Online poker is growing in popularity with a wide ranging audience taking part. Whether you play for real money, or just for the fun of taking part, it is very easy to wipe out your bankroll very quickly and have to leave the game before it has really even got started. When this happens, you have probably made one of four key mistakes that most beginners are subject to. If you can avoid these mistakes, you will last longer at the table and learn more about the more complex strategies of the game.
What are the Four Mistakes to Avoid?
Everyone makes mistakes when learning a new game and poker is no different. Practice and time will correct most mistakes. However, to give yourself time to practice there are four mistakes you need to avoid from the very beginning; these are:
- Playing too many hands before the flop
- Not being aggressive enough
- lack of strategy in your table selection
- Failing to understand bankroll management
Believe it or not, the one that will wipe you out the fastest, and be the most devastating is failing to understand bankroll management. Given this, it is this mistake that will be explored in greater detail.
Why is Bankroll Management the Key to Later Success?
Poker is not a game that many people can pick up quickly. It requires time at the tables to learn and to devise strategies. Time at the table requires money. If you do not have the ‘buy-in’ required, you simply can’t join the game.
One easy way to get started is to ensure that you have enough money for 20 buy-ins to begin with. You can do this by taking the maximum amount you have to play with and dividing it by 20. So, if you have a budget of $1000 for your bankroll, then you should be looking at $50 tables.
By doing this you have allowed yourself time to learn the game and devise your strategy. More importantly, you have time to see if that strategy is working, and adjust it if necessary. Once adjusted, you still have money in the bank to play with.
For example, if you lose the first 10 buy-ins in a row, it is safe to say that your strategy isn’t working. You therefore adjust that strategy and apply it during the next 10 buy-ins. This would not have been possible if you had started at tables with buy-ins of even $100. While smaller buy-ins mean smaller financial wins, the knowledge and experience you will gain from this approach is invaluable.
It’s Not Just About Limiting Your Buy-ins
Even if you stick to $50 tables, it is still very easy to lose a great deal of money very quickly if you do not set yourself limits. These limits apply to the amount you set aside for your bankroll. If you constantly make any of the other three mistakes highlighted earlier, you will soon burn through your bankroll. It is very easy to keep thinking, just one more game won’t hurt. You need to be strict about your bankroll limit, and about analyzing where you are going wrong in your strategy. It is recommended that you set a limit of no more than $1000, at least until you are confident that you can spot and avoid the other common mistakes.
Key to recognizing these other mistakes is making sure that you are not playing to many hands before the flop. Boredom tends to be the number one reason why this happens. One of the great things about online poker is that boredom is easily avoided by joining more than one table at any time.
Online poker is one time when focused aggression is actually a good thing, as long as it is focused on the hand you have. One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is not being aggressive enough once they have a good hand. Being forward increases your chances of winning. It can encourage your opponent to fold, therefore giving you the pot, and there is always the chance that your hand is actually the best there anyway. However, if you just sit there and let your opponent run the game, you may never get to find out, until it’s too late.
Game Selection is Just as Important
The need to be aggressive at the table brings us neatly onto game selection. If you want to be able to push the direction of the game, then you need to choose a table where the players are passive. While they are still making this mistake, you can reap the benefits. There are a number of ways to find such tables, including sitting back and watching the play. However, this can be time consuming and cut into your playing, and winning, time.
An alternative is to invest in software that will do the work for you. It will scan the rooms of your chosen site and pick out the passive games for you. This provides you with the best opportunity for making a profit, while still learning and making other, less obvious mistakes.
If using software to find the right tables feels a little too aggressive to you, then another way to cut down the time it takes to find the right tables is to keep a note of other players and their passive / aggressive playing styles. While this will take time to begin with, it means that when you look at who is at a table you already have a note of how they are most likely to play poker online . You can then update your notes as and when their approach changes.
Putting it All Together
If you want to be able to make money from playing online poker, and enjoy your time on the tables then remember these four key mistakes to avoid. Bankroll management will always be the first and most important, because without it you can’t play and learn.
Once you have this straight, and follow the advice on avoiding the other three mistakes you will be able to develop new winning strategies, and play on higher stake tables in no time. Just remember, those on the higher stake tables, those that are winning, have already concurred these mistakes and are aware of the strategies.