Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Texas Hold’em Poker

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BetMGM Sep 16, 2021, 9:50 AM

It’s said that Texas Hold’em poker takes approximately five minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Texas Hold’em is regarded as the most popular poker game variant in America, and you’ll see it being adored and played by casual players and pros alike. Trying to perfect this poker variation, however, will require discipline. 

10 mistakes that newbies make when playing Texas Hold’em

When it comes to playing this type of online poker in particular, there’s always an opportunity to hone your strategy, and remember, there’s no such thing as the perfect poker player! Instead of aiming for perfection, a more realistic approach to take is to keep practicing new and different strategies for any games you play.

Let’s look at some of the rookie mistakes you should avoid when playing Texas Hold’em, so you know exactly what not to do when you’re first learning to play, which can help save you from making some costly errors!

1. Playing too many hands preflop

We understand that the game can start to feel a bit boring when the right cards aren’t coming your way. This is when players can fall victim to starting to play too many hands before the flop, also considered to be one of the “safest” ways to give their chips away.

A good player will stay disciplined and stick to the proper starting Texas Hold’em poker hand, despite being dealt a poor hand for a long period of time. By playing too many hands pre-flop, you could land yourself in difficult and tricky post-flop situations with weak cards in your hand. This could lead to great losses that could have been avoided.

2. Acting too quickly without thinking things through

It’s easy to go on auto-pilot when you spend a lot of time sitting at the poker table (or behind your screen, if you’re playing poker online.) This can often lead to making decisions without thinking enough about them, which can result in costly mistakes. 

As a rule of thumb, you should never act too quickly, especially in online poker when it’s your turn. Assess all the necessary information needed to make your next move at the table. One thing that you can do to start making more informed choices is to read more about various strategies in books or online – which you are already doing right now – instead of having to learn the hard way!

3. Missing the value bet

Various color poker chips stacked and scattered across a table

Missing a value bet is a common mistake in poker. When you’ve missed the value bet enough times during your session at the poker table, your profit margin will be affected. So, if you think you have a good read on your opponent’s hand, you should take the risk because it could get expensive if you fail to do so.

4. Calling with the weaker ace

One of the most important Texas Hold’em tips to keep in mind is to never call down more experienced players with a weak Ace. If your opponents are placing strong bets, you should strongly consider folding your weak Ace hand by the turn.

5. Getting psyched out by your opponents

Yes, poker is a psychological game, and some pros try to psyche out their opponents as a tactic to get the upper hand; however, it will not help your game strategy if you allow anyone to get into your head, as this will leave you vulnerable, and ultimately lead you to make bad decisions. 

Since you have no control over how other players behave, all you can do is to develop some strategies to keep a clear head while playing, and give yourself a bit of space to make informed decisions (while not holding up the game.) One way is just to be aware that other players might use this strategy of intimidation, and stay strong – trust yourself. Getting into this mindset can also be helped by educating yourself more about the psychology of the game (there are many books written by poker players about this!)

Another recommendation is to never play while intoxicated, which may seem like obvious advice, but even a drink or two could lead to “going on tilt.” When a player is said to be on tilt, they’ve become emotionally overwhelmed and stressed during a game, and will start making poor decisions, which can then snowball, with disastrous consequences. 

6. Bluffing too much

If you want to play online poker tournaments, you should learn how to mix up your betting patterns, as well as know when to fold. Take a cue from country singer Kenny Rogers’ song “The Gambler” here, and learn all there is to know about knowing when to hold and when to fold by constantly doing your research and improving your game.

Once you’re confident about switching up your betting patterns and folding, you can start to bluff. Of course, you’ll need to have a strong poker face so that your opponents can’t tell whether you’re bluffing. This is something that you’ll constantly work on as you refine your skills, and more experience and confidence will certainly help with this (especially as you become more adept at reading other people.)

Having said that, bluffing is a great strategy to have, but it’s not the only trick to have up your sleeve (so to speak,) so you should avoid overusing it. This is because the more you bluff, the more your opponents will expect you to do it, and it will lose its intended effect.

7. Sticking to your plan and failing to adjust to other players

As much as we recommend becoming a learned player and having some kind of strategy, you should also learn how to adapt to various situations, and be flexible, as you’ll often not know who you’re going to be playing with!

For this reason, it won’t help to be a perfectionist when it comes to your game plan. The reality is that the dynamics will change throughout the proceedings and you’ll never know for sure what your opponents are going to do. If you’re comfortable with deviating from your game plan, the way you approach the action will be more relaxed and open to all the possibilities that could occur, and you’ll also be ready to take on any challenge presented.

For example, if an opponent isn’t folding out of the big blind, you should attack them with stronger hands and make bigger raises. Having the ability to switch up your approach can give you a good advantage at the poker table.

8. Calling with a small flush draw in a multi-pot

Actress Jennifer Tilly participates in CP celebrity charity poker event Aria Resort & Casino

A rookie mistake is to call with a small flush draw when you’re playing against multiple opponents. Many players like to put money down on the flop, which can hurt if one of the players has a bigger flush than you. 

Our recommendation is to avoid holding onto a small flush draw for too long when you’re playing Texas Hold’em. This is because if you’re playing in a multi-way pot, there are simply too many ways for your hand to be beaten by an opponent who has a stronger hand than yours.

9. Overcalling small pocket pair pre-flops

Calling high bets for a low-value pair such as those from a pair of twos to a pair of sixes is not recommended. Once you have the basics down, it’s important to fairly measure your bets. You’ll learn quickly that overcalling an average hand will cost you.

10. Not learning new strategies after your first success

As we’ve touched on more than once in the points above, to become a better poker player, you shouldn’t stop expanding your knowledge when you start winning a few games. In the poker world, you have to keep up, because everyone else is just as passionate and determined to win as you are. 

The truth is that poker changes all the time, with players getting better daily, so you should always work on improving your Texas Hold’em hand strategies. One of the biggest mistakes that novices make is to think you’ve conquered the game after tasting your first success at the table. No siree!

Play poker online at BetMGM


Now that you’ve learned all about what not to do as a beginner, it’s time to put the tips we’ve shared above into practice and perfect your Texas Hold’em poker online strategies at BetMGM! 

We have all the online casino games for you to play when you register online – including an array of real poker games. The fun never ends as we also host daily online poker tournaments, which should give you ample opportunities to practice. You’ll gain valuable exposure to a wide variety of playing styles by sitting around the table (even virtually,) with more experienced players. 

If you’re completely new to the gaming scene, rest assured that BetMGM online casino is licensed and regulated to provide a fair and safe gaming experience, which puts us up there as one of the best online poker sites out there to play at!

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.