Poker is a game that is easy to learn but challenging to master. Often the ones who seek the answer to the question ‘how to play poker’ enter the poker game with well-thought and in-depth strategies. They get rewarded with easier decisions and a better bottom line. However, the complexity of poker also leads to opportunities for potential mistakes.
Of these, pre-flop poker is the most played and essential street. Often beginners tend to make several pre-flop mistakes consistently. With some simple adjustments, these can get rectified. They are as follows –
Open limping means when a player calls the big blind pre-flop and often the first player to enter the pot. This is not the right strategy for varied reasons. You cannot win the pot pre-flop through open limping. Unlike raise, open limping is a passive action that does not offer immediate opportunity to win the pot. Besides, open limping makes the opposition’s life easier.
- Positional awareness
Players fail to consider the relationship between position and range. Your position in hand should influence the range of hands which you are willing to play. The more players to act behind, the tighter the range. The likelihood of coming up against a steady hand increases the number of players left to act. Also, you are likely to play more hands out of position when the early positions open, making it further difficult for marginal hands.
- Passive action against raises
The other common mistake in pre-flop poker is playing passively against opens by calling and rarely 3-betting, especially in low stake games. It is difficult to digest how frequently players flat opens with strong hands as opposed to 3-betting. This could either be a trap by the opponents or out of fear of playing large pots.
- Playing tight in big blinds
Many players do not call enough in big blinds as opposed to the opens in small blinds. Considering you are the last to act pre-flop, and often offered excellent pot odds to take a flop, you can play looser from big blinds than other positions.
- Overvaluing offsuit broadway hands
Players tend to overvalue weak, offsuit broadway holdings. This is dangerous from middle positions, where players raise before you can expect to have tighter range, and hence, stronger broadway holdings than you. The moment you play too many offsuit broadways, the dealer pushes a chunk of the stack away as a result of having outkicked the top pair.
- Large 3-bets
This problem is prominent in live games where large opening sizes leads to excessive large 3-bets which could get as big as 18-20 BB. Calling in such spots could also be an ego-related problem which happens when a player does not want to get perceived as weak at the table.
- No plan
The moment you ask the question of how to play poker, experts suggest some strategies and plans. You cannot play one without the right strategies. A loosely constructed plan or have no idea of how to do pre-flop at all, could backfire. The best way to win poker is by figuring out the pre-flop strategy ahead of time.