Wednesday, February 11, 2009

10 Mistakes To Avoid at Poker

The 10 Common Mistakes

Here are ten common mistakes that players make in a poker tournament. Don't make these errors and your probability of winning will improve.

Mistake #1. Playing a poker tournament not to lose or playing a poker tournament to survive.
Play a poker tournament to win by accumulating chips. Take chances. Risk is good.

Comment: Frankly this is my number one problem in tournaments. I get in the habit of thinking that I can just be patient and wait for the right situation. That is a mistake, since when I go card dead when the blinds are big, I'm stuck in a deep hole that is usually impossible to get out of.

Mistake #2. Not knowing the right time to move all-in as the first pre-flop raiser.
Move all-in when your chips are nine times or less the big blind.

Comment: How to remember this rule: Don't get behind the 8 ball.

Mistake #3. Not knowing when to move all-in after a pre-flop raiser.
Move all-in when your chips are eight times or less the initial raisers chip total and you have a medium pocket pairs, or A-J suited or better.

Comment: I get grief from players who disagree with this rule. Hey, I didn't make this one up, many pros use this rule.

Mistake #4. Not respecting raises from players in the first three positions after the big blind.

Upfront raises tend to mean premium hands. Be careful if you plan to be in the hand.

Comment: It's true that some players don't think about position, but adjust your play accordingly.

Mistake #5. Giving too much respect to players who raise on the cutoff (one right of the button) or on the button.
Raises from these positions are often based on position and not the strength of their hands.

Comment: The exception is if this is the first time the player has raised pre-flop since the Cubs won a World Series.

Mistake #6. Not understanding your table image or the table image of your opponents.
Get a read on how your opponents play their hands. Get a read on how they think you play your hands. Playing the opposite of your table image is a winning approach.

Comment: If you haven't entered a pot in a long time, and you are in position, look to steal. That is, if everyone folds to you on the cut-off, just raise. Your cards don't matter as you have such a tight table image.

Mistake #7. Catching the FPS poker disease. FPS=Fancy Play Syndrome.
Don't get fancy and try to show how smart you are by playing the opposite. Play straight forward poker.

Comment: This is one of the mistakes I made when I first started playing poker. I guess I wanted to show how clever/smart I was at the game. But sometimes being clever allowed my opponent to hit his two outer on the river and beat me.

Mistake #8. Not knowing how to semi-bluff.
A semi-bluff is a bet where you think your opponent will fold to your bet but if he does call you have outs to win. If you know he won't fold, it is not a semi-bluff. It is simply a bad play.

Comment: In reality it is often the right play to bet your draws. However, make that play only if you expect your opponent to fold to your bet or your bet will let you see the next card for less than if you checked your hand.

Mistake #9. Pre-flop, never re-raising a player who raises unless you have pocket King or pocket Aces.
If you are not willing to re-raise a pre-flop raiser without having the nuts (pocket Aces), you will never win.

Comment: If you re-raise your opponent, he will put you on those hands anyway. Also, check out the squeeze play--it is a very effective play to build up your chips in one pot.

Mistake #10. Pre-flop when everyone folds to you, raising on the button with a good hand, and then calling an all-in move by one of the players in the blinds.
If you are going to call the all-in move by a player in the blind, you should move all-in on the button. It puts the pressure on your opponents.

Comment: Often the player on the button agonizes over what to do before he makes the call of an all-in move. Hey, just push all-in first and let your opponent agonize over his decision.


Jim Brochowski said...

Having played seriously for a year or two, but only casually and occasionally now - this is a great tip sheet or refresher of "things to remember," when I do have the chance to play.


Dan Anders said...

Some really good points here that more advanced players definitely should take a look at - thanks for posting! I will definitely incorporate this in my game.

I often find that beginner players especially fail to recognize the poker nuts in a given situation. Happened to me all time - mostly I totally missed that a straight was the nuts. This happens even more when playing online because you are forced to act so quickly.

What's Your Poker IQ?