All The Aces Daily Poker Column

The Biggest Mistake Most New Online Poker Players Make

Are you making this mistake when playing online poker?

The Biggest Mistake Most New Online Poker Players Make
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What’s the biggest mistake most new online poker players make? Simple! They play too many hands. How many times have you decided to take your distinctly mediocre hole cards through to the flop in the hope that you’ll snare a high pair or even three of a kind? Hope is like charity. If you need either, you’re already in trouble. There’s actually a mathematical reason why this kind of behaviour will lose you money: It’s against the ODDS!

We’ve touched on odds calculators before and we asked for feedback to from players who’ve used them. There seems to be a majority in favour and here’s why. Using mental arithmetic to try and calculate the odds of a hand being successful is not easy for most people. If you’re playing online, using an odds calculator to give you  feedback instantly on the value of your hand, can be quite a boon to a serious competitor. An odds calculator will tell you the relative strength of your hand as a percentage and tell you the “Sklansky Starting Hand Group” that it falls into.

Using the “Sklansky” valuation system pocket aces at a table of ten players would be in Sklansky Group 1 and be valued at 100% whereas a pair of twos would only make Group 7 and have a hand ranking a little over 60%. These figures apply for hands reaching the river.


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Clearly, no poker player needs telling that pocket rockets is a 100% start to a hand but let’s say you had to quickly evaluate the relative values of say ace of spades and queen of hearts as hole cards against queen and nine of diamonds. We’re betting most new players’ instant reaction would be that the ace-queen would be the better hand. The odds calculator will tell you right away that queen-nine same suited is superior.

Position in Texas Hold’em is all important. If you’re in a  good position you want to play more hands. If you’re in a bad position you want to play less hands. The calculator allows you to adjust your starting hand settings in relation to where you’re seated.

Obviously, playing from the button is the best position in Hold’em. If you’re on the button the calculator will automatically set your hand rank requirement to 50%. If you pick up a hand ranked lower than 50% the calculator will suggest that you fold. If you’re “under the gun” as the player to the left of the big blind (the worst position) your hand rank requirement will go to 85%. Know your odds. -- Play poker!

ALL THE ACES poker column:
Friday November
 25, 2005: