Top Common Mistakes To Avoid In Poker

Top 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Poker
Top 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Poker

Whatever game you are playing, be it poker or any other table game, you ideally want to focus on enjoying yourself and getting familiar with the rules.

If your long-term goal is to frequently win money from playing, then you’ll need to spend sufficient time learning the strategy and other aspects of the game. As a learner, though, that’s not something you need to focus on.

However, you still want to improve your chances of winning money where you can or at least ensure that you lose the minimum amount. You should strive to do this from the moment you start playing, even if you’re only really interested in having some fun and not too bothered if you lose some money in the process.

As a freebie poker player, you can do several things to ensure you’re on the right track, many of which we have covered in detail here with our simple tips for poker beginners. There are also some things that you really shouldn’t do.

Commonly Made Mistakes In Poker

Here, we talk about ten of the biggest mistakes that poker beginners make. These are all very common, but they are quite easy to avoid for the most part. If you can avoid all, or at least most, of these when playing your game, you’ll be on the right path to becoming proficient.

You won’t start winning a large sum immediately, but you’ll have some solid foundations to improve your game as you continue to play. You’ll also be ahead of many of the other beginners and even the recreational players you’ll come across at the tables.

Players also read 11 Tips for Online Casino Beginners.

1. Playing Too Many Hands

Playing Too Many Hands
Playing Too Many Hands

This isn’t only one of the most common mistakes beginners make but also one of the easiest to make. Poker can appear to be a little boring if you feel like you’re folding all the time, and it can be very tempting to make a lot of pre-flop calls so that you’re getting involved in the game. The issue with this approach is that you’ll waste a lot of chips when you make those calls and then have to fold anyway when you don’t hit the flop.

It is not like you should only get involved in a pot when you have a very strong starting hand, but you need to be selective about which hands to play. Patience is a very important demeanour to have in poker, and you’ll do much better in the long run if you’re prepared to wait for the right opportunities to bet on.

2. Poor Hand Selection

Hand selection is vital to a successful poker strategy, as it directly impacts a player’s chances of winning. Inexperienced players often make the mistake of playing too many hands, leading to unfavourable situations and unnecessary losses. Another mistake is playing weak or marginal hands that lack the potential for success.

Additionally, many players overlook the significance of position when choosing which hands to play. Ignoring positions can put players at a disadvantage and hinder their decision-making abilities.

By avoiding these mistakes and selecting strong hands based on position and potential, players can greatly enhance their poker gameplay and increase their overall success at the table.

3. Defending Blinds Quite Often

Defending Blinds Quite Often
Defending Blinds Quite Often

It’s very common for new poker players to get involved with pots when it’s their turn to pay the big blind or the small blind. This is for a few valid reasons. Often, it’s because they feel like they have to call a raise simply because they have already put chips into the pot, irrespective of how strong their hand is. Often, it’s their ego at play. They won’t regularly fold their blinds to avoid looking weak to the other players.

Either way, getting involved in a pot just because you don’t want to fold your blinds is a mistake. There are sometimes strategic reasons to play with weaker hands than you normally would from the blinds, but for the most part, you are better off folding if you don’t have the necessary cards to justify getting involved.

4. Ignoring Pot Odds And Implied Odds

Ignoring pot odds and implied odds in poker can harm a player’s success. Understanding pot odds involves calculating the ratio between the current size of the pot and the cost of a contemplated call. Implied odds, on the other hand, factor in potential future bets and their likelihood of winning.

Common mistakes related to these concepts include calling bets without considering proper odds, chasing draws without evaluating the potential payoff, and failing to adjust bet sizing based on the odds.

By disregarding these important factors, players may make poor decisions, waste chips, and miss out on profitable opportunities. Being mindful of pot odds and implied odds is crucial for making informed and strategic choices during gameplay.

5. Overvaluing Hands

Overvaluing Hands
Overvaluing Hands

This is closely linked to the above point, as players tend to play too many hands because they think too highly of hands that aren’t actually that great. It’s particularly common to overvalue a hand simply because it has an ace or any pair.

An ace is a good card, but starting hands such as an ace and a five or an ace and a six are not particularly strong. The same is true for low pairs. This isn’t to say that you should never play such hands, but it’s important to recognize that they aren’t necessarily as strong as you might think.

Overvaluing your hands isn’t just limited to before the flop, either. You shouldn’t assume that you’re in good shape just because you’ve made a pair on the flop, for example, or that you have two pairs after the river. You may be ahead, but you could also be behind.

You probably may not find it easy to make informed decisions about what your opponents might have when you first start playing, but even as a beginner, you should be thinking about this. Before making a raise or calling a bet, just think of what cards your opponents might have that could beat you.

6. Lack Of Position Awareness

Position awareness is a fundamental aspect of successful poker play. Understanding the importance of position allows players to make more informed decisions and gain a strategic advantage over opponents. Common mistakes related to position awareness include playing too many hands out of position, leading to difficult post-flop situations and increased vulnerability.

