There’s a reason why there is always a tense poker game in the old cowboy and spy movies: poker is as dramatic as an action sequence. Everyone is trying to outmaneuver you, and you are trying to outmaneuver them. The stakes are more than just money—it’s your reputation of being a good player that helps you win the game on the line. Here are five mistakes you should never make when you play poker.
1. You Play Every Hand
There is no reason why you need to play every single hand at a table. Playing a bad hand that you could never bluff your way out of isn’t a smart move, it’s an inexperienced move. Not only will you wind up losing the hand, the other players at the table will know you don’t have a handle on when to play and when not to. They’ll start to see through you. Sit out some hands. You’ll look like a smarter player for it.
2. You Never Fold
No one wants to look like they lost. But if you have a bad hand, most likely that is what’s going to happen. Sometimes you want to bluff your way out of that situation, but not all of the time: if you do that, you’re not going to fool anyone. If you hold out hope that against all odds the miracle cards that will save your hand are going to show up in the flop, think again. You’re going to lose. Be like Obi Wan Kenobi. If you lose this hand you will become more powerful than they can possibly imagine. Maybe not that powerful, but you won’t have to ante up too many more times.
3. You Don’t Do the Math
Math is part of any good poker player’s game. If you can’t assess the bets that are being made and understand what the other players are doing based on how much they’re betting, you have failed. Not being able to do this is directly related to staying in too long in games with losing hands. Probability is a major part of this game, and if you don’t have a handle on that you’re only playing on gut feeling. The problem is that you should be playing with your head, not with your gut. Do the math next time you play.
4. You Get Scared
You think you have a hand, but you’re not sure. What if you wind up losing? What if somebody doesn’t think you can play? Not knowing what is going to happen is a problem every poker player has to deal with—being afraid of what is going to happen and folding is a problem. If you have a hand that has a chance, you should risk losing and play it. Most of the time people who will fold with a possible winning hand think that the other players hard charging must have something better. That’s not the case. Play a hand if you think you can. The worst that will happen is you’ll lose. The best is that you’ll call somebody’s bluff.
5. You Keep Cold Calling
Cold Calling is when one player raises, the next player re-raises, and then you call. Cold calling is a mark of either fear or inexperience since it shows that you don’t have any confidence in your hand. If there’s a chance that you have a winning hand, you should re-raise instead of calling in this situation. If you know you aren’t going to win, you should fold.
Now that you know what not to do, are you ready to take you chance in a real game? Here’s a great place to play poker right now.