Live Poker For Beginners: 3 Common Mistakes To Avoid

Live Poker For Beginners: 3 Common Mistakes To Avoid

You have no idea what you're doing at the poker table, but if you avoid these 3 mistakes your opponents might not realize it

Avoid Table Talk

Listen to Robert DeNiro and always keep your mouth shut at the poker table.  Poker is a game of incomplete information and every word out of your mouth represents a bit of information that you’re voluntarily giving to your opponents.  And since you’re a beginner, your opponents will be much better than you at discerning that information.

Know Basic Poker Lingo

In the event that you decide to ignore the first bit of advice and open your mouth at the table, you want to be sure that you give away as little information as possible. It’s especially important to hide the fact that you’re a beginner.  There are two extremely common poker vocabulary mistakes made by beginners that you’ll want to avoid:

  1. Know the difference between ‘trips’ and a ‘set’
    Both of these words refer to three of a kind, but they differ in one key detail.  Trips refers to when you have three of a kind with two of them on the board and one in your hole cards, for example you have AQ and the board is 25QQ7.  A set is when you have three of a kind with a pair in your hole cards and the third card on the board, for example when you have 22 and the board is 8725K.  If you call trips a set or vice versa, this is an immediate indication that you are a beginner and an experienced opponent will benefit from this knowledge.
  2. Know the difference between a ‘bet’ and a ‘raise’
    This is another very common vocabulary mistake made by beginners.  A ‘bet’ is when you are the first person in the round to risk chips.  A ‘raise’ is when there is already a bet in the round and you want to increase the amount.  It’s quite common for beginners to say ‘I raise’ when they are making a bet.  Dennis Phillips does it here at the WSOP final table:

Never Show Your Cards Unless You Have To

It’s insane that I have to type this advice, but this is a really common beginner mistake.  I shouldn’t have to go into great detail here, as I said before, poker is a game of incomplete information and giving away any information to our opponents, no matter how insignificant, is a huge mistake.  Beginners often voluntarily reveal their hole cards in a number of different situations.

Example 1:

Beginner has AQ and there’s an all-in and a call.  Beginner decides to fold and the board runs out AAQ32.  Beginner gets excited and exclaims, ‘Oh my god I folded Ace-queen, I would have won!!’ It’s a huge mistake to give your opponents information about what kinds of hands you are capable of folding or calling with.

Example 2:

Beginner has QJ off suit and there’s a raise in front.  Everyone else folds and Beginner is last to act.  He folds the QJ and shows it saying, ‘If it was suited I would call you.’

Example 3:

Beginner has KQ of hearts and calls a pre-flop raise.  The flop comes 852 all spades.  Pre-flop raiser bets and beginner folds.  He shows his cards to the table in disgust as if to say, ‘can you believe I didn’t flop anything with this beautiful hand?’

Don’t be the beginner from these examples.  Be the quiet, mysterious player that makes no sound and never shows their cards.  You might not have a clue what you’re doing, but it will take your more experienced opponents longer to figure that out, and they’ll be less likely to take advantage of your lack of experience.

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