Additionally, neglecting to utilise position when betting might lead to lost chances to direct the action and gain an advantage. Another error is failing to take opponents’ positions into account while making decisions, which can lead to ignoring important information that can guide the best decisions. By developing great position awareness, players can take advantage of positional advantages and make more advantageous choices during the game.

7. Getting Committed To Pots

Getting Committed to Pots-Common Mistakes to Avoid in Poker
Getting Committed to Pots

Many players make this mistake quite often. They find folding difficult after putting some chips into the pot, even if they believe they are probably beaten. It can be hard to let go of a hand once you’ve invested in it, particularly if it’s good, but sometimes you have to. If you don’t, you will be wasting your good chips on a bad opportunity.

The right way to avoid this mistake is to accept that once you have put your chips into the pot, they are no longer yours. You also need to realize that you aren’t going to win every single pot that you get involved with. If you’ve committed some chips and feel that you’re facing a stronger hand, folding and waiting for another opportunity is the right thing to do.

8. Bluffing Too Much

Bluffing Too Much
Bluffing Too Much

Making a successful bluff is one of the best feelings in poker. It’s more rewarding to think you have beaten someone by outplaying them rather than simply having the best cards. However, many beginners get carried away at the thought of this happening and end up bluffing too often.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to bluff your opponents now and then. Indeed, it should be part of your game strategy. However, it would be best to be careful about how often you do it. There’s always the chance that you’ll be up against someone who actually has a hand they can call you with, and if your opponents suspect that you’re bluffing a lot, they’ll be far more inclined to go up against you.

9. Tilt and Emotional Control

Poker success is greatly impacted by tilt and emotional restraint. An emotional state of annoyance or rage, known as tilt, can impair judgment and result in poor decision-making. Allowing emotions to influence choices is a common error in tilt and emotional control that can lead to rash actions and needless losses.

Another error is chasing losses and playing rashly after a bad beat, which can result in greater financial hardship. Also, skipping breaks or failing to control tension during extended sessions can cause emotional exhaustion and worsen performance. Good emotional control is essential for retaining attention, exercising reason, and maximising poker profits.

10. Overplaying


Many beginners fall into the trap of thinking that they must constantly make advanced moves if they’re going to stand any chance of winning. This is not true. You don’t want to play in a way that your opponents will know exactly what you’re doing and why, but you don’t have to try to play like an expert who is thinking on an entirely different level than your opponents, either. There’s just no point in trying to be clever for the sake of it.

As you gain more experience and learn more about the strategy involved in poker, you might find situations where you need to make some complicated moves.

When you first start playing, you should concentrate on keeping things simple. You can still beat your opponents with straightforward plays, especially at lower stakes.

11. Lack Of Study And Improvement

Continuous learning and improvement are vital for success in poker. The game is ever-evolving, and staying updated with poker strategy and theory is crucial for staying ahead of the competition. Neglecting to invest time in studying poker strategy and theory is a common mistake, leading to stagnant gameplay and missed growth opportunities.

Another mistake is failing to analyze and learn from past hands, hindering the development of critical thinking and decision-making skills. Moreover, not seeking feedback or guidance from more experienced players prevents valuable insights and perspectives from gaining. Embracing a mindset of constant learning and seeking opportunities to improve is essential for long-term success in poker.

12. Being Predictable

Being Predictable
Being Predictable

On the other side of the scale, overplaying is being predictable, and this is something you will want to avoid, too. We’ve just stated that it’s fine to play fairly straightforwardly, but you do need to avoid making your play so predictable that your opponents will be able to take benefit. Even at the low stakes, some players are good at observing and analyzing their opponents’ actions, so you must make it difficult for them to decipher how you play and why you’re making certain moves.

You can disguise your play relatively simply. The same thing can be achieved by occasionally getting involved in pots with hands that are outside your normal starting selection. You need to ensure that you don’t always do the same things in the same way.

13. Getting Emotional

Getting Emotional
Getting Emotional

Playing poker can bring about various emotions, and some of these can hurt the way you play. Anger and frustration, in particular, are dangerous feelings you must avoid as best you can.

Even when you’re just playing for fun and not overly concerned about whether you win or lose, there’ll be times when you get frustrated and upset if things aren’t going your way.

It’s easier said than done, but if you find yourself having those feelings, you need to control your emotions. If you don’t, you’ll likely start making irrational decisions. Once this happens, you’ll be much more likely to lose more money than you otherwise would have.

14. Not Watching Opponents

Not Watching Opponents
Not Watching Opponents

The key to playing good poker is ultimately to make good decisions. This is not particularly easy to do consistently as a beginner, as you don’t know enough about all the strategies involved, but you still want to do your best. It’s important to know that a big part of making good decisions is considering how your opponents have acted and how they are likely to act.

To do this, you’ll need to have some information about how your opponents play, which means you must avoid the classic beginner’s mistake of not paying enough attention to the table. Many beginner players, probably even most, concentrate almost entirely on their cards and actions without watching what their opponents are doing. This means they are simply guessing when they try to determine why an opponent has just made a particular move or when they are trying to predict what an opponent will do next.

