Limit Holdem: Making Fewer Mistakes Part 1 (Starting Hands)

In poker it's not so much about being great. It's more about sucking less

In many sports your goal is to be stronger, faster, tougher, whatever than your opponents.  A runner wants to run fastest, a jumper wants to jump highest, a poker player, however, just wants to suck less.  In this case “sucking less” means they want to make fewer mistakes than their opponents and they want to find opponents who make more (and worse!) mistakes than they do.  It also means that when they do make mistakes they want to minimize the consequences of those mistakes and when their opponents make mistakes they want to take full advantage of them.

Typical Low Stakes Poker Starting Hand Mistakes

Here are a few of the most common starting hand mistakes you can make in a low limit game:

When your opponent makes these mistakes they automatically pay a price for them.  For example when they play a hand like 56s against one or two opponents they won’t hit their hand often enough to make money in the long run.  In addition when they do have a draw the pot odds and implied odds will be much tighter because there are fewer people in the pot.

Besides the automatic price your opponent is paying you should take advantage of their mistakes and increase the severity of their errors:

Avoiding Starting Hand Mistakes

Review your play

After you’re done with a session, pull your hand history into a hand replayer like Popopop’s excellent (and FREE) hand replayer and look at the hands you were involved in.  Notice the starting hand mistakes you and your opponents made and also see situations where your opponents loose hand requirements caused you to lose more money than you should have when they made two weird pair or a gutshot straight draw.  See what you can do to mitigate those situations and also get more money in the pot when you have the best of it.

Until next time, keep flopping quads