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Typical Beginner`s Mistakes in Poker

The first part of our lessons for poker novices is coming to an end. We’ve already covered a lot of material, but there’s still much to learn. The fact is that you never stop learning about poker.

Before moving on to the next level let’s talk about some typical mistakes that poker novices tend to make. We do hope that learning the game with Poker Academy will help you avoid them.

15 Typical Beginner Mistakes

1. Playing too many hands. One of the main mistakes is the eagerness to play every hand. Novice players can be very impatient or start feeling they are out of the game; they are afraid of looking weak in front of their friends, or simply don’t understand what to do. Any cards look attractive to them, and they don’t really know what starting hands are worth playing.
Beginners often want to see the flop, but when they do, they realize that their combination is far from being good. Consider it before playing too many hands and losing lots of chips.

2. Being scared of the game. Some beginners play carelessly and hastily; many, on the contrary, are too cautious. They're not experienced enough and are afraid to make a mistake or lose. They will fold until they get an unbeatable hand. They will avoid fighting for big pots. Such fear can even grow into paranoia. A player will assume that anyone betting aggressively has the best hand, and will fold even when holding good cards. The only way to prevent it is to gain experience and learn to trust your own instincts.

3. Giving up is for wimps. Due to the competitive nature of the game, beginners think that in poker like in other sports giving up is bad. However, in many situations, it’s more correct to fold. A novice player can easily give in to the contest spirit. Imagine you have a pocket pair or a pair that came on the flop. You stay in a hand just not to seem weak. Unfortunately, if you will be constantly calling the bets, you'll never know what your position is in the hand until it's too late.

4. Incorrect Bet Size. To play successfully, you always need to understand how to size your bets correctly. In no-limit games, beginners tend to bet either too little or too much. For example, pre-flop some players raise 5x-6x the size of the blinds. Beginners can also bet minimal amounts when holding good cards (two pairs or a set). Ideally, you should bet the amount that will maximize your potential winnings and minimize your losses.

5. Chasing the best hand. Is similar to No.3. Novice players often stay in a hand hoping that their hand will improve. It could possibly be flush or straight, or even royal flush. Here, the important thing is to understand whether a hand is worth chasing or not.

6. Overrating marginal cards. A very common mistake: poker beginners enter the game with cards that look pretty good, but have low value in reality. For example, in Hold'em these are suited or broadway cards with a bad kicker. This might also include cards like QT, KJ, A9. With these pocket cards, it's very unlikely that the flop will provide you a winning hand. These hands are not totally unplayable, but knowing how to play them comes with experience. Even if you collect a pair, you can be beaten easily.

7. Giving in to emotions. Whether having a hard day or a loss in a few hands, emotions will certainly affect your decisions and damage your game. For beginners it's difficult to make a switch; in addition, this will also prevent them from “reading the table” – collecting information and paying attention to what could help them win. So if you feel like having made an emotional decision, just pause and consider it again.

Mistakes caused by emotional state is a very common problem for newbies. Yet, you can make money on it. Watch the video by the Academy of Poker MTT coach Leo DonLeon to find out how to take advantage of other player's mistakes.

8. Playing out of position. Besides the cards, there are many additional factors that may influence poker player decisions. Your position, that is, the place at the table is one of them. For example, if you are the last to act, you can see how the players before you will choose to act. The mistake novice players tend to make is betting regardless of their position and hand. Read the previous lessons of the course to learn more about playing when having position and out of it.

9. Too much bluff. Some beginners think poker is all about bluffing. But you should bluff reasonably not to become predictable. If you are too much into bluffing, your opponents will stop believing you and will easily detect your bluff.

10. Exceeding the bankroll. It's very important to correctly manage your money. Beginners underestimate the importance of bankroll management. Make sure you don't bring all your money to the table. Even a great player can be beaten and lose.

11. Lack of planning. Master poker math basics. Learn to evaluate the pot odds. Remember that luck is only a small part of poker. Luck is something you can count on within a day or a week, but in the long run, only perfect game skills will bring positive results. Many players tend to explain their winnings by their good skills and losses - by bad luck. Thus, the player begins to overestimate his skills' level.

12. Playing primitively. Often a novice having mastered some basic game techniques starts using them thoughtlessly. It makes his game too predictable for his rivals. To avoid this, it's recommended to use various techniques and strategies. In addition, a good player will always adapt to his rivals’ game style in order to use their weaknesses with maximum benefit.

13. Failing to analyze your game. You'll never become a good player if you don't analyze your game in order to identify mistakes made and eliminate them.

14. Playing with an improper mindset. Playing poker requires being focused on the game. If for any reason you feel constantly distracted and not able to concentrate, then stay away from the poker table for a while. Take a break for a day or even two. Get back at the table when you are in shape again.

15. Wrong table choice. If you feel that the players at the table are too strong for you, just change the table. Don’t forget that you play to win the pot. Find a table with weaker players. It's the weak players who will bring you profit.

What’s next?

If you've joined our course from the very beginning, then you've already absorbed a wealth of useful information about poker. We've covered the basics of the game and mentioned some key points that will help you become a successful player. We hope that learning about strategy and tactics that the two next levels are devoted to will make you a true pro.


Before you move on, we recommend contacting one of our managers and signing up for the Academy Win Strategy course. What is it for? First, you'll join a group guided by an experienced coach who will teach you how to earn playing micro limits. Secondly, you'll start practicing, that is you'll play a game, and then a coach will analyze hands played and mistakes made.


Thus, your game will change completely, and within a month you'll feel how great your progress is. In addition to group training, we recommend moving on to the advanced level in the “School” section. There, you'll start with understanding of what Expected Value is.

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