If you are new to the game of Texas Holdem and want to take the game seriously you need to avoid common mistakes. Texas Holdem is an easy game, but there is no perfect way to play. Some amateurs and beginners make the same mistakes over and over again. You cannot avoid mistakes even the best players in the world make them on a daily basis. The key is to recognize when you have made a mistake and take the measures to correct it the next time you are in that situation. I am going to help you and show some of the common mistakes you might be making at the tables.
First and most common mistakes that beginners or inexperienced players make is “getting married” to there pre flop hands. Its important to realize that pocket aces do not automatically win, the hand needs to be played out. Pay attention at all times, know what hands beat you and find out where you are at in the hand. To avoid losing pots with your monster pre flop hands, raise before the flop to hopefully eliminate weak hands. I always insist that players who want to become good Holdem players need to be able to put there opponents on a range of hands that they might be playing. The way to this is by paying attention to any patterns or tells your opponents might be giving you, use this information to make an educated guess on what your opponent might have
Example : Your playing a tournament and you are down to 6 players, you pick up pocket aces in middle position and raise 5 times the big blind and get called by the guy beside you. This player has played a tight game and pretty passive pre flop, earlier you saw him smooth call pre flop with an A – Q. The flop comes out with no ace, but three diamonds, which you do not have, you make a bet anyways three quarters the pot and get called. The board pairs kings on the turn, you check and your opponent moves all in, What do you think they have? You raised pre flop and got a call from a tight player meaning there hand is probably pretty strong, there is a possible three of a kind ( kings ) or flush out there that would beat you. Since you just got called pre flop you don’t really no where you are at so, based on previous knowledge you can make a prediction and I would think the opponent has maybe A – K or K - J, possibly suited, possibly with a flush. This is probably a good time to lay down those aces.
Slow Playing – We have all seen on television a slow play work perfectly, but be careful what you learn on television poker. The main goal in every hand is to get the maximum value for what you are holding, don’t slow play just for the sake of slow playing. If you feel you are not going to get any action from your hand if you bet out, go ahead and slow play to get some value, but don’t wait to long to take control of the pot. If you slow play often you will start to get less action on your checks and your game will start to become one dimensional. The biggest downfall to slow playing is you let your competitors catch up with you, and possibly beat you at a showdown. If you want extra value from your hand, but don’t want to get sucked out on you I suggest check – raising. For example if you are first to act after you spiked top set, check and when some one bets out behind you raise them, and either play a big pot or win it right there. Slow play when the time is right, against the right players and for the right reasons.
Re – Betting - This is when you make the same bet size on two streets. For example you bet $5 on the flop and catch two callers, and after the turn you bet $5 again. You won’t see this very often in an experienced game, but when you do light bulbs will go off. An experienced Holdem player will take this in one of two ways, one that you have a big hand and are trying to get value, and they might lay down there one pair. On the other hand if a good player has a draw you will laying them the odds to call and suck out on you. Re – Betting can be an effective strategy when playing inexperienced players, but probably won’t work against veterans of the game.
Another common problem amateurs have is knowing when to bluff. To be a winning Texas Holdem player you need to bluff, but if you don’t know how you will lose an awful a lot of money. For a beginner I would suggest the easiest time to bluff is when a board is “scary” and there aren’t a lot of players in the pot. By scary I mean if the community cards have a high pair or the cards are all suited. Making good sized bets (half to three quarter pot) in late position can be a good way to make a bluff look easy. If you want to bluff you are going to need to put your opponent on a hand and trust your instincts on every street. If you are not comfortable, take a stab on the flop and if catch a call, slow down and see what happens the rest of the way.
This is just scratching the surface of the mistakes you might be making playing Texas Holdem. Remember everybody makes mistakes, the key is learning from them and fixing the mistake the next time you are in that spot. Pay attention at the table, keep your emotions in check and have fun at the tables and you will become a winning player in no time.