The tricky part about Poker is that you can learn it easily, you will have to work hard to rule the game! You can learn how to play poker within minutes, but when it comes to outperforming in the game, you must flex brain muscles! The complexity level of this skill-based game often unlocks the possibilities of making silly mistakes (which sometimes you can even understand where you went wrong). Preflop plays a very important role in poker. It is the first betting round that takes place before the first three community cards are dealt. At this stage, players bet solely on the strength of their two ‘hole cards’.
In this article, we are going to talk about the common preflop mistakes that players make and lose their chances of winning:
Mistake #1: Limping Without Thinking
There are two types of limping – open limping and over limping. In open limping, the first player enters the pot by limping in (rather than raising or folding). This is a very weak strategy and decreases your chances of winning the pot up to a great extent. It puts the players behind you into a very good spot, lending them an upper edge. It encourages them to call or raise against your weak position. However, you can limp in if you have a strong hand and at least your one fellow opponent has already limped.
Mistake #2: Underestimating Position & Range
The position and range are closely connected. The players who are in a position have a significant advantage over their out of position opponents. A player who is in position can increase the number of hands, while a player with a bad position should limit the number of hands, he/she plays. If you are acting last on every round of betting, you have a positional advantage and make wise decisions based on the ‘information flow’. The concept is very simple – if there are more players to act behind you, your range should be tighter. If there are more players left, it indicates that you are competing against stronger hands.
Mistake #3: Adopting a Passive Playing Strategy Against Raises
To play safe, players sometimes play too passively against opens. Either they just call or 3-bet very rarely. No matter if you want to confuse your rivals or refrain yourself from playing big pots, the decision of not 3-betting your stronger holdings is a big NO. Going for a 3-betting with strong hands can make you garner extra value from your rivals and increase the pot size early. Your 3-betting range commingled with bluffs (provided you are having a good hand) can make it difficult for your opponents to beat you in the game. Whenever 3-betting, always consider factors like position and range. Be apprised of the strength of your opponents’ position and ranges to conclude whether you should go for 3-betting or not.
Mistake #4: Playing Tight in the Big Blind
Big Blind is the most crucial spot and can help you to gain an edge over your rivals. Many players don’t know how to execute the right strategy and make the most out of this position in the preflop. As you are the last to act, you can play loose from this position. Playing loose from the big blind can discourage the opponent from raising hands that would otherwise be profitable. It is a critical element in learning how to play poker.
Mistake #5: Adopting Wrong Button Position Strategy
Every poker player knows that button is a highly valued position in poker. It can help you gain an informational advantage over your opponents and enable you to put pressure on your opponents when it’s your turn to act. Still, there are many players who either raise too many hands or raise very less on the button. Raising too many hands is a false strategy and can impact your winnings. On the other hand, some players raise too little (which is also a bad move). It is imperative to capitalize on the crucial situations that occur during the game to avoid hampering your winning rate.
Mistake #6: Playing Without a Plan
Without a solid preflop strategy or a loosely constructed plan will eliminate your chances of winning. Therefore, the first step to winning poker is to devise a pre-flop strategy beforehand. Before heading into your next game session, find answers to these preflop questions such as – What hands will you raise? With what range of hands will you continue when your opponent raises? How will you respond to 3-bets from each position? Most players don’t have great answers to these questions and end up losing their massive winnings.
Before joining a cash table or entering a tournament, consider all game scenarios and think about potential weaknesses in your pre-flop strategy. Improve your weak areas and compete like a pro at the poker table!