The top 5 amateur poker mistakes to avoid at all cost
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If you're starting out in the game of poker, you should know that there's more to it than simply knowing the rules.
Once you've got the basics down and you're sitting at a table with the big boys, don't blow it all by making a classic amateur mistake that's sure to give you away as a beginner.
Mistake #1: Ignorance
First and foremost is sheer ignorance. Nothing is more likely to show you up as an amateur poker player than not knowing exactly how the game works.
It's normal for a beginner to be nervous, but don't get caught out confusing the flop with the river, saying fold when you mean check, or forgetting to put in a blind bet before play.
Not knowing when to play or forgetting the value of the chips not only looks amateur, but it wastes time and is likely to get the other players' backs up.
This mistake is pretty easy to avoid if you start out playing poker online under the cover of anonymity.
Mistake #2: Overplaying
There's always a loser at the poker table, and the amateur mistake is not knowing when the loser is you and it's time to call it a day.
One of the worst mistakes beginners can make is thinking that you have to play every single hand. You might want to stay in the game to complete a certain hand, but novices are often guilty of totally overvaluing the value and chances of completing it.
To a novice, any hand with a Jack, Queen, King or Ace in it looks like a winner but in reality two numerically lower but connected or suited cards could have a much greater chance of winning.
Playing high in the hope of getting that one card when there are only four of them in the deck can cost newcomers dearly.
Mistake #3: Underplaying
Underplay can be just as bad as overplay.
Your first few times at the table are bound to be nerve-racking but you won't get anywhere if you fold any hand you don't think is totally unbeatable.
Remember: just because other, more experienced players at the table are playing aggressively and betting high, they don't necessarily have a strong hand but may simply be bluffing. Make no such assumptions in poker and don't let it dictate your play.
The only way to stop being an amateur poker player is to play poker and take advantage of small windows of opportunity to win.
Mistake #4: Breaking bank
When you're starting out in poker, you might have visions of yourself as an up-and-coming Daniel Negreanu or Vanessa Selbst, but one of the biggest blunders a beginner can make is getting carried away and losing every penny they have.
To avoid breaking the bank, make sure you establish your bankroll before play and, most importantly, stick to it.
This is an especially large pitfall for amateurs to the online poker world, where bankroll management can go out of the window when you have unlimited electronic access to all your money.
Part of this is the misbelief that luck will always turn back in your favour: a couple of bad hands won't necessarily be followed by a great one, so don't bet all your remaining fortune on it in the hope of recovering lost debt.
Mistake #5: Giving too much away
The art of good poker is to keep your cards close to your chest and give nothing away, unless you're laying a false trail of course.
Amateur poker players often forget this and, having played a hand to their advantage, proceed to celebrate or rub it in their opponents' faces. This is error number 5.
So, to avoid this classic pitfall, make sure to keep a low profile at the table and never reveal your disappointment or delight at the hand gone by.
Even the experts mess up sometimes and make a game-breaking gaffe. The difference is that they're usually playing in the millions. Check out our top 10 worst players and you won't feel so bad about your losses.