No matter how long you have been playing poker, you will always find ways to improve your game. That is what players who are constantly winning are doing to be successful. As you climb up the ladder you will soon realize that finding that edge becomes more difficult. The good news is that it is really easy to improve your game as a new player simply by making a few adjustments. Let’s try and look at some of the most common poker mistakes made by rookies.
1. Bankroll Management
The good bankroll management should be the first strict rule any new poker player learns. Remember the famous Dutch Boyd quote? ‘Poker is a lot like sex, everyone thinks they are the best, but most don’t have a clue what they are doing’. No matter how good you actually are, diving into poker and trying to build a fortune with 5 buy-ins is never a good idea. General rule of thumb should be about 30 buy-ins for new players who play cash games and SNGs. It means that if you are playing NL10 you should have at least $300 in your bankroll to feel somewhat safe. Multitable tournament players should look for even bigger rolls to begin with. Remember; variance is your worst enemy.
2. Voluntarily putting too much money in the pot
Most new players are either extremely tight or extremely loose, playing way too many pots than they should. Playing loose as a new player will cost you way more money than playing a bad tight game. Learn to tighten up preflop and play fewer hands. Cut those weaker off-suit hands out and you will immediately notice a boost in your win rate. Slowly keep widening your opening range preflop as you improve your postflop game later on.
3. Slowplaying strong hands
Over and over again I see new guys getting their aces or kings cracked due to them being slowplayed. Guys, never and I repeat, never slowplay monster hands if you are new to the game. I know, you will say ‘but..but.. that guy on TV didn’t raise aces!’,- yes, that is true, but that guy also knows how to choose a good slowplaying spot and he is also not playing dumb guys which you will play at those beginner levels. Just keep value betting and you’ll get better results.
4. Bluffing too much
Again, you saw Tom Dwan pull off that sick bluff on YouTube against Phil Ivey and you think you can do that at nanostakes online or your local casino. Sorry, but I will disappoint you here – it will not work. Guys you are playing against are not capable of folding strong made hands, weak made hands and folding in general whatsoever, so keep your bluffing to a minimum.
5. Calling bets on later streets way too much
Calling turn and river bets is an art one should try and master as soon as possible. These are expensive streets and ones that really matter for your positive win rate. You really don’t want to call a pot sized river bet with only top pair top kicker in lower limits. If you learn to fold marginal hands you will soon be crushing lower limits!
Follow these few simple tips and you should improve your game greatly. Just remember to never slow play strong hands, especially at beginner levels, tweak your late calling strategy, don’t bluff too much and don’t slowplay too much. Also remember to limit the number of hands you’re playing and you should dominate those lower stakes tables in no time.