As a beginner, you’re unlikely to be able to make extremely accurate reads on your opponents, but you at least want to make sure you have some information to work with. Watching your opponents isn’t difficult and will help improve your game overall. You should watch what they are doing and make mental notes about their respective playing styles.

15. Considering Bad Luck For Losses

Considering Bad Luck for Losses
Considering Bad Luck for Losses

It’s common to assume you’ve been unlucky every time you lose at poker. This is probably not the reality, though. Of course, there will be times when bad luck does cross your path, but there will also be times when you lose because of a mistake or simply because you are playing poorly. If you don’t realize this fact, you’ll probably end up making the same mistakes repeatedly, and you’ll never be able to take your game to the next level.

As a beginner, it’s important not to worry about making mistakes too much. It’s completely natural to get things wrong when you first start playing, and even very experienced players make mistakes now and then.

What you should try to do, though, is learn from those mistakes. Even if you’re playing for fun, you should prioritise improving your game in any way you can. If you are even vaguely serious about trying to make money, you’ll have to apply this approach.

Read also: 7 Ways To Avoid Being Cheated With Marked Cards.


Analyzing where you have gone wrong and what mistakes you have made is one of the best ways to start working on your playing skills, so it’s a habit you should try to develop from the moment you start playing.

Avoiding common mistakes is essential for improving one’s poker game and increasing the chances of success. Recognizing and addressing these pitfalls can elevate gameplay and minimize unnecessary losses. Understanding the importance of hand selection, position awareness, emotional control, and continuous learning are key factors in strategic decision-making and staying ahead of the competition.

By actively avoiding these mistakes and adopting a growth mindset, players can enhance their skills, increase profitability, and become formidable opponents at the poker table.


Why is bankroll management important in poker?

Proper bankroll management ensures players don’t risk more than they can afford to lose. It helps avoid significant losses and allows players to play within their means.

How does playing too many hands affect a player’s game?

Playing too many hands can lead to weaker starting hands and poor decision-making. It increases the chances of getting involved in unfavourable situations and losing chips unnecessarily.

What is the significance of position in poker?

Position determines the order in which players act during a hand. Playing in a later position provides valuable information about opponents’ actions, aiding in better decision-making.

What are pot odds, and why are they relevant in poker?

Pot odds represent the ratio of the current pot size to the cost of a contemplated call. Understanding pot odds helps players determine if a call is profitable in the long run.

Why is paying attention to opponents important in poker?

Observing opponents’ tendencies, betting patterns, and body language can help players make informed decisions. Ignoring opponents’ actions can lead to missed opportunities and misreads.

How does emotional control impact poker performance?

Emotional control prevents players from making impulsive decisions based on frustration or excitement. Keeping emotions in check improves overall decision-making and gameplay.

What is “tilt” in poker, and how can players avoid it?

“Tilt” refers to emotional frustration that negatively impacts decision-making. Players should take breaks, practice relaxation techniques, and maintain a calm mindset to avoid tilt.

Why is bluffing without a clear strategy a mistake in poker?

Bluffing without a solid plan can lead to unnecessary losses. Effective bluffing involves considering opponents’ likely responses and clearly understanding the game flow.

How does neglecting to adjust to opponents’ playstyles affect a player’s success?

Neglecting opponent adjustments can result in missed opportunities to exploit their weaknesses. Adapting to opponents’ tendencies improves a player’s overall performance.

What is the importance of reviewing and learning from past hands?

Reviewing past hands helps players identify mistakes, improve decision-making, and refine their strategies. Learning from mistakes is essential for poker growth.

Can I become a successful poker player by avoiding these common mistakes?

While avoiding common mistakes is crucial, success in poker also requires practice, studying strategy, adapting to different situations, and continuous improvement.

How can I improve my poker skills and avoid these mistakes?

Improving poker skills involves studying strategy materials, practising consistently, reviewing past hands, seeking feedback from experienced players, and staying patient and disciplined.

Is poker primarily a game of skill or luck?

Poker is a combination of skill and luck. While luck plays a role in short-term outcomes, skilful decision-making, strategic thinking, and avoiding mistakes contribute to long-term success.

Are there resources available to help players learn poker strategy?

Yes, numerous books, online articles, videos, and poker communities offer valuable insights into poker strategy and gameplay.

What’s the best way for beginners to approach poker?

Beginners should start with understanding basic poker rules, practising with playing money games, learning hand rankings, and gradually delving into more advanced strategies.

Can I play poker online, and is it safe?

Yes, online poker is widely available on reputable platforms. However, players should choose trustworthy and licensed online poker sites to ensure safety and fairness.

Mamta Sharma

Mamta is a spirited writer hailing from Wellington, bringing a youthful zest to the world of digital content. Merging her love for narrative with an eye for detail, Ella crafts stories that resonate and engage the modern reader.