Common Mistakes of Losing Poker Players

Avoiding these common mistakes can be the difference between being a winning or losing poker player

What is it that sets solid, winning poker players apart from those who are frequent losers? Winning players make fewer mistakes during a typical session.

Every poker player makes mistakes. They are lying to you if they say they don’t. Even such poker greats as Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey, who have won tens of millions from poker, make mistakes. These elite players just make fewer of them when they sit down in cash games or tournaments.

Not all mistakes are created equally. Some cost you your entire stack, others may result in losing a handful of big blinds. We’ve already covered the importance of plugging any leaks in your game, this article highlights some of the most common mistakes made by losing poker players so you don’t make the same ones!

Poor Table Selection is One of the Most Common Mistakes

Cash game players have an advantage over tournament players when it comes to table selection. Tournament players rely on a random seat draw to determine where they’re seated. Cash players can select their exact table and seat.

Playing in the wrong games is one of the most common mistakes made by a losing player. They find an open seat, jump straight in it, and start playing poker without a care in the world.

There’s no point being the sixth-best six-max NLHE player in the world if you constantly play against the top five players. You want to play poker against players you have an edge over. They’ll make more mistakes and you can capitalize on those errors.

Don’t be afraid to leave a game that turns sour. Losing players often stay in games for too long especially when the table’s fish has long gone.

Bluffing Too Much or Too Little are Common Mistakes

There is an art to bluffing in poker. Your story has to be convincing and your bluffing frequency needs to be perfect. Bluff too much and nobody believes you. Don’t bluff at all and you become exploitable.

Players who adopt a rock tight style are often winning players in home games etc. They only play premium hands, never bluff, and win the chips from opponents who don’t really know what they’re doing.

Put these rocks against a thinking player and they get crucified. Thinking players take so many pots away from them that it’s almost criminal. Don’t become an exploited player.

Conversely, bluffing too much also leads to trouble. Your opponents will call your bluff if you’re always stepping out of line. Do you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? Don’t be that boy!

Calling When You Think/Know Your Beat

How many times have you thought you were beat but still called a river bet? I’m willing to bet you’ve lost count of how many times this has happened.

You simply have to listen to what the action is telling you. Fold if you think you are beaten, only call if there is a legitimate chance you could win.

Knowing when to fold is a key skill to learn. The chips you save from folding are as precious as the ones you win. Cutting out the unnecessary calls will seriously add to your win rate. The next time you think to yourself, “what the hell, I think I’m beat but I call”, simply don’t!

Not Having a Reason To Bet

This may sound silly but you should always have a legitimate reason for betting or raising. There are four main reasons for betting. Betting for value is the main reason. You think you have the best hand so are betting to build the pot.

You can also bet to thin the field of isolate an opponent. Raising preflop with a hand such as pocket tens is raising both for value because it’s a strong hand, but it’s also vulnerable so your raise it to thin the field and make other hands fold.

Betting can also be for a bluff. Fire a bluff if you think you can represent a certain hand and know your opponent will fold. Finally, your bet can be to take control of the hand and represent strength, often the first stage of bluffing.

These are a handful of common mistakes made by losing poker players. How many of them are you guilty of making?

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.

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