13 Mistakes to Avoid When You Start Playing Texas Hold ’em Poker

Julie Bowring

Posted On:   MAY - 05 - 2020

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Several versions of Texas Hold ‘em poker have sprung up over the years and Texas hold ’em is one the most popular ones out there. The game starts off with two cards being dealt to each player face down followed by five community cards dealt face up. The five cards are dealt in three stages and you are required to form the best five card combination from any combination of the seven cards of the five community cards and your two cards.

With the advent of Facebook (which now feels like eons ago) the popularity of poker skyrocketed. Zynga introduced the game in 2008 which immediately grabbed the attention of players from around the globe. Kiwis were also sucked into the fast paced action of Texas Hold ‘em poker and countless hours were spent trying to outdo opponents with clever poker strategies.

Given the mainstream attention that Texas Hold’em poker has achieved, it is important that you cover each aspect of the game to avoid making mistakes. The more time you spend perfecting your poker techniques the better you will become at the game. In this guide, we will shed light on 10 crucial mistakes that Texas Hold’em Poker players make that you need to avoid at all costs. Cover these mistakes and you will become a poker pro in no time!

Treating Every Player the Same

Let’s start off the list by this common poker mistake. Always be mindful of the opponents you are facing and devise suitable strategy to defeat. The ‘one size fits all’ terminology is certainly not applicable here and you need to not make informed decisions based on hand strength, chip stacks and player tendencies.

Playing Every Hand in Texas Hold ’em Poker

Similar to treating every player the same is to try to treat every hand the same as well. We would all love to win every hand that is provided to us but the reality is that some hands are better than others. Learn what hands to play and what to fold so that you don’t run out of money.

Missing the Value Bet

A value bet is defined as one that gets action from worse hands and missing it is one of the more common mistakes you can make. How often have you been found guilty of calling bets less than three forth of the value of the pot? This is followed by your opponent checking and you winning the pot. While you may take solace in the fact that you won the pot, just imagine how much bigger the pot could have been had you not missed the value bet. Well placed value bets have the potentially of increasing your profits rapidly.

To put numbers behind this common error, missing a value bet once every five hands can reduce your profit margin by 25%. If you have been watching your opponent like a hawk and have a good indication of what their hand is likely to be then it is essential that you not miss the value bet. Take the risk as the rewards will be far greater.

Calling with the Weaker Ace

Another common mistake to avoid is calling down more experienced players with a weak ace. This tactic is not worth it and will more often than not lead to you surrendering bets to your opponents. It is possible that you might get another ace by the river but having a top pair with a weak ace is not advisable. This is particularly true if your opponents are placing big bets as in this case we would advise you to fold and live to fight another round.

Bluffing the Donk

Never waste your carefully constructed poker strategies on rookie. The act of trying to bluff a beginner is referred to as bluffing the ‘donk’. If the person competing against you is a beginner, then there is no point wasting your well-planned bluffing strategy. The end result from this is most likely going to be a lot of wasted bets on your part. A skilled poker player has a good read on their opponents and will execute strategies based on their skill level. Carrying a complex bluff strategy on a beginner is not advisable.

Not Folding Small Pocket Pairs

One of the biggest poker blunders is over calling a mediocre hand. Spending big on low value pairs such as 2/2 is not recommended. Yes, it is true that if lady luck is on your side, a low value pair can become three of a kind which will certainly make for a good story. However, the chances of such an occurrence are slim and we encourage that you fold small pocket pairs as soon as you get them.

Getting Psyched Out by Your Opponents

Texas Hold ‘em poker is very much a psychological game that requires you to keep your cool and to not be psyched out by opponents. Over the years we have seen players make subtle gestures and even dress in certain ways in an effort to intimidate their opponents. Quite similar to the Haka performed by our great rugby teams, some players might have rituals that are constructed for the sole purpose of flustering you.

Some opponents will try to get into your head by taunting or trash talking with the purpose of throwing you off your game. Keep your opponents at bay and do not let get into your head.

Rushing into a Hand

Building upon what we said about poker being a psychological game, it is important that you take your time making a decision. Ever wondered how some poker players take an eternity to make a move that might seem basic to you. Unless you are pressed for time and shot clocks come into the equation, we advise that you sit back, relax, take everything into consideration before you make your move on the more important hands.

Not knowing when to stop

Practising the art of bluffing is essential in poker. Knowing when to stop the bluff is even more important. It is quite understandable when you are heavily invested into a hand to continue with the bluff. However, knowing when to give up a bluff is essential if you want to go past the current round.

Paying Off Aces

Seeing an ace in the hole is likely to cause you a great deal of happiness. However just because you hold an ace does not automatically make it into a great hand. As the game progresses and you can see a pair of aces going nowhere then it is best to fold. Yes, it is true that depending on the cards on the table this can either be a great hand or a weak one. Keep on telling yourself that a couple of aces is just another pair and don’t give them more credit than they deserve.

Showing Your Cards

Showing your hand at the end of a round is not recommended. It gives signals to your opponents regarding your style of play. While pros will often show their cards in hopes of setting up a more complicated bluff in the future. It is an advanced strategy that carries a great amount of risk.  Leave the card showing to pros as they will easily be able to pick up hints about the way you play which will lead to expensive losses on your side.

Playing Too Many Tables

With so many online casinos at your disposal you might be tempted to create multiple player accounts with the hopes of playing poker across several tables. There are tons of poker strategy videos out there that show the pros playing multiple tables and teaching you on how to do the same. Our advice is to stick to one table at the beginning until you are able to make a profit over a sustained period. Once you have achieved that then add another table and strive for the same goal.

Playing Texas Hold ‘em Poker in Bad Mood

As is the case with other casino games such as roulette, blackjack and online pokies, Texas Hold ‘em poker should never be played when you are in a bad mood. This might seem like an obvious thing to do but you will be surprised by how often players fall victim to playing poker when they are in a bad mood. Poker requires a lot of skill and strategy and demands you to think logically which is not going to be the case when you are not thinking straight.