Last Updated: May 18, 2021.
Variations in the game of poker have been played for hundreds of years. The origins of the game can be traced back at least as far as the 16th century and there are many that believe a card and dice game traced back to 10th century China has enough similarities to be classed as part of the game’s heritage.
In recent years, poker has become more widely popular due to the advent of online poker sites. Many people who were previously intimidated by the idea of visiting a casino to play, or who may simply not have been aware of the game, are now flocking to sign up for poker sites, attracted by the combination of skill, strategy, and just a little bit of luck.
Note: Please be noted we do not encourage or support online gambling etc, and we don’t own such portals/websites, please follow your local laws and invest at your own risk.
The Advent of Online Play
Playing online has many advantages, particularly for those who are new to the game and want somewhere safe and affordable to learn. Most sites offering poker have free play options for practice and tournaments and cash games with very low buy-ins for those that want to hone their strategy in real money games without risking too much.
There are also challenges to playing online. A large part of poker strategy is learning to read the other players, which is harder when you cannot see their faces or read body language.
However, there are still tells that can be identified online and players can learn a lot about how to face different types of players and alter their own strategy accordingly.
In the past year or so there has been an influx of new poker players venturing online. The knock-on effect of this is that there are also more professional or experienced poker players logging on to try and take advantage of the newbies and win some cash.
Newer online poker players often make the same mistakes and are therefore easy to beat. Learning some of the most common mistakes can help newer players to avoid falling into the trap and being fleeced by more experienced opponents.
1: Playing Too Many Tables
The more tables that are in play, the more chances there are of winning. However, the same can be said for the chances of losing. Many online poker players do play multiple tables at once, reacting to each play instantly and making decisions based on their knowledge of strategy.
For newer players, it pays to concentrate on just one or two tables at a time. Learning how to read other players based on the moves they make rather than physical tells is a huge part of success in online poker.
Paying attention to what every player on each table does is therefore essential, and this cannot be done when trying to play 20 tables at a time.
2: Over-Defending Blinds
In the later stages of a large poker tournament, defending blinds is important. However, the mistake lots of new players make is translating this technique to all stages of all games.
Many new players feel that as they are already in the hand, they should stay in it regardless of the cards they are dealt. Not only does this result in losing money for the hands played and lost; it also tells other players they can probably take the big blind down with any semi-reasonable hand.
A strategy of folding poor big blind hands in the early stages can also send the message that they are a pushover, which can then be useful when they do start to play stronger hands later in the game.
3: Not Understanding Pot Odds and Equity
It can be very tempting when dealt two high cards of the same suit to chase a flush draw or another top-ranking hand, especially if the flop offers something tempting.
One of the biggest mistakes made by rookies is chasing flush draws and other top hands when the odds are against them.
Learning to calculate pot odds takes some time, so try using a poker odds calculator when you’re getting started, this is helpful even for experienced players to know when to play and when to fold.
Equity is calculated based on the number of available outs, while pot odds depend on the amount of money to be won and the bet size of any opponents.
4: Playing Small Pairs Out of Position
The odds of being dealt a pocket pair are one in 16, which means it is often tempting to bet big when one appears, particularly when enduring a run of bad hands. Small pocket pairs are only likely to become winning hands when the player is in a good position.
Players in early position going in big with a pair of fours have a strong chance of being forced to take it to a showdown with little chance of improving their hand.
Low pairs can be strong hands in late position or in the later stages of the game when there are few opponents left but should usually be folded from early positions.
5: Not Controlling Tilt
Tilt is the term used to describe a player who is not thinking clearly and making bad decisions, often due to the pressure of losing or being behind.
Players who learn to recognize when they are tilting can control their play better, usually by taking a break and returning when their minds are feeling clear once more. Chasing a losing streak rarely benefits anyone.