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Winning the Battle of Mistakes in Hold ‘Em

Poker is essentially all about mistakes. If you succeed in inducing mistakes from your opponents, and in avoiding mistakes of your own, you will win.

Gains and losses from mistakes don't occur immediately. You may make a bad mistake and still win a hand. But in the long run, luck evens out and the only thing distinguishing players is the accuracy of their decisions. You win money by making small and few mistakes while your opponents make big and frequent mistakes.
 
To become a great poker player, you must make correct decisions and minimize your mistakes. The purpose of this article is to highlight some basic mistakes players make in order to help you avoid making them.

Avoid playing too many starting hands. Keeping your game relatively tight will improve your chances of getting your chips in with a winning hand. There are times when loosening up is called for (if your table is playing very tight), but generally this mistake will cost you chips. If you get bored folding frequently, try concentrating on profiling your opponents or, when playing online at PokerStars or Everest, you can play multiple tables simultaneously.

Avoid drawing without the proper odds. One of the most serious mistakes is to make a bet or call which is not correct given the pot odds available to you, such as calling big bets with third-rate draws to straights or flushes.  In such cases, you either haven't made the right deductions about your opponent's cards or you've ignored the pot odds entirely.

Avoid being overly passive. Don't give free or cheap cards because you're scared to bet. Even if you are uncertain whether or not you're in the lead, it is often correct to bet anyway. If you are concerned about being outdrawn, then you should be more inclined to bet, not less. On the other hand, try not to bluff too much. In order to persuade your opponents to fold to your bluffs, you should bluff relatively rarely and convincingly.

Don't mistakenly think good hands are invulnerable. Don't give your opponents free or cheap cards unless you're confident you won't be outdrawn. Generally, when you have the best hand, you do not want to give opponents a free card since you are giving them a chance to outdraw you and win the pot. You simply have to be satisfied with what there is in the pot already. On the other hand, when you do not have the best hand, you do want to try to get a free card to get a free shot at winning the pot.

In conclusion, to help you win the battle of mistakes, you must try to avoid getting yourself into difficult situations. At each decision you are faced with, ask yourself if your action will get you into a tricky situation that could give your opponent an opportunity to cause you to make a mistake or will it help you induce your opponents into making a mistake.



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