Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Online Poker

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People playing poker. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

It’s important to avoid making rookie mistakes when you first play online poker, and in this blog, I will discuss six examples that will help you not fall into the obvious traps that many new players do.

1. Don’t Be a Calling Station

Calling Station is the kind expression for a poker fish.  Poker fish are what the good players feed off.  Like a fisherman, they will always go looking for that extra card to improve their hands on all streets despite often not getting the correct pot odds.

This emanates from an unwillingness to fold but knowing when to fold is the prerequisite grounding of becoming a good poker player

How to avoid being a calling station? Learn pot odds and get into the habit of rarely flat calling. 

Calling usually creates dead money in the pot and for that reason folding or raising are nearly always the optimum play.

Remember, if you raise a pot, your opponents may fold their hands regardless of your cards.

2. Pay Attention!

Not paying attention is a huge flaw and will be soon apparent to your opponents.

To avoid this, try and take the same time over every action.  If you’re acting too quickly, it insinuates you’re clicking the buttons in a pre-determined fashion.

Likewise, if you let your timebank run down on every occasion, this connotates to your opponents that your distracted doing something else.

How to avoid not paying attention?

The truth is, if you’re paying attention, opponents with these tells will quickly become apparent to you.  This will enable you to exploit them by making them fold their hands easier than they should.

3. Playing Too High!

Playing too high, means you’ve chosen to play in a game of online poker that is too high for your current standard of play. 

How to avoid this common mistake?

Play at a level easily compatible with your expendable income. Never buy in too high in stakes as those players will be more experienced and comfortable at that level.

If you are totally new to online poker, there are Free tables with play money to use for cash games while sportsbooks like BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) will always have freerolls available to learn the game.

Once you feel comfortable at the level you’re playing at, it’s okay to take shots at the next level.  Like all walks of life, we have to prove ourselves at a certain level to allow promotion to be a smooth process.

4. Respect Position!

Never underrate the ‘power of position’ in a game of online poker. As you learn poker it will become apparent that position is one of the most fundamental parts of the game to understand.

Invariably, position will dictate your action in a particular hand and also connotates the strength of your hand to your opponents.  Until you become a more advanced player, experienced in the nuances of poker, be sure to play a tight range of starting hands in early position.

This is crucial because your competitors will respect the strength of your hand and formulate a plan accordingly.  

Obviously when you become more advanced you will learn advanced techniques to combat being predictable.

For this reason, if entering a hand, come in raising the action. Anything else will allow your opponents to pressurize you when they have position.

Equally, once you respect the power of position, you will learn to exploit that power, to keep manipulating your chip stack growth during a game of online poker.

5. Don’t Bluff Too Much!

Bluffing in poker is an art form, do it too much and you will become exploitable by opponents who take notes on your actions and bet sizes.

The key is to build an image that will allow you the option to bluff. This can be done, using the process we’ve discussed such as a tight starting range of hands in early position.

6. Don’t Just Trust Your Memory. Make Notes!

I mentioned how your competitors will make notes on you, we need to return the favour by keeping a record of our opponents’ style of play, and any flaws we’ve exploited in the past.

We all think, we will remember, but trust me, there’s so many players playing Online Poker, you will be pleased you kept notes, allowing you to have a general read on how they play when you bump into them in future games of online poker.

Final Thoughts

Online poker is a constant learning curve no matter what level you play. There will be times you make bad plays that cost you and on occasion you will get lucky.

Either way, only play when you feel 100% concentrated and this will allow you to focus completely which in turn means to play optimally.  

Enjoy the Ride!

Enjoying the ride is the secret of improving your online poker game and rookie mistakes will soon be a thing of the past.