5 Mistakes to Avoid to be Successful at Online Poker

Playing online poker for the first time can be an exhilarating experience, but it also often comes with those first hand jitters that can get in the way of playing your best. While learning the rules of most poker games typically only takes a few moments, understanding how to triumph over your opponents is a bit more complicated.

Basic strategy starts with an understanding of what not to do at the tables, so we've listed the top five mistakes that new online poker players make to help you feel that much more comfortable once you sign-up to and take advantage of your Free £20 bonus.

Mistake #1: You Play Way Too Many Hands

Novice players tend to want to play every hand and call every bet, simply because it's more entertaining to be in on the action than to watch from the sidelines. While it's true that you have to be in it to win it, you'll find that if you're playing the majority of your hands your chip stack will start to dwindle very quickly. When it comes to starting hands, your best bet is to stick to premium holdings (especially if you are in early position) until you get a better feel for how the game is played.

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Mistake #2: You Get Married to Your Hands

Being dealt a big pocket pair can immediately get the blood pumping, and for good reason. Premium pocket pairs can be big money makers, but they can also be the kiss of death if you never consider folding. Remember that your hand has to hold up after all the cards are dealt and the betting is complete, so don't get too excited about your holding, no matter how pretty it looks at the start of the hand. Simply put: everything is situational in poker, so you'll need to keep your options open as the hands progress...and remember that folding is sometimes the right move.

The same goes for undervaluing hands as well; a nice suited connector can have a ton of value if you hit your hand under the right circumstances, so make sure to evaluate the situation and determine if it's worth playing. Drawing hands that are well disguised preflop can turn out to be very profitable, especially against an opponent who can't fold their big pocket pair.

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Mistake #3: You're Too Emotional

Like any competitive sport, poker can be an emotional endeavor that can test your limits when it comes to keeping your cool under pressure. While winning pots is undoubtedly your ultimate goal, losing them is an inherent and unavoidable part of playing the game. However, it's how you deal with these inevitable losses that can determine if you're a winning or losing player in the long run.

When a poker player lets their emotions get the best of them, they go on 'tilt', which is a four letter word in poker, as tilting out can lead to further losses. The game can bring out a full range of emotions and you need be a master of control in order to become successful.

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Mistake #4: You Don't Manage Your Bankroll

The great thing about playing online poker is that there are games for every sized bankroll, but too many amateur players don't understand how to use this variety to their advantage. Because it's unlikely that you have unlimited funds to use for the game, you should be mindful of your personal financial limitations.

Putting your whole roll on the table at once could end in disaster if a single hand goes wrong, but buying in with just a fraction of your allotted cash will allow you to ride out the inevitable variance, not to mention make each hand less stressful. Proper bankroll management makes poker a more fun and rewarding experience, and ensures that you can stay in action for longer rather than be left wondering where it all went wrong.

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Mistake #5: You Have No Clue How to Size Your Bets

Bet sizing is tricky, and it's not something you'll learn overnight. Like most dynamics of poker, this will come with experience but there are some basics you can keep in mind that will prevent you from making insane bets that will surely get you in trouble.

It's almost never correct to dramatically under bet the pot, while severely over betting the pot is also usually a big mistake. Either one of these errors will not only alert everyone at the table to your amateur status, but will also dramatically affect your results in a negative way. Learning how to size your bets is extremely important, and should be an immediate goal of any new player.

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If you are able to identify more than a couple of these as leaks in your game, you are likely a new player (or a stubborn old timer) who needs to fine tune their skills if you want to have a chance of turning a profit in the long run. Keeping these mistakes in mind - and out of your repertoire - will not only help you increase your edge, but will make poker that much more of an enjoyable experience. For tips on how to develop your game even further, sign up for Poker School Online to take the first step towards raking your first pot. You'll also be able to take advantage of the Scratch & Match cards to win great poker prizes.