The top 10 Common pre-flop mistakes to avoid when playing Texas Hold’em Poker
Hi there! Welcome to our Texas Hold’em Poker strategy for beginners. If you’re here you value mastering the basics of the game and wants to know the secrets of how to play poker. Good for you, you’ll have a set of new advantages next time you sit at a table after reading our poker tips.
It’s important to learn the statistics and possible outcomes of the flop, turn, and river. It is also important for any ambitious poker player to avoid poker mistakes and running bad in poker.
Today, we’ll be explaining to you 10 key mistakes people make right at the beginning of the hand. This is the pre-flop; it’s when every player at the table receives their cards. You have to make a decision on whether to play your cards or not. You don’t want to be playing a bad hand, that loses you chips.
This is a critical moment. The decisions you make here will affect the outcome of the hand for you and the entire game. Early in the game the blinds are small and beginners are tempted to play every hand, even if it’s a bad starting hand, or the worst hand in poker. Don’t be one of them. Pay attention to what everyone does who acts before you and steer clear of making the following errors:
1.- Not betting with a strong hand hoping to lead other players into thinking that you have nothing of value;
It’s never a good strategy to let players with weak hands buy their way into the flop by paying the Big Blind (BB). If you’re in possession of a strong hand, bet on it. Don’t double the blind: make a statement. Bet 3 or 4 times the big blind, plus another BB for every player that has called. If someone has raised the bet before you, call it –or re-raise if you’ve a strong hand.
Imagine that you’re playing for fun with some friends. You’re dealt a very good-looking pair of K’s. You’re thinking of misleading others about your hand by only calling the big blind. Another player has 8/9 suited. Many player regard a hand like this as a great starting hand. It does have a lot of potential, and can play out better than say, Jack /King, because it has various flush and straight possibilities. If they call and they flop anything interesting, a flush or straight draw, two pair, or even one pair, they will call your C-bet. They could end up with the winning hand. So to avoid running bad in poker, force weak hands out pre-flop with serious betting. You might get lucky. An example would be in a tournament with blinds 2k /4k, you raise to 12k with pocket kings . A loose player with A/3o calls and the flop is 2,3,7, you C-bet 12k and they go all in. You call. They thought you had A/K and were bluffing. You clean up. Nice poker. Or you don’t raise, and the big bind checks his 7/2, hits two pair and takes your chips. And you think you are running bad in poker, but really you are playing badly. Look here for poker winning hands
Poker tip, Don’t let other players into the game with weak hands when you have a great starting hand. Raise the bet 3 or 4 times the BB, and one BB for each player sitting at the table.
2.- Calling from UTG or MP/LP** positions with a bad hand because “you know, it’s just one Big Blind.”
What’s wrong with that? A lot. And here is a poker tip; You don’t want to be giving away your chips for pure luck. We know it’s satisfying to call the BB with a bad hand sometimes. But why would you play the worst hand in poker? You are hoping for the wonder flop of two pair or a full house. Or you haven’t played hand for a while and are getting bored. Or you are in the middle of a period of bad beat poker and don’t think anything will make a difference. But try not to find yourself in a position where you’re hoping for a 2 or a 5 to save you at the flop.
Usually, players start a game with 50 to 200 times the BB’s value. That means that if you’re holding a poor hand, you’re going to be risking between 0.5% and 2% your money on nothing. You can do the math and you can work out if you keep doing that, you will soon be out of the game.
Poker tip; Don’t limp with poor cards for the sake of it.
3.- Not taking into account other players’ stacks of chips;
As the game advances, blinds go up and some players’ bankrolls go down. Most people who are short stacked tighten up and will tend to fold, or only call if they’re low on chips. They hope to see a hand cheaply, which at that stage for the game for them is a fine Texas Hold’em poker strategy.
However, and here is a great poker tip, if you see a player low on chips only calling the big blind, or in the big blind position, you raise on them. They will be shepherding their chips. They will not waste them unless they have a great hand. If they did have a great hand, in the majority of cases they would have raised or gone all in pre-flop. If they do call and the flop is not in your favour, and they go all in, it may be best to fold. Sure, there are players who will do that anyway, and bluff you. But you should know the character of the player by this stage of the game. Make the call if you think you are ahead, otherwise save your chips.
Even if you are stacked, and there are players with the same or more chips than you, be wary of raising against them without a great hand. To risk all your chips against a stacked player when you are comfortable is what leads to bad beat poker. You can raise for value with a decent hand, but still be prepared to get out if you are 3-bet.
Remember: it’s not about not about calling bets, it’s like a game of chess. You have to think a few moves ahead. For instance, what will I have to do on the turn if I don’t hit and they bet? How much do I pay to find out the next move? So think about what is happening and whether a low-stacked player is going to be shoving.
Poker tip; Assess your opponent’s chip stack and think ahead a few moves.
4.- Going all-in with an average hand because your stack of chips is low;
This is where your own poker philosophy comes into play. Any two cards can win right? Or do you think that one of them must at least be an ace, and preferably a high ace? It might be a nice strategy when you’re the small blind (SB) or BB to risk all your chips on J/8 or Q/9 when your stack is down to just 4 or 5 times the big blind. Remember that you’re dealt cards for free at every other position on the table. If it has been frustrating to receive bad hand after bad hand all night, have extra patience to wait for a good hand to go all-in. Why risk all you have been striving for with the worst hand in poker, or something that isn’t close to the best hand in poker.
Poker tip; Choose your all-in moment carefully.
