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1. Don’t Play Too Many Hands

A very common mistake that amateur players make is not being selective enough with their starting hands. Don’t fall into the common trap of thinking that any hand can win. Although this is true, some hands are more likely to win than others and will help you win more money, whilst others will help you in losing more money. So be very selective about which hands you play.

2. Don’t Bluff Too Much

Another common misconception about poker is that you need to bluff to win. You may see spectacular bluffs on the WSOP shows, but these are edited to show the highlights of the tournaments and so give the wrong impression of the frequency that top players bluff. If you are an online poker beginner, it is better to play your cards well rather than trying to bluff your opponents out of hands. It is good to try occasional bluffs here and there, but the real art of knowing when to bluff comes from experience and practice.

3. Think About Your Opponents Cards

It is vitally important in poker to think about the strength of your opponents hand, and not just your own. It is nice to have a big hand, but if you think that your opponent has a better hand than you, you should prepare to fold. For example a straight is a decent hand, but if there are four cards of the same suit on the board and your opponent pushes all in, do you still think you have the best hand?

4. Play Against Inexperience Players

This may seem obvious, but you will be amazed at the number of players that go against this simple principle. If you are better than the players that you are playing against, it makes sense that you will be a winner in the long run. If you were the 7th best player in the world, it would not be profitable to sit at a table with the top 6 players in the world. So choose your games and limits carefully.

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5. Think About Your Position

Position is a very important factor in poker, especially in texas holdem. The best positions to be in are when you are last to act on the hand, for example, when you are on the button. This means that you gain knowledge about what kind of hand they may have before the action gets to you. Having good position in a hand can easily turn a bad hand into a winning one.

6. Pay Attention To The Game

The best way to pick up tells is to watch your opponents and how they play in each pot. Even when you are not in the hand, you should still concentrate on the game to understand how your opponents play. Hopefully you will see what moves the players make when they don’t have the best hand, and what moves they make when they do have the best hand. The more information you can get from your opponents, the better the opportunity you will have to defeat them.

7. Don’t Jump In At The High Limits

There are two reasons why you shouldn’t play for too much money as a beginner. Firstly, the players at the higher limits will be better than the players at the lower limits. There is less chance that you will be able to beat them and you will spend a lot of money trying to learn the game in the process. Secondly, you only want to play at limits you can afford. You should not play at limits where you are going to drop money that you cannot afford to lose. See the bankroll management article for more information.

8. Don’t Pay Too Much For Draws

You will often find yourself holding half a hand that only needs one card to complete your flush or your straight. As a general rule, if you opponent is betting heavily, it is unlikely to be profitable to chase after these draws. However, if there is only a small amount of betting it may be smart to call in the hope of making your hand. If the amount your opponent bets seems too big to warrant a call to make your hand, then don’t. You can find detailed information on how much you should call for draws in the pot odds strategy guide.

9. Suited Cards Aren’t That Great

The ultimate beginner mistake (that even some intermediate players make) is over-valuing suited cards. Flushes are not as common as you think, and if you limp in with your twosmall suited cards, there is the chance that you will lose all your money to a higher flush if the flush does come. Just because your cards are of the same suit, it only improves that hand by 2% compared to if your hand was not suited. This marginal improvement is too small to warrant calling pre-flop raises, so learn to fold the small suited cards. You will be saving yourself some money in the long run.

10. Don’t Play When You’re Emotionally Distraught

When you play poker, you shouldn’t do it to escape from being depressed or having a really bad day. You start out on tilt — playing emotionally, not rationally — and you won’t play your best. Likewise, if during a poker game, you lose a big hand or get sucked out on and feel yourself going on tilt, stand up and take a break until you feel calm later on. Fellow players will sense your mood and take advantage of it.

11. Don’t Play Intoxicated

You may have witness or know someone and watched them get heavily drunk and throw awaytheir entire stack of chips. Were you ever that person? If you’re just playing with family and friends for low stakes, then, it’s more about the fun than the poker. Otherwise if you’re in a casino, watch the alcohol. The fact is, while you may be more relaxed after 2 drinks, it may lead to you playing looser and less sharply, even if one’s not drunk.

12. Know The Rules

As obvious as it seems, there is no substitute for knowing the rules of the game. You don’t want to find yourself calling a player all in, thinking that your straight beats his flush and losing all of your chips. There is no way you can be a winning poker player if you don’t know the fundamental rules of the game. Furthermore, each card room and casino may have its own unique set of rules that you must abide by, so make sure you familiarise yourself with them before jumping into any game.

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