Poker is a complicated game, with many different strategies available to the experienced player. For the beginner, this can mean many opportunities to make mistakes. This complexity is, of course, the reason that so many of us love the game, but it can take a lifetime of learning to avoid all of poker’s hidden traps. Here are a few of the more obvious pitfalls, as well as some suggestions for getting around them.
Not knowing your limits
However good a player you are, if you sit down at a table and don’t know when to quit, then you will end up losing everything. If you’re not disciplined about money, then the chances are you’re not disciplined about poker, and a compulsive player is a bad player. Playing above your bankroll and burning through your savings, or worse, going into debt, as you attempt to make back what you’ve lost won’t just ruin your game, it will ruin your life.
Decide on your bankroll and stick to it. To be sure of doing so, make sure your bankroll is equal to the number of games you hope to play. For instance, if you’re playing tournaments you need 80-100 buy-ins, so that’s $100 if you’re playing for $1 stakes. If you’re playing with cash, set aside 20 times your buy-in as a bankroll, so that’s another $2000. When that is gone, walk away gracefully.
Not changing your strategy
The most effective poker strategy is one that adapts to different circumstances. Being too fixed in your strategy and always using the same style of play not only makes you a predictable opponent, it means you’ll flounder when the game takes an unexpected turn. Whether you’re playing at a table or at an NJ online casino, always have several potential strategies up your sleeve and be fluid enough to adjust to an opponent’s moves.
Not having a plan
The only thing that’s worse than not changing your strategy is not having a proper strategy at all. If you don’t think ahead when playing a hand then you’ll run into trouble sooner rather than later. Think ahead. Anticipate where your decisions could lead you. Consider not only your own options, but the options your opponent has. Ask yourself what you hope to gain and what risks you are taking.
Playing too many hands
Playing too loose is the sign of an amateur who is only playing for fun. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to play well and win money, you need to know when to fold. Advanced players can also fall into this trap if they get over-confident and think they can bluff their way through. Discipline is the key to a good game.
Being too cautious
If playing too loose is one mistake then playing too tight is another. Don’t be too cautious, always folding early and rarely bluffing. For one thing that style of play is just boring to play against. A good player strikes the right balance between loose and tight, and occasionally shifts that balance depending on the game.
In poker there’s more than one way to win but there’s also more than one way to lose. Be flexible, stay in practice and keep a clear head. Your game will improve as a result.