Common Beginner Mistakes

The pressure of playing poker for the first time can lead to many new players into making some simple mistakes. With poor play it’s still possible to get lucky and win some chips (or at least not lose any), more frequently beginner mistakes will either make the rest of the table hate you or cost you lots of money. While playing a great game will take some practice, and there’s little doubt new players will make some mistakes, a few quick tips will at least keep you away from the most basic ones.

Learn the game of poker without staking too much cash.

There’s nothing wrong with playing free poker games to learn the mechanics of the game, but without even small stakes to worry about, there’s really no incentive for players to fold their hands. This makes game play quite unrealistic when compared to a real-money table. To get started, try playing against friends or family instead of seasoned veterans. Only when you’re starting to become comfortable with your play should you make the move to playing with strangers, many of whom have a wealth of poker experience. Over time with more practice, you will find you have the confidence to take your poker games up to the next level. Just don’t rush yourself into the big game.

Don’t lose control of your emotions.

We all have had bad beats and lost money. Don’t get overly angry over one hand and lose control of yourself. A sign to seasoned players that they are playing a beginner is cussing and complaining after one hand doesn’t go your way. In addition, many poker rooms will disallow patrons access to play at their tables if they frequently display this behavior. We all know that losing a poker hand means losing money, sometimes a great amount. But don’t lose control of your emotions! Avoid looking like a complete amateur and keep your emotions in check – no matter what. Serious players keep their cool during poker games no matter what.

Don’t bet out of turn.

Betting out of turn is when a player bets at the wrong time. It’s a mistake that not only annoys the rest of the table, but can affect the outcome of the hand for other players at the table as well. By betting out of turn, you could make the decision on whether or not to play a hand for another player who should have bet. This unfair advantage is not something that should be given to other players. Betting out of turn changes the way hands are played and is a nuisance to everyone, don’t do it.

While it might not be possible at an online poker room to bet out of turn – many online tables have ‘chat’ features that might allow players to broadcast their move out of turn or comment on another players action. Same rule applies.

Know what the bet is.

Betting limits are set at tables (with the exception of no-limit of course) and are usually start at double the amount of money that each player must blind. Know what the minimum and maximum bets are and avoid looking silly in a hand by under or over-betting. Don’t hurt your chances to win a hand by making an incorrect bet.

Folding instead of checking.

Want to look like a total amateur who has no idea what they’re doing? If there are no bets made before you and you have a bad hand, DON’T fold. You can say check and perhaps see another card for free. If everyone else also checks, the next card in the hand will be dealt which may well improve your hand. There is no way of telling which cards may reveal themselves on the turn or river, so don’t fold prematurely.

Forgetting to protect your cards.

Don’t worry about this rule too much at home games (or at all online), but practice it to make sure it’s habit for the casinos. Always keep your hand away and separate from other player’s hands. An easy way to do this is simply placing a chip or your hand over the cards. Mixing your hand with another hand makes the cards void and unusable for the hand in question. You don’t want this to happen when you have a big hand and need to play the pot!

Throwing chips into the pot.

Any fans of popular poker movies may have seen big name players throw their chips into a pot. Don’t actually do this at a casino – ever. Count out the correct amount of the bet in question and place it in front of you for the dealer. The dealer at the table will count your bet and put it into the pot for you. Actually tossing in chips makes it difficult (if not impossible) to determine whether the called amount was actually put in.

Throwing a winning hand into the discards.

So someone has called your raise and shows a hand you think is better then yours. Don’t throw away or muck your cards! Just show the hand you made and the dealer will call out who the winner is. Now and then you may mistake what hand you actually had by misread cards or not placing a hand. This will lead to you sometimes throwing away the winning hand. Always let the dealer announce the winner and hope for the best.

Again, all beginners make mistakes. By reading this article, hopefully you can avoid making some of the more common ones. Practice against making these mistakes and you should avoid them in real games as well. To learn how to play even better, try watching the best players at casinos and try mimicking their play. Watching allows you to learn while losing no money at all.

Poker can be fun for all players as long as everyone knows how to play. A certain etiquette is expected of all players. This article is not only meant to help players act in the correct manner, but to also help them avoid giving signs that show them to be easy money in their early games. Keep practicing!