Playing Holdem Online and Common Beginner Mistakes

"poker aces"

Yes, a great keeper hand.

Here are some common mistakes that players make when engaging in online poker play. They actually apply to those times when you’re sitting at a real green felt table. After all being a calling station, bluffing and chatting are all dangerous activities when it comes to preserving and expanding your chip stack.

Going in on Too Many Hands

Many beginning players think they aren’t playing poker unless they are in the hand. Of course this isn’t true. Often players are doing more when they are out of a hand. They’re observing other players, practicing good money management and conserving their funds for when they have strong cards and can really use them.

When playing Texas Holdem, those who tend to do well see the flop somewhere between 20% and 30% of the time. They do so holding quality cards or middling cards after a majority of the players fold or in playing the power inherent in the late position.

"Texas holdem bad hole cards"

Don't play these hole cards

No, you don’t have to have a high pair to see the flop. But you do need something that will give you some power over the course of the hand. That can be a tall chip stack, a late position that gives you an edge in the betting or two suited face cards.

Bluffing or Playing too Aggressively

Although these two behaviors are related, they are not the same thing. Bluffing is basically pushing the bet up with higher and higher raises in an attempt to create the illusion that you’re holding a quality hand when you have garbage. This tends to backfire in Texas Holdem since there are so many community cards in play that an astute player can usually figure out if you have them beat. There are times when you can get away with a bluff in Holdem, but this tends to be when you’re playing from a play position and everyone else has checked.

"bad flop"

Do you really want to bluff on a bad flop?

Playing too aggressively is a bit different. Usually the over aggressive player is holding something decent, such as a medium pair, and they decide to raise too much too early, only to see someone overtake them on the flop or turn. Over aggressive play can knock you out of a game very quickly.

Poor Chip Management

Poor chip management is related to over aggressive play, bluffing, playing weak to medium pairs to the hilt and seeing too many flops, but it is more a function of mathematics than anything else.

One reason for poor management is that when you play online the chips and the money don’t seem as real as when you play at a casino. That’s because you never really feel the chips when you’re in cyberspace and when you purchase chips it all happens electronically. Sure you’re playing for money but you never really see it.

Don’t waste your chips on long shots. Play high percentage hands. Be wary of going all in. You may have two kings when someone challenges you but if they have an ace and a king, there’s a chance they’re going to beat you by the time the river comes around.


Are you here to play poker or chat? Chat can be distracting, taking you away from the game that is ongoing. Stay away from chat. If you want to chat then participate in a play money game where nothing is at stake.

You’re Always Learning

With any type of competitive game, you should always be learning. Although you’ll make mistakes when you first start playing online poker if you assess and learn from them, you’ll be on your way playing like a pro.

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