The Top Five Poker Mistakes

It’s a basic truth of poker: Good players make their money off bad or inexperienced players. They wait for the fish and then reel them in. So how do you learn how to play without becoming an ATM for your opponents? We asked poker expert Chris Tessaro for the five most common mistakes rookies make. Avoid these, and you can probably hold onto your shirt. You might even win some cash.

1. They’re Loose
The number one rookie mistake is playing too many hands. Daniel Negreanu can play 5-7 offsuit. You can’t. Play only premium hands, and don’t dabble with mediocre cards.

2. They Call Bets
Beginners call way too many bets. If your hand isn’t good enough to raise, then it’s not good enough to call. And if it is, then raise: It will help you learn whether or not your opponent really has a hand.

3. They Don’t Play Their Position
The closer you are to the dealer button, the stronger your hand gets. Position is everything. If you’re first to act at the table, you should be folding almost every hand. If you’re on the button, you can expand your range. As long as you’re not calling, that is. Did you forget tip #2 already?

4. They Slow-Play

Play tight, but when you have a good hand, bet it. Hard. Be aggressive and put people to difficult decisions. Your pocket aces are over 70 percent favourites against one player. They’re a 30 percent favourite against three players.

5. They Don’t Fold
Sounds simple, but many people have a hard time saying goodbye. Those pocket nines are probably no good after a flop that shows higher cards.

Chris Tessaro
is the host of the “Hardcore Poker Show” on Sirius channel 98 and the poker columnist for the Toronto Sun. Follow him on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Ross Websdale.

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