Poker is just as much a mental game as it is a strategic game, professional poker players have to master the art of poker strategy in order to play at the highest levels. It is very easy to make costly mistakes while learning to master the game, simply knowing how to play poker is not enough if you want to compete with the best of the best. Poker can be a deceptive game so learning how to read your opponent’s body language is critical to getting ahead in the game, a professional player plays the hand just as much as he/she plays his/her opponent. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common mistakes that players make and how to avoid them.
Missing the value bet
This one is a very easy mistake that is seen all too often on poker tables around the world. We often miss the opportunity to make a good profit because of this error. Checking the river and folding only to find out that your opponent did indeed have a stronger hand is not always a good thing. It might be wise to try and miss as little as possible value bets to avoid significant profit losses in the long run.
Underestimating rookie players
It is very dangerous to try and outsmart new players by all means. Their lack of experience tends to make them over eager and unpredictable. Novice players often call the bluff of other players without thinking twice which makes them very unpredictable. Avoid performing an elaborate bluff on a new player until you have sized them up correctly. This simple rule may save your skin on the felt and keep your money in your pocket.
Allowing your opponents to psych you out
As mentioned before, poker is a mind game and professional poker players develop the skill of psyching their opponents out very well. The aim of this tactic is to make the other player as nervous as possible, this can, for example, be achieved by calling a bluff. Don’t allow other players to get in your head. When we are nervous it shows in our behaviour, you risk letting your secrets and game strategies out by allowing an opponent to psych you out. Even when playing poker online it can be dangerous to allow another player into your head.
Don’t pay off aces
Holding on to aces at any cost is not a winning strategy, it pays to know when it is time to let go of that ace that you have been holding on to for so long. We all love the feeling of having an ace up our sleeves but there are times when it is better to fold than to rely on the ace to win the pot. Many players have lost big because they refused to let go of an ace at the right time, as the saying goes there is a time to come and a time to go. Knowing when it is time to let go is the true ace up your sleeve.
Showing your cards too often
When it comes to showing your cards it is important to know your opponents. Showing your cards creates the perfect opportunity for the opponents at the table to learn your game strategy. This means that they will be able to identify when you are bluffing by looking at your physical tells. Be careful not to reveal too much information about your poker face by showing your cards to the wrong players.
Knowing when to bluff and when to stop bluffing
The bluff is one of the poker players most powerful tools, knowing how to use this tool effectively is extremely important. Bluffing too often can lead to other players being able to identify your bluff with great ease. There is a fine balance between bluffing too little and bluffing too much, knowing when to stop the bluff and exit the game is just as important as knowing when to push through with a good bluff. The perfect bluff is described very well in the song “The Gambler, You got to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em”
By using these poker tips and avoiding the common mistakes discussed above you can improve your poker game and get ahead of the pack. Poker is a great game and offers a lot of enjoyment, knowing what to avoid makes playing the game that much more interesting.