The Top 5 Poker Mistakes You’ll Make

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When you start playing poker, your first instinct will be to jump right in headfirst. Naturally, you won’t think things through such as the rules of the game, but what you need to realize as a beginner is that every single mistake that you make is going to cost you money.

No matter what you do, you’re bound to make mistakes and lose money, which is fine. But when you start out, your goal should be to minimize your losses. With that being said, let’s take a look at the most common mistakes you are going to make.

Mistake #1: Rules are important

This is probably the most common mistake you can make. If you don’t take the time to learn the rules of the game, you’ll have no clue as to what you are doing. And worst of all, you’ll probably even hold the game up.

Before you start playing, make sure to read all the rules of the game. Be thorough and really try to understand every aspect of the game. If you need to read it more than once, don’t worry as it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

Mistake #2: Don’t play at high stake tables

Now that you are ready to play poker, you have to pick a table to sit at. If you don’t have a large bankroll (total amount of cash you have to play with), you might want to play at a table that has a cheap small and big blind (the minimum amount of cash you have to put in to participate in each round).

Starting off small is also a smart idea because you’ll have better odds of winning money than if you play at a table with higher stakes. For example, you do not want to start off at a table with a $50 big blind and a $25 small blind because more experienced players usually play at those tables.

Mistake #3: Don’t play too many hands

You’ll naturally want to play every single hand or at least most of them. You need to understand the importance of having a good starting hand, as you don’t want to go forward with a terrible starting hand. Although you are only holding 2 random cards and there are still 5 more cards to be placed on the board, the 2 cards you hold are really important. You can’t just count on the 5 cards on the board to make your hand.

You have to get good at understanding the difference between good starting hands and bad starting hands. If you do not have a good starting hand, you shouldn’t move forward because it will just deplete your chip stack (your cash… aka bankroll).

Mistake #4: Alcohol isn’t always a good thing

When you are at a casino, pretty cocktail servers who are wearing little to no clothing will come by asking you if want anything to drink. It will be tempting to say “yes” because they are hot and the drinks are free, but you should say “no”. The only time you should say yes is if you aren’t ordering an alcoholic drink. Alcohol will affect your brain, which in turn will affect your game, and sadly it won’t be in a good way!

If you aren’t an experienced poker player it’s that much more important for you to be on top of your game. You can’t be on top of your game when your mind isn’t clear and is clouded from the alcohol that’s running through your bloodstream.

Also, if your opponents see you drinking alcohol, even if you’re not hammered, they are going to take advantage of you. In the end, the only time alcohol is good in poker, is when your opponent is the one drinking it.

Mistake #5: Emotions and poker don’t mix

When you are at the poker table, it is important to make sure that you have your emotions in check at all times throughout the game. Regardless of whether you are winning or losing, it is important to do so without emotion because you don’t want it to affect you and how you act when you are losing versus winning.

Lastly, don’t let your opponents get under your skin. In most cases your opponents will be nice, but sometimes you’ll run into a rude one that’ll try to make you all emotional. You’ll have to learn to shut them out of your head… let their words go into one ear and out the other. Remember, emotions and logic don’t mix.


In an ideal world, it would be great if you could understand these mistakes and never make them before you started playing poker. But sadly, it’s human nature to learn from our mistakes over learning from other people’s mistakes.

Each mistake that you make at the poker table is going to cost you money. So try and avoid as many mistakes as possible.

What other mistakes do you think poker newbie’s need to avoid?

31 thoughts on “The Top 5 Poker Mistakes You’ll Make”

    1. LOL, you are good. You used to run a poker room out of your old place.

      By the way, I love how you calculate your odds… it’s easy enough for a beginner to understand how to quickly know your chances of winning.

  1. Thinking text book poker always wins…

    Just because you can count outs doesn’t mean you can read the person sitting across from you. It doesn’t matter if hand odds or pot odds dictate they “should have folded” – the cards play. You’re gonna have bad beats and whining about getting beat by an “amateur” just means you are the amateur.

  2. I hear some players are taking beta blockers to slow their heart rates and give them an appearance of great calm while under pressure. It’s sorta the opposite of the athlete that takes steroids to get amped/pumped up. Not quite cheating, but risky business, and not a good long term strategy imo.

  3. I didn’t know you were into poker Neil. You should totally hold a home game at your place. I’ll definitely come support and play.

  4. Learning etiquette is important as well. You won’t always see the rules of etiquette in a rule book. For example, one of the most repeated mistakes by new players (and often experienced players) is to complain out loud about how they folded X hand and would have won! That gives information to the other players and could screw up the hand. Another is folding or betting out of hand.

    Some of these items are considered rules at some poker houses but might just be considered good etiquette and not really enforced at others.

    1. I am with you on the etiquette. There have played poker way to many times with opponents who don’t have good etiquette. And these aren’t even newbie players, which is the sad part.

    1. Yea every once in a while you can try something out of the ordinary and get lucky, but for the most part playing by the book and gut feeling will get you much further.

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