8 Most Common Mistakes In No Limit Texas Holdem
As a poker player, you can expect to make your fair share of mistakes at the tables. The bad thing about mistakes in no limit Texas holdem is they can instantly cost you all the money you have at the poker table. The good thing is that those mistakes are immediately recognizable, unlike mistakes in limit hold em that silently drain the bankroll. When you lose a ton of money because of one mistake when playing no limit Texas holdem, you will tend to not forget it and vow to never make that mistake again. My goal is to make you aware of the most common mistakes before you even have the chance to make them.
So I have created a list of the 8 most common mistakes in no limit Texas Holdem.
- Playing too many hands
- Overvaluing top pair
- Chasing draws
- Putting opponents on bluffs too often
- Bluffing too often
- Not value betting enough
- Slowplaying too often
- Playing outside the bankroll
Playing Too Many Hands
Playing too many hands is the first bad habit poker players must break when learning poker strategy. It’s a hard habit to break because the costs associated with playing too many hands are well-hidden.
The thought process is usually something like “well, it’s only one big blind to play this hand, and I might win a big pot with it.” Although this statement is factually correct, it’s misleading because it makes it sound likes it’s profitable to play those marginal hands when in fact it’s not.
First of all, the average online poker table deals somewhere between 60 and 70 hands per hour. If you’re playing too many hands, that one big blind every time starts to add up. On top of that, you’re not always going to get away with paying one big blind, especially if you’re playing those weak hands from out of position. People behind you are going to raise and you’re going to have to come along for the ride.
Second, those weak hands cost money postflop because they get you into tricky situations where you’re trying to guess if your hand is good. It’s hard even for poker pros to make profitable decisions in marginal situations, so don’t get yourself stuck in that situation.
Overvaluing Top Pair
The name of the mistake pretty much sums it up. There are times to get it in with top pair and there are times to fold. The decision between the two is often close and it gets many poker players in trouble, even the experienced ones. Too often, they incorrectly choose to get it in when they should be folding.
I can’t tell you when it’s right to get it in with top pair – that takes experience and a close read of the situation. What I can tell you, though, is that if you’re holding top pair and facing a large bet on the turn or river, you’re behind more often than ahead. Don’t be afraid to fold a pair, no matter how big it is. Eventually you’re going to have to work on knowing when to call, but first worry about learning when to fold. As you get started, it’s better to err on the side of caution and make a bad fold than it is to try and make a lucky call.
Again, the name says it all. Don’t chase flushes and straights unless you have the odds. In no limit, you’ll rarely have the odds to just call a bet and hit a draw. It doesn’t matter how lucky you are or how your day has been so far; if you’re chasing draws against the odds, it’s impossible to make a long term profit. Don’t do it. Click here for more information on pot odds.
Putting Opponents on Bluffs Too Often
Calling too much is the biggest leak for most losing players. It’s such a broad topic, that I’ve narrowed it down to “calling too often because you think the opponent is bluffing.”
Other than chasing draws, misreading opponents for bluffs is probably one of the most common causes for the calling-too-much disease. Most of the players you’ll encounter at the tables are inexperienced players themselves and they don’t play a super aggressive game. Most of the time they are betting for a reason. Don’t make a hero call unless you have a specific reason to do so. A simple “I think he’s bluffing” doesn’t cut it.
Bluffing Too Often
Here’s a mistake that gets poker players into all kinds of trouble. Most of your opponents are weak, so don’t bluff them because they’ll call. Never bluff without a specific reason. If you don’t have a good reason to bluff, then don’t do it! It’s better to show down a weak hand than it is to get a big bluff snapped off.
Don’t ever get that tilt-bluff thing going on either. You know what I’m talking about – you’re not hitting hands but your opponents are and you’re getting frustrated. You start making big bluffs trying to make something happen and end up blowing off a couple stacks on bad bluffs. The second you catch yourself making a bad bluff while feeling frustrated, stop and take a little break.
Not Value Betting Enough
Value betting is making a bet that you expect to be called by a weaker hand. Your opponents love to call, so give them plenty of opportunities to do so. When an opponent has a weaker hand than you, it’s more likely you’ll get him to call a bet than it is to get him to bet with that weaker hand. You’d be surprised at some of the junk people call with.
Don’t be afraid to make that river bet – if it gets raised you can always fold. It’s not like you’re losing any more money that way than if you had checked and let him bet.
Slowplaying Too Often
This goes right along with the last topic. If you have a strong hand, you’re not going to make any money if you don’t bet it. Unless your opponent also has a very strong (but second best) hand, you’re going to have to work at getting money in the middle. It’s not going to happen just because you have a nice hand.
Unless you have the deck crippled with something like a flopped full house, start betting as soon as you get the opportunity. If opponents are chasing draws, not only do you want to protect your hand but you want to catch that chase money. If you wait until the river hits and they miss all their draws, you’re not going to make any money off the hand.
Playing Outside Your Bankroll
I know you’ve heard this a million times, but so have a million broke poker players. It doesn’t matter how good a player is; if he plays on a short bankroll, he will go broke. Variance eats short bankrolls for breakfast. Don’t ever play a game with less than 20 buyins. It doesn’t matter what’s going on or how you’re feeling. Don’t do it.
And that’s it for the eight most common mistakes in no limit Texas holdem. If you can plug these eight leaks, you’ll start making some nice money at poker. All it takes is time and dedication.