101 Poker Mistakes
- Not having read the Theory of Poker. You'll never be too good at poker to need to read this book. You will learn something new from ToP, regardless of how long you've been playing for.
- Limping too much. It's uncommon for limping to be a good play, and if you're new to the game it's definitely a bad idea. Limping doesn't get you cheap flops and big wins; it gives up initiative and puts you in awkward situations. If you limp you're increasing your chances of losing money with a mediocre hand or failing to get good value from a strong one.
- Bluffing on the river randomly. Don't make careless bluffs on the river as a last-ditch attempt to win the pot. If you haven't thought it through, you're probably going to get picked off by a bluffcatcher.
- Cbetting the flop without a reason. Is that a good or a bad flop to cbet? Sure, you're better off cbetting closer to 100% of the time than 0% of the time, but if you're only cbetting because you think you're supposed to then you've got a leak in your game. Refine your cbetting skills and you'll win more money (see C-Betting Like A Champion).
- Cbetting without a plan. Your opponent isn't always going to fold to your cbet, and that's fine – as long as you have a plan. What are you going to do on the turn? What cards are going to be good for double barreling?
- Floating without a plan. What turn cards are good for raising? What turn card would be awful? What are you going to do if your opponent double barrels? Is double-floating a possibility? You can't just float and see what happens – once again you need a plan.
- Not value betting big enough. If you've got the best hand, get your money's worth. One of the easiest ways to boost your winrate is to simply win more money from your good hands. If your opponent has an inelastic range, don't bet half the pot if your can bet full pot (or more).
- Using the odds for 2 cards to come on the flop. If you've got a drawing hand on the flop, you rarely want to work with the odds of hitting by the river when deciding whether or not to call (e.g. 35% for a flush). Always work with the probability of hitting on the next card only (e.g. 19% for a flush) unless your opponent is moving all in. See the rule of 2 and 4 for more information.
- Betting for information. You never bet just to try and get information. You're either betting for value or as a bluff. Information is just a result of what happens when you bet for value or as a bluff.
- Betting to protect. If you've bet enough to give drawing hands bad odds to call, you want them to call. You don't make any money when your opponents make correct decisions (i.e. folding in this example), so betting to "protect" doesn't make sense. Betting in these situations isn't a bad thing – just understand the reasoning behind your bet.
- Berating fish for making bad plays. It's never any fun losing money to terrible players that get lucky, but that's just poker – it happens. Don't try and make them feel bad; be thankful that bad players like this are out there. Keep them happy and they'll play for the longer, which is more +EV than putting them down to try and make yourself feel better.
- Bluffing calling stations. You make money against these players by betting big when you have the best of it. Trying to bluff a calling station is pushing on a string.
- Not signing up to a training site sooner. If you're serious about poker, you're going to sign up to a training site eventually (and you'll kick yourself for putting it off for so long). Don't waste any more time – start learning how to win more money today.
- Avoiding learning poker math. It is possible to play winning poker without using mathematics, but you're severely limiting your potential by doing so. The basics of poker mathematics isn't that hard, and if you're smart enough to outwit other human beings then you're smart enough to get to grips with a few numbers and probabilities. You don't have any excuses.
- Forgetting to add your call amount when working out percentage odds. Your opponent bets $50 in to a $100 pot. The percentage isn't 50/150 = 33%, it's 50/200 = 20%. When working out ratio odds you don't have to add your own call in to the total pot size (e.g. 150:50 = 3:1), but with percentage odds you do.
- Playing poker drunk. After a few beers I like to think I'm a bit of a Phil Ivey/Tom Dwan hybrid as well. I have won a few buy-ins whilst completely off-my-chops drunk, but there have also been times when I've logged in to my account the next day and noticed that my balance is significantly lower than I remember. Moral of the story: playing poker drunk is -EV.
- 3betting with hands you should call with. There's more value to calling with KJs on the BTN against a TAG raising in the CO than there is to 3betting. You don't always have to 3bet with broadway cards against aggressive players in LP.
- Making maniacs your enemy. Aggrodonks are not out to get you personally – they just like to play ridiculously aggressively. Don't make it your aim to try and "outplay" them and go out of your way to try and teach them a lesson.
- Trying to "fix" your red line at the micro stakes. If the majority of your opponents are calling stations, you don't make money by trying to get them to fold when you have the worst hand. If you tried to "fix" a negative red line (non-showdown winnings) you'd probably be winning less money overall thanks to a greatly decreased blue line (showdown winnings). A negative red line at the micro stakes is totally standard. The green line is the only one you should care about.
- Not playing enough hands against bad aggressive players. You want to play lots of hands against bad players, even the aggressive ones. The more hands you play against fish the more opportunities they have to make mistakes against you. If you play super-tight against them you are missing out on profitable spots.
- Betting when no worse hands can call. There will be times where if you bet, the only hands that will call are the ones that have you beat. Don't bet in these times.
- Overreacting to 3bets. Just because a player looks as though they're 3betting you light, you don't have to throw the kitchen sink at them and instantly 4bet bluff the next time it happens. They are not running you over, they are just playing a little more optimally than players that only 3bet with awesome hands. Don't get too worked up about it.
- Cbetting too big as a bluff. If your opponent is equally as likely to fold to a 1/2 pot bet as they are to a 3/4 pot bet, bet 1/2 the pot. You're risking more money by cbetting bigger than you need to. Bet the smallest amount that will still achieve the desired result.
- Quitting after you've won or lost X amount of money. Don't let arbitrary numbers stop you from playing in profitable situations. If you're still playing your A-game and you can afford to keep playing there's no need to restrict your playing time.
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