Top 10 Most shared Beginner No-Limit keep up’em Leaks
In my experience I have seen so many different classes of poker players. You’ve got Loose-Aggressives (LAGs), Tight-Aggressives (TAGs), ineffective-Tights (TAG-Fish), Donkies, Fish… list goes on and on.
Most Fish (also known as a total beginner/n00b) can easily move up to a TAG-Fish (yes I understand that might not be motivational) by plugging their *major* leaks. Once you get to this “basic stage”… then poker becomes extremely complicate.
Please observe this list is geared towards No-Limit keep up’em although many can be applied to other forms of poker in addition.
1. Play WAY too many hands
This is not a new concept, and everyone screams the same thing. A lot of the issue here is beginners tend to watch poker on TV and try to play the same way they’ve watched. The issue here is that for one, you are watching some of the top professionals and there is a lot of method to their madness and 2… most of what you see on TV is final table tournament poker – when you only have a small stack, it makes sense to be going all-in, all the time. This is not how we play thorough-stacked cash games.
2. Defend blinds too liberally
The small blind and big blind are the worst locaiongs post-flop. It is difficult to get people to fold out of position and it is already harder to get paid already when you do hit a big hand. It is simply not worth defending/playing out of the blinds unless you have a strong hand, or a strong read on your opponents. Especially for beginners – it’s a very safe bet to limit the amount of hands you play out of position.
3. Limping in Preflop (just calling the Big Blind)
This is a play you should almost never do unless you are a very progressive player and it is apart of your “balancing act”. Limping in is very ineffective and can easily be exploited by an observant opponent. Additionally, you give others the opportunities to take the betting rule – and those who are most aggressive are going to win more frequently. Bottom line – if you’re going to go into a pot, open it up with a raise.
4. Not playing aggressively enough in position.
When you are in the cut-off (seat to the right of the dealer button) and on the button, you are in position to the other players at the table. These are the locaiongs you’ll win most of your money in. Being in position is very advantageous as everyone involved in the hand will have to act before you by-out the hand. This concept is the reason why a casino has an edge over a player in BlackJack – players will bust out all the time because they cannot see what the dealer has. They have to guess what the dealer has. Apply this concept to poker and you will win more money!
5. Calling bets with drawing hands instead of betting
When you have a flush draw or straight draw, or any draw for that matter – you’ll generally be behind a player who is betting into you. When you call your opponents bets, you are hoping that you will hit your draw. The problem with calling is that you will not hit your draw often enough to make your call profitable – in the long run, you will lose more money calling and missing than calling and hitting. This is why it is important in many situations to bet your draws instead of calling. When you bet your draw, you can get better hands to fold and give yourself two ways to win instead of one.
6. Thinking hands are better just because they are suited.
Just because your hand is suited does not make it good – chances of hitting flushes are very low (in the 1% range). In general, you’ll want to play hands that can make both straights, flushes, straight flushes, and big pairs. When you play a hand like 9d 5d you can really only hit a flush to make a big hand, you can’t really make a straight and you can’t really make a big pair. Just throw these trashy hands away and wait for a suitor connector which has way more value.
7. Not paying attention to your opponents
If you are just playing your cards – you will inevitably lose your money. Poker is a negative-sum game; meaning there are more losers than winners. This is because the casino takes rake from every pot – the casino ALWAYS wins. Since everyone gets the exact same amount of luck in the long run, you’ll need to use other methods to ensure you stay ahead. We do this chiefly by paying close attention to our opponents tendencies. If you are playing against a player who calls down with really ineffective hands, make sure not to bluff this player. If you are playing against a player who folds all his hands except monsters, be sure to bluff this player a lot. Most players fall somewhere in between the extremes, so it’s important you pay close attention to their betting/calling/raising frequencies.
8. Playing under the influence of x
This doesn’t just average alcohol, drugs or any substance – just being distracted/influenced by a TV in the background when playing online, or focusing on the really cute waitresses who is running around the casino – these factors will reduce your concentration and in turn will affect your play at the table. Poker is a very complicated, strategic game that requires tremendous amounts of brain strength – ensure your brain is fully focused at all times.
9. Thinking that you know how to play poker
Poker is an easy game to play. The rules are simple. It is very misleading in that you can play amazingly and regularly lose – and likewise play horribly and seem to always win. Those in the latter category tend to overestimate their own abilities while the former tend to underestimate. Underestimation can be good – it forces you to think, estimate, study and apply our thinking. Overestimation will get you into a whole lot of trouble – kind of a smoke screen that doesn’t clear up until you’ve lost all your winnings and likely more. If you ask any real specialized poker player – they will all tell you that they have a lot to learn. Poker is a game that cannot be mastered – no matter how hard you try. It is so dynamic because the variables are people. You can reads dozens of books and nevertheless not know as much as many players do. Don’t ever trick yourself into thinking you’re good because you’ve booked a few winning sessions.
10. Not having a good RakeBack or Bonus Plan at the Casino (both online & brick and mortar)
Rakeback can save your bankroll when times are bad, and pad your bankroll considerably when times are good. RakeBack is very similar to getting paid a salary to play poker – the higher the stakes, the higher the rakeback. If you do not have a deal like this, you are throwing tons of money away.