Poker Tips

How to Play Poker Like a Champ: 5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid

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Poker is a multi-faceted game. There are many different ways to play it and numerous techniques and strategies on the poker table. There are tricks designed for every type of opponent and an endless variety of poker situations; still, every hand is different. This is true whether you play poker live or online on sites like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room.

This complexity is a big reason why poker is such an exciting game. But it’s also why many players are prone to making costly mistakes during a match. While there’s no single correct way on how to play poker, there are principles and strategies that can help you avoid slips that guzzle up your poker chips.

If you want to know how to play the game like a champ, minimize your losses, and up your chances of taking down the pot, start by learning these five costly mistakes to avoid.

Poker mistake #1: Not playing enough hands

This is one of the most common mistakes players make. Don’t get us wrong; a tight playing style is advantageous under the right conditions in most poker games. For one, it’s a good strategy against loose players. It’ll help you save strong cards for when they matter most while loose opponents whittle down their hands with weaker ones.

The problem is you can miss out on potential profits with marginal hands if you play too tight. Say you folded a 6-7 of hearts pre-flop; then the flop came with Ace of Hearts, 5 of Diamonds, and 8 of Clubs. You would have missed out on a chance to c-bet with a backdoor flush draw.

In addition, you risk becoming predictable if you only play the premium poker hands. If you do this, chances are good that other players will be able to tell, and they’ll use that to their advantage. Avoid this mistake by expanding your pre-flop ranges and mixing a few bluffs with your value bets.

Poker mistake #2: Playing too many hands

Avoid playing too loosely as much as you would avoid playing too tightly. Much like the latter, loose play has its benefits. In the right situations, it can be used to bluff opponents, extract more value from big hands, or even win small pots.

However, too loose of a playing style can also be costly. You risk playing too many marginal hands and losing money in the long run. Moreover, if you get to the showdown, chances are good that your hand won’t be the best.

To avoid this mistake, simply try to be more selective with the cards you play. Make sure you understand how to play each starting hand, know when to c-bet, and how to bluff your opponents with a weak hand.

Poker mistake #3: Sticking to one strategy or playing style

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Poker is a game of constant adjustments. The key to success is being able to read your opponents and change your strategy according to their playing style and the table dynamics. For instance, you might prefer a more tight-aggressive approach when you play, but this style might not be the most profitable if the table is full of loose-passive players. You’ll need to adjust to a looser style to get more out of your hands.

The same goes for playing against different types of opponents. If you’re up against fish, you can afford to be more aggressive and make bigger bluffs. But if you’re playing against a seasoned pro, you’ll need to be more cautious and patient.

Many players get too comfortable with one particular strategy or playing style and fail to change gears when the situation calls for it. As a result, they limit their earning and winning potential and risk becoming easy prey for their opponents, who can quickly catch on to them.

Poker mistake #4: Betting the same amount on the flop, turn, and river

The goal of poker is to make the most money possible with each hand. To do this, you must know how to size your bets correctly. If you bet too small, you’ll miss out on value when you have a strong hand. But if you bet too big, you could lose more money than necessary if your hand ends up being weaker than your opponents’.

One common mistake players make is betting the same amount on the flop, turn, and river. Remember that the pot increases with each round, so a constant bet size will decrease in value relative to the pot. For example, if you bet $10 into a $40 pot on the flop, that’s 25% of the pot. But if you bet $10 into a $60 pot on the turn, that’s only 16.7% of the pot.

The problem with this betting strategy is that it leaves your opponents with plenty of opportunities to call with a wide range of hands. It also makes bluffing less effective since your opponents likely won’t fold to a smaller bet. Lastly, it decreases the profit potential when you value bet with a strong hand.

To avoid this mistake, ensure you’re sizing your bets according to the pot size.

Poker mistake #5: Not having a plan for future streets

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Too many players focus only on the current street and don’t think about how the latter ones will play out. This can be a costly mistake, especially in tournament poker.

You should also plan how to proceed on subsequent rounds when considering a bet or raise. For instance, if you’re considering making a c-bet on the flop, you should know how much you’ll bet on the turn if your opponent calls.

This is important because it allows you to stay in control of the pot size and avoid making costly mistakes. You’ll likely face challenging spots throughout the game if you don’t have a plan.

To avoid this mistake, think a few steps ahead when making bets and raises. This way, you’ll be able to respond better to your opponents’ actions and make more profitable decisions.

There you have it, five costly poker mistakes to watch out for. Keep them in mind the next time you sit down at the poker table to prevent yourself from making them. With practice, avoiding these mistakes will come more naturally to you, and you’ll be on your way to playing poker like a champ.

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