5.- Trying to “steal the blinds” when no other players have raised the BB;
Surprise surprise, it’s a bad idea to bet hard with a bad hand against lots of players. If you do it from early position you are on dodgy ground, there are so many players to enter the pot after you. If you are going to shove, or over-bet, its best done from the big blind, small blind or button. But at the end of the day, is it worth it to get your pockets filled with dimes? Generally it’s not worth the risk even in late position. Someone may have limped with top value cards and is waiting for a raiser. It happens. Or an opponent may have recognized that’s the way you play and calls. You will lose way more than you win. Stick to a sound poker strategy, avoid wasting chips on that bad hand.
Poker tip; Shove with good hands, with at least a picture card or a pocket pair. At least if you lose you can complain about bad beat poker.
6.- Betting the same amount every time you pre-flop raise;
If you make the same value raise pre-flop with the same types of cards all the time, ie AA, AK ,KK, KQ, this is one of the common poker mistakes. Your opponents will get a read on your play. So they will know that if they play small cards to your raise and the flop is low, they could bet hard. When you get to a showdown, they’ll know what kind of cards you are likely to have been holding when you raised pre-flop. Make sure you are aware of how your betting pattern is being interpreted. Confuse other players every once in a while. Predictability is death! This is working out a players ‘range,’ what cards they are likely to have at any give time in any position. You should be working out theirs, and they will be working out yours.
Poker tip, Either vary the amount of your pre-flop betting when you have good cards, or raise the same every time you enter a pot. That’s
7.-Passive Pre-flop play;
Don’t be shy. Raise when you get great cards. Be aggressive. For that hand become noticeable and gain respect from other players at the table. Raising increases your chance of winning the pot straight away if everyone folds, but also if you C-bet. Because you raised pre-flop, if you C-bet even without hitting the board with your A/K or A/Q, people will believe you. If you don’t raise pre-flop, your opponents may stay in the hand when you bet on the flop. Also if you do raise pre-flop, you are building the pot. If you take it down, you have built a nice little stack. Although its possible, it would be unusual for a passive player end up winning a tournament. Aggressive play does better.
Poker tip; Raise with good cards.
8.- Failing to take table position into consideration;
Being on the Button, SB or BB presents with an incredible advantage. You’ll have more information available than any other person on the table. Make sure you evaluate everyone’s reaction to their bets before deciding on calling a raise, raising or folding.
Being on the button will also increase your chances to win by bluffing post-flop when all players have only checked or folded their hands. Even if it is the worst hand in poker you could do this. Sometimes a blind sized bet or a 2x blind bet is enough.
This position gives you a chance to raise pre-flop too. Experienced players will expect this so keep the raise reasonable and its more likely to be believed. Keep an eye on how the other players make their call though, and if you sense someone setting a trap, be extra careful.
Poker tip; Use position on the table to put other players under pressure.
9.-Not raising a tight or short stacked player;
Some players play super tight and that is their nature. They never ever play a bad hand. And some novice players only play the best hands. Try and spot these tight players because you need to know how to deal with them and get the advantage. Its great if you have a tight player on your left. If they are the big blind you can raise on them every time even if you have the worst hand in poker. Unless they have an ace or a pair, these players will fold, so you can pick up loads of chips. By the same token, if they enter a hand, even calling the big blind, and especially when they raise, be careful. They will only have good cards. In this situation, unless you have a very strong hand, it’s best to not call their raise. It doesn’t mean you should never call them. Be always aware of their hands and pay to see the flop only when you have something worth the shot.
Poker tip; Play the player. Figure out how someone plays and use the information.
10.- Folding at the SB position;
This is a tricky position to play well. As a beginner you are best off folding the vast majority of hands here. Why? Because after the flop you have the worst position on the table. It seems an easy decision to play this hand most of the time, after all you already have half the blind in the pot. And you might get lucky. But most of us most of the time don’t get lucky. If you continually put your chips in the pot in this position you are depleting your chip stack. Then you start to feel you are running bad in poker.
You could, for instance, play Ace /rag from here. However if you hit your rag card, ie a 2 through to 8, and there are higher cards on the flop, the chances are someone will have the higher card. And if you hit your Ace, you have a weak kicker and you are out of position.
This becomes more relevant later in the game when the blinds are going up, and the cost of calling even the half the blind becomes prohibitive. Be smart in this position, don’t enter the pot too often.
Poker tip; Be wary in the small blind, it’s a difficult spot post-flop.
The beginning of every hand is crucial to the outcome. That decision you make on how to enter the game each time can make or break you It can lead to running bad in poker.
Poker is a mental game. Sitting at a poker table for hours will affect most players’ ability to calculate odds, remember betting patterns, and reason efficiently. Think about what you want to achieve with each hand you play, and if you are thinking of playing the cards with blind hope and luck, let the hand go
A lot of players play well at the beginning of a game and increase their chip count steadily, only to lose all their chips due to mental fatigue in the latter stages of the game. Make sure you’re at the top of your abilities when the game has been running for long hours, and try to take advantage from others’ weariness.
As players get tired and their mind wanders they are likely to make mistakes. If you’re the one who’s feeling tired, walk around the room or go outside for some fresh air. Look for the signs that someone is fatiguing, yawning, rubbing their eyes. If you are on your game, you can take advantage of them.
Players have holes in their game where they loose chips. Try to make sure you are not wasting your chips. Start with thinking about the points above, and figure out if they are affecting your game. Good luck!