Five Fatal Mistakes slowly killing Your Poker Game

Ever played Mortal Kombat? You probably remember the “Fatality!” sound clip very well. It’s what we think about when some of our poker friends jump into the waters and ignore our advice. They’re bound for a fatality sooner or later, and it’s going to drain not just their cash, but their fun as well. See, poker is difficult to win because there are so many ways to look at the game. You need to think about variance, poker hand selection, early position, late position, expected value, poker outs… we could go on and on. There are whole books devoted just to basic poker strategy, let alone advanced strategy. You could spend a lifetime learning theory and reading great poker tips from sites like and still not be able to take down a pro poker player.

What do they have going on that you don’t? They don’t just settle for reading when they could get out there and do it. That’s the real truth about these players. They’re not just waiting for a miracle or hoping that everything will “just work out”. They’re thinking differently about the game and it definitely shows.

Let’s go into these mistakes, because we want you to improve your game as soon as possible.

1. Not Going Over the History

history poker
Did you hate history class in school? We have bad news for you: poker is a constant example of the past reliving itself over and over again. You’ll go over past hands so many times your eyes will blur. This is expected: if you aren’t studying how you play and your statistics, you’re going to be in for a rough time. The top players are constantly polishing their game, asking for suggestions, talking about how they could make their game better. You need to do these steps if you’re really concerned about playing better over time.

2. Rising to Every Bully Challenge

poker bluff
There will be bluffers at every table. There will also be players that look like bluffers, but are really just slow playing a hand and seeing who they can lure into the pot. The former category is annoying, but the latter category is dangerous. When you get the impression that you’re the smartest player at the table, it might be time to quit while you’re ahead. All it takes is a player using your ego against you, and you’re toast.

3. Terrible, Terrible, Hands (That Aren’t Folded!)

terrible poker hands
We know that you get told to have good hand selection quite often, but why are you ignoring this valuable advice? Yes, it might come to pass that you get 72s in hand and get the perfect four of a kind or full house set up, but how often does that really happen? The odds aren’t in your favor, which is why everyone says that you should fold this terrible hand. Once you stop playing bad hands, you can improve your poker statistics and the amount of big blinds won per hour dramatically.

4. Not Getting Aggressive


If you’re a passive poker player, you’re going to make yourself the biggest poker target on the table. Once people realize that you’re a calling station, they’ll lure you into every pot, challenge you at every turn, and ultimately take your chips. There is a time to fold and avoid the pot, but you will not increase the size of your bankroll just through aimlessly calling.

5. Failure to Estimate Other Hands

Hole cards are powerful; they form part of our basis for making decisions. But the mistake that kills poker players is that they overvalue their hole cards and ignore everyone else’s. If you see a flush draw, for example, do you get wildly excited? We wouldn’t advise you to just fire chips at the pot because you have a flush draw. For one, every other player is watching you. If you make a big raise after the flop comes down in your favor, they’re going to assume that you have something that’s worth playing. This means that you might need to make some preflop raises and then slowly increase until you get the other players committed to that pot. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that other players aren’t looking at the possibility that you really did get the flush.

Overall, these mistakes might not kill your poker game on the first day. But over time? They’re terrible for your long term poker growth, and we recommend removing them as soon as possible. This is also why it’s good to be more than just a theory player. You need to go out there and win pots, lost pots, and learn from your experiences. Only through playing will you truly grow your skills. Go out there and hunt…smart 🙂

April 8, 2016