These are the top ten most EXPENSIVE mistakes made in poker... mistakes that YOU are probably making RIGHT NOW. Let's go through them one-by-one... and learn how to FIX them immediately.
Playing Too Many Hands
Most pokerplayers are too loose with their starting hand selection. You've got to stick with PREMIUM hands... especially when you're at a 8-man or 10-man table. Quit limping in with bad cards in hopes of hitting something on the flop. All those blinds add up... and it's not worth it. At an 8-player table, focus on playing hands like pocket pairs, suited connectors, A-X suited, or two face cards. Leave hands like K-3, J-8, Q-2, and 10-7 alone. Just fold them pre-flop. The REASON most people play too many hands is because they want ACTION. They don't want to just sit and there and wait forever until they get good cards.
But if you want to win, you must be patient. In fact... if you're playing good poker, you should often be bored. That's right: BORED.
Playing Your Position Wrong
Positioning is EVERYTHING in Texas Holdem poker.
Good positioning means you get to see what your opponents do FIRST before you have to act. Based on their behavior and betting, you can make an informed decision about what YOU want to do.
Good positioning is LATE positioning. That means you're one of the last to act after the flop. The most IDEAL position is the dealer (or button).
The mistake most players make is playing the CARDS without considering their positioning. For instance, the way to play pocket Aces in the big blind is totally different than the way to play it in the dealer position.
And that goes for all starting hands... and all positions. The basic strategy you need to know is that you want to play MORE starting hands from a later position. And you want to play these hands more aggressively.
Most of your bluffs should come with good positioning too... because that's when you'll have the best read on the players at the table.
In early positioning you want to play FEWER hands. Especially when you're immediately to the left of the big blind (also known as "under the gun").
Thinking You're A "Natural"
It's amazing how often I hear someone say, "I'm a natural poker player..."
What IS a "natural" poker player anyway?
The truth is, poker is an extremely complex and multi-faceted game. It involves math, psychology, body language skills, self control, performing under pressure, and a ton of other things.
The problem with thinking you're a "natural"-- just because you're good at reading people's faces or something-- is that it LIMITS your ability to improve.
No matter how good you are at poker, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. And in each respective area of the game, there's ALWAYS more to learn.
Not only that, but poker has been around for a LONG time...way before it started appearing on every TV station.
A lot of poker strategy has been DEVELOPED. There are step-by-step techniques, tricks, and "plays" that you can use to win more money at the tables.
These strategies won't just "come to you" like a little light bulb over your head.
Not a chance.
Instead, you've got to STUDY the game, talk to other players, and be constantly LEARNING more in order to push yourself to the next level.
Getting Too Emotional
Emotional control is a big part of Holdem. You've got to be able to "let go" and become unattached from the outcome of the game.
The REASON emotions run strong in poker is because your mixing MONEY, EGO, and CHANCE... all together.
It's DEFINITELY a recipe for some strong emotions. The key is to EXPECT IN ADVANCE that things will get stressful and intense. EXPECT that you're going to get "rivered" and "sucked out".
The reason it's important is because if you let go of your logic and start playing based on EMOTION, you'll never, EVER win.
Avoid TILT at all costs!! It causes more poker players to go broke than any other phenomenon.
Stay in control of yourself and be "unattached" to the game. Don't let anything affect you... just remain focused on winning.
Playing The Wrong Stakes
The stakes you play is what determines the SKILL you play against.
And if you're outmatched, nothing else matters... because ultimately you're going to lose.
But if you're way better than everyone at your current level, then maybe it's time to "step it up a notch".
Playing the RIGHT stakes is a delicate balance. I've found the most effective way to determine the RIGHT stakes is to calculate your profit per hour over time.
The difference in your "profit per hour" at a $5 Sit and Go versus a $10 Sit and Go can be DRAMATIC.
But you may get WHOMPED at the $20 Sit and Go... and lose your bankroll in a snap.
Here's an important tip...
When you try to move UP in stakes, don't be afraid to move BACK DOWN if it isn't working.
The action plan I recommend is to build your bankroll where you KNOW you can win... then move up. If you lose your bankroll, move back down and build it up again. Then move up in stakes and try it again.
Repeat this process over and over and you'll be continually improving... moving up to bigger games and more money.
This process also LOWERS YOUR RISK. Follow those steps and you won't be gambling with next month's rent.
Focusing Too Much On The Cards
Always remember this principle:
PLAY THE PLAYER, NOT THE CARDS.
Ultimately, the cards determine who's the winner for a hand... but that's only when a hand plays out until the VERY END and all cards are flipped over.
GOOD poker players hardly ever make it to that level in a hand. Because they either force their opponents to fold or fold because they pick up a read on their opponents.
The only times you should be flipping your cards up at the end is when you KNOW you have the best hand and you've just milked some sucker for a huge pot.
The PLAYER you're up against is what you need to focus on. Not your cards.
Figure out his betting patterns, his habits, his tells, his movements... EVERYTHING. And then play him like a fiddle for all his chips.
Being Too Predictable
Just as you should be studying your opponents, your opponents should be studying YOU.
The biggest mistake you can make is become PREDICTABLE. When you're predictable, you can't win at poker.
Because every time you get good cards, everyone will fold. And every time you get bad cards, everyone will bet.
The key is to BE AWARE OF YOUR BETTING PATTERNS.
Bet strong hands a certain way for awhile... then mix it up a bit. Do crazy things... bet odd amounts... make the same pre-flop raise for both 8-7 suited and pocket 10's. Whatever.
MIX IT UP and kill any consistencies that appear in your game.
Not Knowing When To Quit
Know when to get up from a table... it will save you a LOT of money over the long term.
This is crucial when you've either just WON a ton of money or just LOST a ton of money.
Because in either case, the tendency from that point forward is going to be to LOSE. You'll either lose your profits or dig yourself in a hole deeper... but either way, it's not good.
Losing streaks suck... because they take hold of some weird part of your brain that virtually always PREVENTS you from making a comeback.
No matter how determined you are... no matter how SURE you are that your "luck" will change... it's not going to happen. You'll lose more. So just STOP.
With winning streaks, it's the same way. Having a lot of "new money" makes it less REAL... and there's a tendency to lose it quickly on stupid moves.
So if you're WAY UP or WAY DOWN in a game, just stop playing for the day. Go back at it tomorrow, it's no big deal.
Not Knowing The Odds
Knowing the ODDS and PROBABILITY in poker is a standard ingredient for success.
You can win some games just by being able to read your opponents and "guess" at what types of betting decisions to make...
But ultimately, knowing the odds is what it takes to be a REAL Texas Holdem poker player.
The good news is, you don't have to be a "math genius" to know the odds of a hand. There are a lot of shortcuts and tricks you can use to calculate pot odds, hand percentages, outs, and other important numbers.
Not Getting Help
Like I said before, you weren't BORN knowing how to play poker. You had to LEARN it.
In every aspect of the game, you've got to continually ask yourself the question, "Is this EXACTLY what I should be doing in this situation?"
There are two main ways to improve your Texas Holdem poker skills:
1. Learn from experience.
2. Learn from someone who has mastered the game.
The problem with experience is that it takes YEARS and YEARS even DECADES of playing Texas Holdem again and again...
It's a great way to learn... but just plain inefficient.
On the other hand, learning from proven strategies and "field-tested" techniques is the absolute FASTEST way to pick up the game.
You can SKYROCKET your skills... OVERNIGHT... if you study the techniques and concepts developed by other players.
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