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Nathan “Blackrain79” Williams has played millions of hands of low-stakes online poker and he's here to explain the five most common mistakes he sees beginners making at the micro-stakes. Williams is the author of two very popular poker strategy books but you can get the benefit of his experience right here for free. From stacking off with overpairs against passive players to making poor pre-flop decisions before the flop that come back to haunt you, Williams goes through the most common beginner blunders and how to avoid them. If you play low-stakes online cash games chances are these mistakes are costing you money. Listen to Williams and learn how to plug these leaks and start winning more from your online poker sessions. For more information go to Nathan Williams' website BlackRain79.com and check out his books Crushing the Micro Stakes and Modern Small Stakes Poker.
Hi, I'm Nathan "BlackRain 79" Williams. I've been playing poker professionally for almost a decade and I played millions of hands of low stakes online poker. I see beginners making mistakes every single day and these are the top five that are probably costing you money.
Number five, overvaluing, overpairs versus passive players. One of the top mistakes that I see beginners making and we've all been there when we were starting out, is stacking off with overpairs. And what you need to realize is that most of the players of the lower stakes are pretty passive and in general when they start raising you, check raising you or just regular raising on the turn of the river what I call "the big money streets," chances are your overpair is not good. A lot of these players are playing many, many tables and they're not just picking on you out of the blue and that's all what you need, you're folding with overpair.
Number four, too much slow playing and not enough value betting. So another common mistake that I see a lot of players making at the lower stakes is not value betting enough versus the calling station, the vast majority of players with these takes just like the call. You can't win a big pot unless you build one against these kinds of players. Slow playing is not a good idea versus these players and I'm talking about hands like top pair, better. So just make sure that when you have top pair, better, just make sure that you're consistently betting. Don't be afraid that you're going to scare them out of the pot, if they fight back, if they've got something with your bid, they'll tell you but you need to build that pot against them in order to win a big pot of these stakes.
Number three, deciding whether to play a big pot or not on the flop. Something else that a lot of beginner players struggle with is not making the size of decisions on the flop. All the times you have a mediocre type hand, perhaps a middle pair, some sort of weak draw and you need to be making decisive decisions on whether you're going to play a big hand, whether you're going to play the hand aggressively or just fold. If you find yourself just calling down with a mediocre hand a lot, chances are you should have folded on the flop.
Number two, making bad decisions pre-flop that put you in tough spots later in the hand. Another one of the biggest mistake that I see newer players making is making poor decisions pre-flop. In poker, everything starts before the hand. I call this the "snowball effect." You make poor decisions at the top of the hill, it just gets worse and worse for you. One of the biggest problems is calling out of position with marginal hands, especially a trap hands like can easily be dominated. Hands like, perhaps king and jack, ace and nine, really, you need to be folding these hands pre-flop most of the time and if you see a spot to profitably free bet, then you can take that opportunity as well but calling out of position is usually going to lead to just more problems for you later down the road.
And number one, recognizing tilt and being able to quit. The biggest mistake that newer players make at the table is tilt. It's really important to be able to recognize tilt. Some of the common signs are playing too many hands, playing more aggressively than normal, and also having a hopeless feeling that you're going to lose every single time. It's really important that you're able to recognize these signs and also understand that poker is a long term game. We don't want to be getting our ego involved in a single session and trying to win a bunch of money back when we're playing quarterly. When you recognize the signs of tilt, it's really important to just walk away from the game that day and come back the next day with a clear head.