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Five Mistakes Amateurs Make at the Poker Tables Part 2

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 final three entries in this series:

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

After reading a few books, discussing strategies with solid players, and learning the ins and outs of the game a lot of players forget that one of their best poker tools are their instincts. While you may hear poker players talking about ignoring your emotions and not playing “from the gut”, as you play thousands of hands you’ll also learn that those alarm bells that go off in your head, or that sudden pause you take while the words “that was weird” scroll through your head, are very important to being a winning player.

Amateur players tend to play completely by the book and disregard the information that their brain is trying to feed them.

Overestimating their skill/Underestimating their opponents’ skill

The final mistake that many amateur players make is to underestimate their opponents and overestimate their own abilities. Often time’s new players look at any play they deem unorthodox as a “bad” play, but depending on the person who made the play it could very well have been an expert play, based on all the factors of the situation.

I used to play cards with a player who assumed everyone was bad until proven otherwise, because, as he said, most players are bad. But my contention was that being wrong in these situations is far more costly than someone who assumes everyone is competent until proven otherwise. By overestimating your opponents’ skill you may miss a value bet, but by underestimating your opponents you could lose your entire stack.

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