They say that experience is the best teacher in life, but there are some things you’d want to learn without even going through them.
This is especially true in live poker games, in which a bad mistake can cost you a lot of money.
In this article, we will cover five major mistakes you should avoid when playing live poker, be it Texas Hold’em or any other variation you prefer.
1. Always Sticking to Your Plan
As a poker player, you want to have a solid plan you’ll go by when playing live games. But, you shouldn’t blindly stick to your betting pattern no matter what.
It’s crucial to know when you should stray away from it and adjust to the specific situation you’re faced with.
Poker is a very dynamic game. Whether you are playing casino live poker games against the dealer or battling it out against other players, you need to be ready to adjust to the situation.
Depending on the opponents you’re playing against, you need to be flexible enough to change your strategy in a blink of an eye.
Remember, other players will be making adjustments as the game goes on. If you stick to your base game plan, they’ll start reading into your decisions, and you won’t be able to beat them.
Learning to adjust and tailor your strategy depending on each given situation is not an overnight process. It takes a lot of effort and practice. Most importantly, it takes an open mind and a down-to-earth mentality.
2. Not Planning Your Moves Ahead
Many poker players say that poker and chess have a long list of similarities. And, being two very strategy-oriented games, there’s a lot of truth in this.
Casual poker players and beginners often make the mistake of making decisions without considering any preparations for future streets.
To plan your decisions and their impact ahead, you should always think about the possible actions you may face if you make a particular decision. This may seem like too much work, but it makes your post-flop choices much simpler and straightforward.
Much like in chess, when you plan your decisions multiple steps ahead, you can avoid costly mistakes and challenging decisions on every hand you play.
This is a tough skill to master, so don’t be frustrated if you have trouble with it initially. If you have the patience and focus on doing it, it will make you a much more successful poker player.
3. Playing Too Tight or Too Loose
You could argue that these are two completely different mistakes to make, but they’re the two sides of the same coin. If you want to be successful playing live poker, you need to find the sweet spot of how you’re going to play.
Playing too loose is a more common mistake and one that’s more damaging for your bankroll. Usually, poker players who are overconfident in their abilities or luck are those who tend to make it.
It happens when a player believes he’ll be able to outplay any opponent despite having a poor range. The main issue with this, and the reason why playing loose is so costly, is that loose players often lose a lot of money when they reach the showdown.
Oppositely to this, playing too tight also comes with its downsides. While it is an excellent tactic to employ against loose players, it can do you more harm than good.
The first reason you shouldn’t play too tight is that it will make you a reasonably easy opponent to play against. Not only this, but you’ll be missing a lot of potentially profitable spots.
The best way to avoid the mistake of playing too tight or too loose is to become more disciplined and understand every poker hand you play.
If you’re playing too tight, you can widen your preflop ranges. If you’re playing too loose, you can work on being more selective with your hands preflop, as this will significantly impact your post-flop decisions.
4. Rushing Your Decisions
Acting too quickly and rushing your decisions is a lousy pattern even the pros can fall into every once in a while. Sometimes this is an ego problem; sometimes, it’s about self-consciousness.
Some players fear that they’ll look dumb if they take too much time, while others don’t want to be the one who holds up the game.
Although poker etiquette involves making your decisions in a reasonable timeframe, there’s no definite shot clock in the game. You can always take as much time as you need to make a rational and well-thought-out decision.
A few extra seconds of reasoning can make a significant difference between winning or losing your hard-earned money.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to every single hand you play. But, when it comes to big and important decisions, no one will fault you if you take a bit of time to think things through.
When there’s money on the line, you should never make robotic decisions without reflecting on the possible outcomes and consequences.
5. Playing When Tilted or Emotional
Poker players are known for their cool and composure, but all of us can get triggered from time to time and lose our patience. The problem doesn’t lie with this, but in how you act when you notice you’re starting to tilt.
You can’t avoid getting tilted now and then. But, you need to know how to mitigate the damage to prevent any mistakes when you’re not thinking clearly.
Playing when you’re too emotional is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in live poker.
Since you won’t be making strategic and rational decisions, you won’t be giving yourself the best chances of winning. Other players will read right through you and take advantage of your lack of composure.
If you notice such behavior, you need to have measures you’ll resort to to regain self-control and get your head back in the game.
That said, sometimes things just won’t go your way no matter how calm you try to stay. In such cases, it’s best just to walk away and continue playing at a later time. Never make the mistake of playing live poker games when you’re too emotional.