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Biggest Online Poker Mistakes New Players Make

Online poker isn't a game that a new player is going to master over night. Many online poker mistakes made by new players are completely oblivious to the player. Most new players are just impressed that they are playing poker, aside from whether they are winning anything.

When it comes to mistakes, new players make most of them, not because they are reckless, but more because they just don't know any better. We are all the same in as much as when we try something new, we're bound to make some mistakes along the way. As our experience grows, so does out competence and we become better at dealing with the types of situations that once tripped us up. It's this reason that people tend to earn more as they progress through life and build their experience and reputation.


There are a number of key beginner mistakes that new players make. Here i'm going to list the important ones that will affect pretty much every newbie.


Here are 7 of the most common errors new players make:

New Players Play too many hands

Being able to evaluate the strength of a hand in relation to many of the other key factors, such as position, stack size and opposition, isn't something that new players will automatically have. It will take some time to be able to use this information to make the correct determination.

Most new players will have seen poker in action. Likely live on TV, where the boring bits (the folds) are edited out before being aired. The whole game seems fast and exciting, and at times it is. What we don't see is that (and rightly so), is that there is a fair amount of folding to get to the playable hands. Understanding that the same two hole cards have a different value if a player is under the gun compared to being last to act, isn't an obvious one. This doesn't make it any less true.

It doesn't often take long for new players to learn that playing stronger hands is better than playing weaker ones. Removing temptation to play hands like any two face cards or suited connectors out of position often is learnt through time, and sadly a few losses.
The fact of the matter is still - this is one of the biggest mistakes made by new players.

New Players Don't have enough patience

New players nearly always lack the patience to avoid playing too many hands. The boredom of folding often tempts players into playing hands that should be insta-folded because they want to be in the game and by folding they're not. This isn't helped by the fact that new players don't have the skills yet to maximise the take down when a hand connects.

Patience isn't just knowing what hole cards to play. It's also recognizing when i hand is beat, irrespective of how long they had to play to get the hand. Often players get dealt hands like AA or KK and when it becomes clear they are beat, they focus more on how long they waited to get a big hand and continue to invest in a losing proposition. Again, this is a skill that is developed over time.

Patience will help us wait for the right hands to play and also not pull the trigger too early in a panic, all of which are attributes that a player needs to posses if they are to make a winning contribution.

New Players will Play out of Position

Position is a fundamental concept for any new poker player to learn. The dealer button moves clockwise round the table indicating who pays the blinds and the order of play (who are first and last to act). If we are first to act, say with 9 other players to act after us, we are at a disadvantage. A player later to act will get to see what i do and what the player after me does, and so on. This is all information which they can use to make a more informed decision than we would have - so it's a stronger position to be in. As such, last to act is the strongest position to play as we get to see what the whole table does before we act.

As i covered earlier, the same hand has a different value depending on the seat position it is dealt to. If the table folds round to us in late position and we look down at an A9 - this is a pretty good spot to raise. We will also be fairly confident we have the best hand. If we were first to act and we raised and there was a subsequent re-raise and all in - we know our A9 is dead in the water.

Position matters and it's important to understand the relationship between starting hands and position.

New Players will Over-play Hands

Another common mistake made by new players is overplaying their hands and they do this in two ways.

Firstly, they don't take into account position and stack sizes in working out how strong they are. For instance a new player dealt AJ in early position will not see that a raise and subsequent re-raise doesn't leave them in great shape. Why? As AK and AQ are so playable hands and these hands have them dominated and needing to catch cards. The key thinking is that whilst the raise might not be stronger, the re-raise likely is. Knowing a little about the opponents will help on the decision here however this isn't factored in with new players.

Lets say we enter the pot with our AJ and the flop comes A-7-2. A new player will struggle to get away from this hand, irrespective of the action. An experienced player will see this very differently. They will think that best case is that they have the best hand and might get a bet or two out of their opponents. They will also know that they could be beaten by AK, AQ, A2, A7, 72, 22, 77, AA. A new player will see their hand is a pair of aces, which is the highest pair and will likely over-commit to the pot at the point that any experienced player will recognise that their opponents wouldn't be making the play with a single pair.

The logic that a new player won't have is that anyone willing to go to town on this board has them beat.

Too adventurous - the Wrong Stakes

The higher the stakes, the faster we can make money. We can also lose money at a far quicker rate this way. New players will often see the dollar signs and won't consider the risk to their bankrolls. New players won't have honed their skills as yet so playing at stakes higher than they can either afford or can beat, isn't a great strategy.

Players need to play at stakes that don't put a stranglehold on their games. I've seen new players join big cash games to the point they are literally scared to enter a pot as the blinds are so big. They sit there and bleed chips waiting for a monster hand that will give them a double up. Unknown to them, the rest of the table has them tagged as a passive player and they get no action when they finally make a play.

The skills required to beat different stakes changes as we move up the ladder. If you are worried about losing your money, how can you expect to bluff at a pot when you don't have the best hand but think you're opponent is weak?

The other risk on playing the wrong stakes is that new players can often feel stuck in the game when they are at a loss. Staying in the game to recover losses can often only lead to bigger losses. As a new player, take time to develop and learn the game. Only when you are crushing the lower stakes should you consider a jump in stakes.

New Players more Prone to Going on Tilt

Sadly even experienced players can feel the effects of going on tilt. This refers to where a player loses a hand and lets it affect the way he plays. For example a player might wait for an hour to get a big hand and on getting dealt AA and being put all in, gets beaten by a rag 5-6 that flops a straight. Emotions in poker can get the better of us and where a player feels an injustice has been done will often start making bad decisions which ultimately leads to more losses.

As a new player, you'll find this one hard to control. With experience comes the realization that this is part of the game and we learn to move on and accept that cards will fall all number of ways - some for us and some not.

Not respecting the virtual environment

It can be hard to treat the virtual set up in the same way as we would a live one. The reality of losing $10 in virtual money isn't always associated with the fact that the $10 is very real and no longer in their bank account. It is also far easier to be reckless behind the safety of a computer screen. Making a really stupid play in a live environment has a more real impact as a player will need to sit there and be subjected to the stares of a live audience - which is considerably more intimidating. At the same time, the relationship between the game and money is exactly the same.


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