Top 5 Mistakes All Beginners Still Make In 2024

SplitSuit Poker
01 Apr 2024
01 Apr 2024

Beginners make a lot of mistakes.  Whenever you're new at something, you're going to make a lot of mistakes in the beginning. But it's really important that we can fix some of these things. And while we could spend hours upon hours discussing all of the mistakes that beginners make, it will be more effective to talk about the top 5. You know, just in case you're accidentally doing any of these yourself. So let’s quickly get into it!

Introduction To Beginner Poker Mistakes

Anytime you're a beginner at anything, you're going to make a lot of mistakes. But it's really important to understand what those leaks are, so you can fix them as quickly as possible and get out of a beginner status. 

Mistake #1: Not Using Preflop Ranges

Alright, so let's just get right into it with mistake number one, which is not using any preflop ranges. Of course, nobody started playing poker so that they could spend a bunch of time learning math and trying to memorize different ranges. It turns into a boredom very quickly, and I understand that beginner players did not sign up for this game to do that. 

However, it is extremely helpful and can actually offload a tremendous amount of brainpower preflop. Since if you're not using any preflop ranges, what exactly are you doing? Right, you're just sitting there kind of in the moment trying to feel it out, and what are you feeling it out based upon? Well, you're a beginner player, you don't really 100 percent know. So, spending a little bit of time with preflop ranges can go a long way. And to be honest, your goal is not to sit there and try to memorize hundreds and hundreds of different preflop ranges.

Every single open raising range by position, every 3-betting range by position per position, same thing with 4-bets, nothing like that.

That's far too complex at first. But at least if you can have say 10 preflop ranges memorized, that's going to go a tremendous amount of the way for you, since at least you have a starting point in situations that may be similar to it.

So what I would suggest if you're looking for good preflop ranges is use the GTO Ranges app from Red Chip Poker, pull it up and explore in it. At least memorize say an open raising range from under the gun (UTG), open raising range from the cutoff, open raising range from the small blind, 3-betting range from the cutoff against an under the gun open, button against a hijack open, that sort of thing. Since again, these are fairly representative.

So for an example, if you have the under the gun open raising range memorized, but it turns out you're actually under the gun plus one, well you can look at that and say, okay, I'm probably going to be just a little bit looser than my normal under the gun here, and that is a good starting point. 

You can check the app just to confirm that, but yes, that's exactly the way that you can not only memorize some basic ones, but then actually utilize it in real time. Trust me, this goes a long way. You don't want to just be randomly guessing preflop. That will make your life an absolute living hell.

Mistake #2: Slow Playing Too Often

Alright, so moving on, mistake number two is simply slow playing too often. And for what it's worth, this doesn't just apply preflop, this is also a post flop consideration. 

So, here's the thing. If you're a newer player, chances are you're playing in smaller, easier games, right? You're probably playing the lowest of limits online, or possibly the smallest stakes you have in a local card room, and as such, you're probably not playing nosebleeds, you're probably not playing against the toughest opponents. And as such, slow playing is not something I would definitely suggest, since your opponents are worse and as such will put in more money with worse hands and as such why not just build pots when you have strong hands.

If you're constantly slow playing like every single time preflop, if you're constantly slow playing sets and made flushes post flop, I would highly highly suggest not doing that.

You're leaving massive massive amounts of money on the table simply because you're not building pots fast enough when you have those stronger hands. And yes it sucks when you play it fast and your opponent happens to fold that time, but if they're constantly folding Well, that lets you know maybe there's a possible bluffing opportunity against that person in the future. And if they continue, well, the pot is much, much bigger.

So, while you might not win the huge homerun pot every single time, you at least afford yourself an opportunity to hit that homerun, and I think that's worth a tremendous amount.

Mistake #3: Focusing Solely On Own Hole Cards

Mistake number three that beginners are still making is focusing solely on their own hole cards. So, I understand the complexity in this one. Your hole cards are pretty much the only bit of perfect information you have in the middle of a poker hand. That's great.

Hand reading, putting your opponent on a range of hands properly is challenging and tricky. And as such, I get the willingness or wanting to just focus on your own two cards. However, that is not what poker is. And if your sole consideration, sole, again, it's not that we ignore our whole cards altogether, but if you're only thing you're thinking about in the middle of a hand is what are my two hole cards and how do they interact with the board?

That's very problematic and if you're listening to this and you're like, "I don't really think I fall into making this kind of mistake," Think about the last couple times you described a losing hand to somebody either your wife or somebody else some other poker player think about the way you described it. If you described it solely as, "I had this hand and I had to stack off," or "this happened and I just, I had aces, what could you do?" There's no thought process of SPR, pot odds, of your opponent's range, of the exact texture. That's a telltale sign that you're probably focusing exclusively on your hole cards and really missing a bunch of the bigger picture, which you need to stop immediately.

So while hand reading and range building is definitely a complex skill set, it's one that you need to build. It is simply the lifeblood of making good profitable decisions — both preflop and postflop.

Mistake #4: C-Betting 100% Of The Time

Alright, and moving on to mistake number four, that's simply c-betting 100 percent of the time. And just to make sure we're all on the same page, a c-bet or a continuation bet is simply a flop bet made by the preflop aggressor. 

So if you raise preflop, your opponent calls you, you go to the flop and you bet, whether in position or out of position, that is considered a c-bet.

Now, back in the old days of poker strategy, it was very common to simply raise preflop, your opponent calls, and you c-bet 100 percent of the time simply because your opponents overfold a tremendous amount. But over the years, that advice has definitely started to wane out of favorability, and there are lots and lots of times where you should be checking instead of just firing that c-bet. And if you're constantly firing the c-bet, especially on textures that are just completely horrible for you, especially those messy and connected ones.

Or you have a decent pocket pair and face an overcard on the flop. For instance, you have pocket kings, and the flop comes ace-high. These are prime opportunities to start checking a tremendous amount more. And this isn't to say that you never c-bet those, but if your c-bet frequency is close to 100%, that is where I would definitely make sure to look into this and start fixing this strategic leak, because it's a big one.

Mistake #5: Watching 'Elite' Stuff On YouTube

The fifth mistake that beginner poker players are still making is watching a whole bunch of "elite" content on YouTube. So I want you to take a quick moment and open up your YouTube history. If you're looking through that, seeing a lot of poker videos with titles containing words like "elite," "master," "crush," or "secrets," well, I'd start avoiding a lot of that stuff. Much of it isn't particularly great, and a lot of it is more hype than good value.

And I'm not saying you won't learn anything from it or pick up some tidbits here and there. However, there are no secrets in this game, so please don't fall for that. No, watching one video is not going to turn you into a crusher; that's not going to happen. And if something were truly elite, then you wouldn't need it to get out of beginner status.

To actually upgrade from beginner to intermediate just requires a real strategic foundation: understanding when to do what, why you should be doing it, and how the skills actually get utilized in real time.

That's what you actually need. And if you're still working on building your strategic foundation, I would highly suggest you check out Core from Red Chip Poker if you haven't already. 

Core masterclass includes over 200 lessons, each of them bite-sized so that way you can get in there, study what you need quickly, and get out.

Everything is in order, exactly what you need, no extra fluff in there. Lots of hand history breakdowns, quizzes, badges, achievements, ask questions whenever you need it, and the best part is it's not going to break your bankroll.

If you have any comments or questions on this topic / if you want to see anything covered in more depth later, or you have other mistakes that you would have added to this list, leave a comment down below. It would be massively appreciated, thanks for your attention!

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