Mistakes in Texas Hold Em

written by: John

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It's inevitable that we make mistakes as humans, let alone as poker players. But it's important that we do our best to make as few mistakes as possible. In poker, this is especially true since making a mistake can actually cost you money.

The great though (if mistakes can be considered great), is that many of the most expensive mistakes in poker games such as Texas Hold'em are quite common. These mistakes are made so often in fact that we made a list of the most common mistakes in Texas Hold'em. Make sure to avoid making these mistakes and you'll be well on your way to becoming a solid player.  

Top 10 Mistakes in Hold'em

1. Bluffing too much or bluffing in the wrong spots.  Many players simply bluff too much. From experience, I used to do it because I would put myself into a situation where I was sure I didn't have the best hand and didn't know how else to win the pot other than pull off a large bluff. In most of these cases I would bluff, get called and lose the pot.  

It's important to realize that bluffing is a skill much like any other in Texas Hold'em. There is a time and a place for it and it's important that players realize that it is ok to fold when they feel they're beat and not try to bluff because they feel it's the only option.  

2. Always thinking the other player is bluffing. I've been in situations where I've thought, "no way he has it this time, he's got to be bluffing," and proceed to call a villain down with 2nd or 3rd pair. Little did I know, the villain actually had a hand and ended up value-towning me for 3 streets.

It's important to realize that when a player goes bet, bet, bet that they probably have a hand. You really should consider the strength of your hand and what hands you can beat. Calling someone down with a marginal hand because you think they're bluffing is a sure fire way to deplete your bankroll.  

3. Not understanding bankroll management. This really is cliché, but not having good bankroll skills and playing outside of their bankroll is a mistake that many players make.

The solution here is really simple; make sure you have anywhere from 20 to 25 buy ins for cash games and 50 to 100 buy ins for tournaments and sit n go's. This should be enough money to ride out the variances (huge up/down swings) that you'll face.

In addition, it's not only important to play at stakes you can afford, but to understand that if you are losing quite a bit that you need to move down in stakes to avoid going broke.

4. Playing too many hands. This is another cliché mistake. Whether it's due to boredom or just not wanting to potentially miss a monster hand, there are players who virtually play 80-90% of their hands. The problem with this mistake is that since they play so many hands, they are bound to win every once in a while making it hard to see that it's a losing proposition.

5. Overvaluing hands. It's common for players to fall in love with the potential of a suited connector or raggedy ace. The problem is that unless they hit the flop hard, they really aren't worth all that much. Another problem is when players actually make a pair with these hands. Now they feel committed since they made a hand and spend too much finding out whether their hand is good or not.  

6. Not quitting when a player feels like they're tilting. Tilt is the leading cause of bankroll decay in America. It's also the leading cause of stress and broken computer screens. It simply is a poker player's worst nightmare.

When you feel like you cannot play your A-game due to being overly emotional, it's time to take a break. Poker has been around for so long that it's definitely not going anywhere. So take a break for a couple hours or days if you need to and don't come back until you're level headed. Your bankroll will thank you for it.  

7. Buying in short, not topping off or short stacking.  I see it all the time. Players buy in for the minimum, go broke and then reload to the minimum again. The problem with this is that when they finally do catch a hand and get their money in, they're only going to make a small portion of what they could've if they were fully stacked. Most times when these guys do double up they still only have 40 or 50% of what the maximum buy in is.

There are guys who professionally short stack. But most guys who do it at the lower limits have no idea what they're doing and get their money in with mediocre hands only to bust yet again.

Just realize that aside from being able to get maximum value out of a hand when you have a full stack, you can also use a full stack to intimidate other players and create a strong image of yourself. When you dip below 90% or so of the table maximum, be sure to reload again. You'll be happy you did when you finally get a hand and get your money in.

8. Not being aware of position. Position is single handedly the most important aspect of poker. Not being aware of it is essentially giving your money away. The reason being is that when you are out of position, you will have to act before everyone else does with little information. This makes any hand, regardless of strength, difficult to play profitably. The most common positional mistake that players make is calling way too often out of the blinds.

9. Chasing draws with incorrect odds. Players will often call draws with incorrect odds which is a long-term mistake. Often times I will also see players call with incorrect odds on the flop and turn only to fold the river and losing a big portion of their stack. So in short, you are actually bleeding money over both the short and the long-term. Additionally, players who play a lot of suited connectors will make things worse by calling with the incorrect odds and then actually hitting their hand only to lose to a better straight or flush.  

10. Becoming attached to your money. Players who are emotionally attached to their money generally make their decisions with it in mind. Most times this results in playing scared or going on tilt when money is lost. Always play with money you can afford to lose and just know that as long as you make long-term mathematical decisions, the plays you make will make you money in the long run.