Many poker players who are just starting out often make a few basic but very serious errors early on. This can lead to crushing losses and disillusionment causing the novice player to give up playing Texas Hold em. We do not want that to happen to you so we've prepared a beginner's guide with a few valuable tips to help you avoid making the common mistakes that can easily be avoided.
Tip # 1: Do not play too many hands.
When a player first learns to play Texas Hold poker obviously they are enthusiastic and want to play. Unfortunately this translates into an over eagerness to play any hand that looks even half decent. I've seen plenty of novices play any hand with a picture card. There are some occasions where calling with an unsuited Jack-5 or Queen-4 is the right play, but those occasions are quite rare.
Starting hand selection is an important aspect of the game. A novice player playing too loosely will be quickly identified by more experienced players and taken for a ride. Keep your play tight to begin with. If you are unsure of a hand then do not play it. Think about what hands you could potentially make from your starting hand. For example, cards five apart or less can potentially make a straight (eg Queen-8) and so are more worth playing than six or seven apart (eg Queen-7).
Tip # 2: Do not be afraid to fold.
Many mediocre Texas Hold em poker players, especially when they first learn to play, often will not let a bad hand go, whereas a good poker player knows when to fold. If they've invested a lot of chips in a drawing hand that looked good but failed to hit the outs on the turn or river many novice poker players will still call or even raise on the off chance their opponents have nothing either or they can be bluffed into thinking he has hit his outs after all. Usually, but seriously seldom, that is the right play, but you have to be a pretty experienced and positive poker player to know when that occasion is and get away with it.
Instead I recommend for a player learning the game of Texas Holdem poker the best plan, if you miss your outs on the turn and the river or completely miss the flop, is to fold. There's no point in throwing good money after bad. If you had a decent drawing hand, four-to-a-flush or four-to-a-straight for example, but do not hit the final card you need you'll end up with nothing. Most decent poker players will be aware that there is a potential straight or flush on the board. They will also be aware that if when the river comes down and it does not add to the straight or flush they are safe and will probably call your bluff if they have anything themselves.
Do not worry about the money you've put into the pot. It's not your money anymore. If you've invested in a good drawing had that turned sour, just get out. Even if you only have to put in a small amount to call, £ 5 on a £ 100 pot, it's almost never worth it if you've ended up with a nothing hand. You're just losing another £ 5.