It amazes me that poker players still have a tough time when playing pre-flop. With all the information on the web (not to mention our Pro Pack of poker flash cards) and the simplicity of playing pre-flop, it should be relatively robotic. This is especially true for tournaments or SNGs, where you’re often faced with only 2 choices: fold or go all in.
Granted, there is some higher spectrum math that’s involved when deciding what to do in a SNG or MTT due to prize structures, but overall, many players are still making the same mistakes over and over. If you feel you may be making some costly, wrong decisions, keep reading to find out what are some of the biggest poker mistakes players make pre-flop.
This is an obvious mistake, yet I still see countless players limping in and then folding to someone’s raise, or even worse, calling and folding on the flop. I truly hope bad players never stop doing this, as it’s been my bread and butter for quite some time. But still, if you’re going to play a hand, just raise it up. But for the most part, if a hand isn’t good to raise, you should just fold.
Calling out of position
This one ties in with limping, as you will see the two mistakes made at the same time in many cases. A player limps in from early position; a middle position player makes a raise, then the limper calls when they are out of position.
If you learn anything in poker, it should be that position is crucial in a hand of poker. Being in position means you will be able to act after your opponent and gather more information. Overall, being in position is much easier than being out.
The art of the 3 bet is tricky and one of the mistakes that can be excused. At least you’re applying aggression and giving yourself more than 1 way to win a hand, but far too often I see players use the 3 bet when it’s blatantly obvious that it shouldn’t be applied.
The best example of this would be when a loose player opens the button and a person 3 bets from the blinds with a weak hand as a bluff. If you were paying attention, you would know this Button is unlikely to fold and your 3 bet is basically worthless.
It’s perfectly fine to 3 bet, and a must if you have a decent hand, but as a bluff against a player who rarely folds, you’re just wasting money. I get it that players want to try and out-play one another, but part of being a skilled player is knowing when to fold, as well. Folding can be a powerful play that saves you money. Money saved is just as good as money won, in my book.
Examine your game and be honest with yourself: do you make many of these same mistakes? If the answer is yes, or even a maybe, you should start to think about ways to change it. But that’s the good news – these mistakes are easily fixed with some minor tweaks and will wind up saving you a ton of money in the long run.