Сommon Mistakes Made by Poker Beginners

Poker Academy
27 Apr 2024
27 Apr 2024

Poker is a game where reducing mistakes leads to winning.

In many sports and games, the outcome is heavily influenced by how skillfully you play. However, in poker, the outcome is determined by how well you minimize mistakes.

Mistakes in poker refer to deviating from GTO game, but this time, we'll focus on common, beginner-friendly mistakes without delving into the advanced concepts of GTO. By simply eliminating these mistakes, you can become a winner at lower stakes online or casinos. Furthermore, you can increase your chances of winning by effectively capitalizing on your opponent's mistakes.

By reading this article, you'll learn how to prevent your own mistakes and how to capitalize on your opponent's mistakes when you spot them!

There are four common mistakes often seen among beginners. Let's take a closer look at these mistakes to avoid them.


Beginners don't like to fold, it's boring.

As a result, they tend to play too many hands preflop, most of which are played passively by limping with a wide range of marginal hands.

There are two main issues with limping:

  • You can't win pots pre-flop
  • It's much harder to win postflop

Limp cannot get you a pot preflop because the opponent doesn't even have a fold option. 

Furthermore, since limping is often done with weak hands, it's hard to create strong hands post-flop.

If you find yourself limping, it's best to stop and start raising instead.

Inability to Evaluate Relative Hand Strength

Beginners often struggle to properly evaluate the strength of their hands. Particularly with "pretty looking" hands like AA or KK, they tend to call regardless of the board. This is why we call them "calling stations."

For example, if you have KK and face an all-in on the board below, would you call?

KK is indeed a strong hand, but that's primarily preflop. Postflop, the strength of your hand can change significantly depending on the board.

This board in particular allows you to complete flushes and straights. Your opponent's all-in includes a lot of those hands, and a pair of KK alone probably won't be strong enough to call in this situation.

Even strong hands can become weak depending on the board. If you feel your hand isn't strong enough to continue playing, folding is crucial to minimizing losses.

"Saved money is earned money"

In fact, a famous poker pro Daniel Negreanu folded even a straight in the hand below, preventing himself from losing chips to an opponent's full house.

Learn to properly evaluate the relative strength of your hands based on the board texture, the opponent's range and the previous action.

Bet sizing tells

Beginners tend to bet huge with strong hands and weakly with medium hands. This is like shouting out loud to your opponent what kind of hand you have!

Especially on the river, many players can only raise with nuts, causing opponents to easily fold.

In reality, especially at lower stakes, players with obvious bet sizing tells may still win, as their opponents often not pay attention and continue to call with weaker hands.

However, as opponents become more skilled, this tendency becomes more obvious. While it may be possible to win in softer games, smarter players are more likely to fold easily at higher stakes.

To avoid giving out tells and revealing the strength of your hand, mix your bet sizes with different hands.


Poker is a game of luck and skill. Even with skill alone, you cannot consistently win in the short run. There will be many times when you continue to lose despite having the skill to win, due to bad luck.

Have you ever lost repeatedly and then played poorly out of frustration?

The only way to win at poker is to consistently make plays with the highest expected value (EV).

Luck is something beyond our control. It's not wise to gamble with low probabilities, when you do know it's not an optimal play.

If you feel like you're tilting even slightly, it's necessary to step away from the table and take a break.

Poker is not inherently fair. Even in cash games, where skill should theoretically prevail, it's common to see losses after playing 50,000 hands due to bad luck.

Enjoy poker as a form of gambling and continue playing responsibly.

How to Deal with Mistakes

The primary way to win at poker is to minimize mistakes. By doing that, you can then capitalize on your opponent's mistakes to increase your chances of winning.

Now I'll introduce strategies for dealing with the four mistakes mentioned above:

  1. Limping into pots
  2. Inability to evaluate relative hand strength
  3. Incorrect bet sizing
  4. Tilting

Enter pots with raises

Against opponents who open-limp, focus on raises with a tighter range than theirs.

Enter pots with raises and strong hands, steal blinds, and build the pot. In other words, be aggressive!

Additionally, against opponents you know are likely to make significant postflop mistakes, widening your ranges can be really effective.

Against calling stations extract more thick and thin value with good and mediocre hands. And against overfolding players (aka nits), aggressively raise or bet to steal more dead pots.

When facing limpers, raise 4 bb, isolate and punish them postflop in position!

Extract more value

Take more value against opponents who cannot properly assessing the strengtn of their hands, especially from those who can't fold overpairs.

If you read a strong hand like AA or KK based on your opponent's preflop actions, and you've made an even stronger hand (like two pairs+), be aggressive with your betting and raising to build a large pot.

Many beginners become too sticky to their premium hands like AA or KK. After waiting so long for these hands, they find it difficult to fold them. It's advisable to make larger-than-normal bets or raises to extract maximum value.

Learn how to fold

It is a good idea to fold when your opponent suddenly makes a strong bet or raise on the later streets.

A strong bet or raise on the turn or river is often more reliable than ones made on the flop. Many players are hesitant to make big bluffs on later streets due to the higher cost.

Be especially cautious when facing a raise on the river. It's usually a value bet, so even if you have two pairs, it's often a good idea to just fold.

By folding appropriately, you prevent your opponents from winning the amount they would typically get from an average player, giving you an edge in the game.

Final thoughts

Although the rules of poker are simple, it is impossible to understand everything about poker in a lifetime.

Your opponents are humans, and the correct answer changes all the time. However, poker is also a game of how to avoid mistakes. By minimizing your own mistakes and attacking your opponent's mistakes when you spot them, you will be able to win more!

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