There are some basic mistakes that beginners (and sometimes even experienced players!) make. Study these tips and don't make these mistakes; your game and win rate will improve:
- Playing too many hands
- If you find yourself playing more than 25% of the hands you're dealt, you should take a close look at your preflop hand selection.
- Chasing draws without proper odds
- You need to know the basic odds against making common hands. You also need to pay attention to the number of bets in the pot so you can easily tell if you're getting the right pot odds to draw.
- Overplaying overcards
- Ace-King looks great until the board totally misses you and there are a lot of players in the hand. Don't get trapped calling multiple bets or playing on when you are obviously beaten by many players.
- Folding too easily
- Conversely, don't be bullied when someone comes alive and bets at you. If you're heads-up at showdown, don't be afraid to call a single bet. Don't be the type of person who is always congratulating himself on making great laydowns.
- Playing too passively
- Don't be afraid to raise if you believe your hand is good. If you have a hand that looks good, bet for value. If you think you should raise, don't call: raise!
- Trying to checkraise when you make your hand (especially on the turn)
- If you're in early to middle position and you make your draw (for example, your straight or flush comes), bet! Raise if you can! Attempting to checkraise later players fails more often than it succeeds, and merely costs you the bets the other players would have called with.
- Overcalling with weak hands
- When the board shows many possible strong hands (e.g. flushes, straights, or full houses), and you hold middle pair or worse, you shouldn't overcall; it just doesn't make sense. Even if the original bettor is bluffing, the caller cannot be (a bluffer in that position would have to raise).
- Cold calling with weak hands preflop
- Essentially part of preflop hand selection, but be especially careful when playing weaker hands. Hands that might be worth seeing a cheap flop for one bet preflop (e.g. small pairs, low suited connectors, gapped connectors) are rarely if ever worth cold calling with.
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