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Five Mistakes Amateurs Make at the Poker Tables Part 1

Have you ever wondered why you play so well online, or dominate your home games, but simply cannot win at the local card-room? Well the answer is probably not a technical flaw in your poker game; far more likely is that you are making the typical mistakes that many amateur poker players when they start playing live poker.

In this series I’ll detail five of the most common mistakes that prevent players from winning at the live poker tables. This advice is geared towards new players, online players making the switch to live poker, and even some longtime live players who still struggle to beat the game.

Here are the first two entries in this series:

Trying to be a thespian

When you watch some of the very best poker players on TV the one thing you’ll notice right away is that they seldom try to “talk” their opponents into making a certain move. Sure, there are some players who can be very manipulative with their table talk, but for the most part the best players have learned that shutting-up is usually the best line to take.

The reason for this is two-fold:

#1 – you really don’t know how your opponent is going to interpret your table talk, so your quest to get your opponent to call may very well cause someone who was going to call to fold!

#2 – Most players simply aren’t good actors, and their opponents can see through the charade.

Because of this the best thing you could do to improve your live results is… NOTHING! By nothing I mean keep your movements as basic as possible and limit your table talk as much as you possibly can.

Not paying attention to their movements

Not only are you likely to be a bad actor at the poker table when it comes to manipulating your opponents, but it’s likely that as an inexperienced player your game is full of physical tells yourself, and your more inexperienced opponents are reading you like a book.

Most of these tells are things you yourself will learn to spot in your opponents as you gain experience, but for many players these tells can stick with them for a very long time, and they may be completely unaware that these are giving off so much information to their more experienced opponents.

This is just another reason why you should remain as still as possible and not try to manipulate your opponents.

Getting caught up in the moment

Another area where an amateur player is likely to run into problems is when they get caught up in the atmosphere at the table and start falling into a monkey-see monkey-do mentality. All too often I have seen knowledgeable, but obviously inexperienced, poker players get caught up in the gambling atmosphere of the table and just spew off two or three buy-ins playing loose and trying to prove their willingness to gamble.

Not trusting their instincts

Overestimating their skill/Underestimating their opponents’ skill

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