’s either because you’re involved in too many hands trying to catch cards, or you’re just too tight. The problem with calling someone’s bet is that you can only win by having the best hand. A raise gives you two ways to win: by having the best hand or by making everyone else fold. In the second case, it is of no consequence what your hand was. You win the pot regardless.

Error #4 – Failing to Gamble When Your Time is Running Out

This is only applicable to tournament poker, whether you’re playing Hold’em, Omaha, or any other card game that uses blinds. There comes a point in a poker tournament where the blind levels get steep and it’s expensive to play poker. This is one of the acceptable conditions to go all in on a bluff. The idea is that you need to gather chips and you need to do it fast. When your chip stack is 10 times the value of the big blind, it’s time to make a move. Pick a hand and go all in. In other words, if you’re sitting on a $1000 chip stack and the blinds are $50/$100, now is the time to thinking about moving all in. Pick a hand and go for it! Obviously, the risk factor is much greater, but you just have to gamble and hope someone doubles you up. If you keep folding, the blinds will quickly eat up your remaining chips and you’ll be out of the game regardless.

Error #5 – Going Easy on Card Chasers

When you’re in a situation where the flop offers a flush or a straight potential and you see people checking all around you, make a nice bet. If someone has a draw, you have to make it too expensive for them to call your bet. This is where the concept of pot odds come into play, where you actually calculate the pt odds an opponent could have, and make a bet that is higher than what they should pay. For example, in a $500 pot where an opponent has 6 outs for a flush, then the pot odds for that person are about 24% after the flop. Bet more than 24% of the pot value. A bet of $250 or more (50% of the $500 pot) should discourage that player from chasing cards.  Remember, when you’re betting $250, they have to call $250 in a now $750 pot, making the cost to them 33.33% of the stakes with only 24% chance to win the stakes. Assuming you’re playing with somewhat experienced players, if they do the math they’ll likely fold. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to read an article on pot odds!

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