If you’re new to online casino games – or already have firm favorites like Texas Hold’em poker – you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way. But practice makes perfect, and while you can never confidently claim to have it all figured out, sticking with it will certainly improve your gameplay.
This applies to both novice and experienced poker players.
Whether you’re still finding your feet around the Texas Hold’em poker table or are enjoying the thrill of online poker, we’ve mapped out some common mistakes to watch out for. Below are nine mistakes that you may occasionally make during online or live poker tournaments.
1. Emotional gameplay
With poker being a game of skill, tact and a bit of luck, you can’t afford to let emotions get in the way. There’s a reason why this popular casino game spawned the phrase “poker face.”
Even without saying a word, your facial expression and emotions speak volumes. Emotional gameplay can lead you to make bad decisions, cloud your judgment and get in the way of rational thinking. It could also lead to bad behavior and other poor poker etiquette, which is something you want to avoid, regardless of whether you play poker online or in person.
If you find yourself getting stressed out during poker games, meditation may help you get on top of your emotions and improve your poker game.
2. Excessive bluffing
Perhaps experienced poker players have this one under control, but for beginners, excessive bluffing may be something you do without intending to. While bluffing effectively is a key part of succeeding at poker, be careful not to take it too far.
When you understand that poker requires a certain level of tact and mental fortitude, you’ll realize that you need to be strategic with your bluffing. When you do something too often, it becomes ineffective and your opponents may eventually start calling your bluff.
3. Letting fear get in the way
Whether you’re playing live poker online or casino table games, letting fear get in the way of making smart calls will always affect your gameplay. When it comes to poker, you need to be confident and emotionally and mentally strong to play at your best. To truly put up a good fight, you can’t let imposter syndrome or the fear of losing take over your thinking.
Your instincts can be useful when playing online poker tournaments, but fear may make you fold, even when you shouldn’t!
4. Playing too many hands
One of the most well-known poker tournament tips is that playing too many hands could very well be your downfall. This goes back to strategy and foresight when playing poker. If you don’t understand what a good starting selection looks like or how to make it work for you, you’ll find yourself playing every hand just to avoid being left out of the action.
It’s a bit like having your hands in too many pots – you’ll end up pulling in different directions and achieving poor results.
5. Overestimating your abilities
This is a common mistake that applies especially to novice players who are becoming more confident in their gameplay. Understanding the basics of poker and improving your strategy along the way is great, but don’t let that fool you into punching above your weight!
Don’t be pressured by anyone – including yourself – to play against opponents who are way above your league. This is the fastest way to lose all your chips. Overestimating your abilities and pitting yourself against far more experienced players will always affect your chances of succeeding at poker.
6. Failing to fold when you should
Regardless of what game you’re playing, the last thing anyone likes to do is accept defeat. For many, that’s what folding means, right? However, that’s not entirely true. Folding when you should means you’re aware of the odds against you and your realistic chances of winning.
While poker is a highly competitive game and may feel like the survival of the fittest, sometimes folding is the best thing to do! Avoid committing to a hand that’s not promising simply because you don’t want to be seen as “weak” or “the one that gave up.”
Poker isn’t like a game of sports, where bowing out may be seen as accepting defeat. On the contrary, folding at the most opportune time indicates that you are well aware of the direction the game is going in and that you’re strategic enough to avoid losing.
7. Playing for too long
Once you’ve immersed yourself in the thrill of poker, it’s not unusual to find yourself playing for much longer than you should. While this may not seem too bad an idea if you know your way around poker, it could affect your gameplay the longer you play.
With poker being a game of tact and strategy, you need to perform at your optimum mentally. Playing for hours on end without a break will likely impact your thinking and overall approach to gaming – so be careful!
8. Not adapting to other players
Poker is a game that is heavily influenced by the other players at a table, regardless of whether you play in person or online. However, many players refuse to adjust their own gameplay to factor in how others play, especially in online play, where your opponents are faceless.
For example, if you meet an aggressive player who never backs down, it’s important not to let your ego get the best of you and try to match them. You’ll need to do things like bait them into traps by betting passively when you have strong hands, folding weaker hands earlier on or maybe even finding a new table to play at.
9. Not adapting to changes in how poker is played
No, we’re not talking about the difference between Seven-Card Stud rules and Texas Hold’em games, but rather how each variant of poker is played. No matter how good you are at the game, the reality is that poker isn’t played the same way it was 10 or 20 years ago.
Players who used to dominate the live scene because they were able to manipulate other players or read them exceptionally well now face players who play GTO (game theory optimal) poker.
On the other hand, online players who never had to look another player in the eye will find themselves occasionally being beaten by a player who simply bluffed their way to a win. Players from both camps have had to evolve to keep on winning, and so will you.
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If you’re ready to put these tips and tricks into practice, why not explore our online poker site? Or, if you just want to have a good time, you can also visit our online casino. With a wide variety of poker and other games to play, you’re truly spoilt for choice. Register at BetMGM to enjoy online poker for real money and to have a blast with our other exciting gambling experiences.