Speaking about poker, both tournament or cash-game no matters if live or online, every game is true mix of unique moods, sensations and emotions, which can be controlled through experience so the revealing of precious tells to your opponents is not apparent.
Lots of amateurs begin to play much more after gaining a bit of confidence with the game, but often while trying to make a step forward they overlook the importance of some behaviors at the table.
Here I’m going to show you five common mistakes made by occasional players:
1 – Playing too much when losing and too less when winning:
How many times it happens to lose a certain amount in a cash-game and try to overcome the loss by playing few hours more? Generally amateurs use to play less when they’re winning and vice versa. This can be a less dangerous fault for a professional poker player with a good mindset, but a harmful mistake for a beginner. Stressful situations don’t allow us to perform our best so it’s much better to plan an objective ‘stop loss/stop win’ target than playing limitless, keeping in mind that only a huge amount of games will be helpful ti break down variance in a long term period.
2 – Low concentration in game:
Smartphones and tablets together with social networks are some of the most common distractions among live and online players. Sometimes I also play with an ‘auto-pilot’ during a poker session because I’m focused on something else, and this is all but a smart approach:such a behaviour might affect negatively our winning-rate so far. Each hand requires a specific mental effort in order to make the best choice, spot by spot. So, distractions may be right but just occasionally, if your head is somewhere else you should better quit the session.
3 – Playing out of position
This is probably the biggest mistake among amateurs: in Texas Hold’em playing out of position is an handicap as well as playing in position is a huge advantage. Therefore is really important to study opening ranges, trying not to raise too often from early positions and increasing openings from late ones when you think you might look too tight: the less players you have after you – which can call or re-raise your bet – the better.
4 – To not be aware of the stack
Details make difference: knowing exactly how many chips we have available is fundamental. Most of beginners use to play hands without being aware of their stack, which means to avoid all poker applied math such as ICM, Pot Odds and Implied Odds. I have to deal everyday with several situations where i may have called or folded a hand for just half blind more or half blind less. Keep in mind to be constantly aware of your stack, by estimating how many blinds you have on your side or by using the M-factor.
5 – Playing out of bankroll
Poker’s a skill game, unless we approach it without a correct bankroll management turning everything into gambling. Winning in a long term period is quite difficult with a bad funds administration. My advice is always to start from the bottom, moving to the next step only after a considerable number of games played with a suitable buy-ins amount, but mostly never do a level-up trying to recover losses after a bad session!