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Low-Hanging Fruit for Newbies in No-Limit Hold’em

Last week, I promised that we would continue in our series about no-limit 2-7 single draw. However, I find myself writing this week’s column without my notes for what will be part six of the series, so we’re going to do something that will be a little bit more friendly to newcomers instead. We’re going to look at some low-hanging fruit for newbies in no-limit hold’em. Specifically, we’re going to look at some easy things you can add to your game in 100bb no-limit hold’em cash that will help you to perform better at micro-stakes games.

Why Study and Practice Anyway

I want to start with something that needs to be addressed really quickly. Some people want to know what the point is of studying or practicing to begin with because it’s not very much fun compared to the action of actually being in the game. Here at FlopTurnRiver, our primary goal is to help people to make money by getting better at poker. The tagline here is, “Making money is fun,” and that’s the entire point of poker for most of us. We have a drive to beat our opponents and take their money, and we want to help you to do that because that’s where the real fun is in poker.

The Most Common Pre-Flop Mistakes

When you first come to FTR, you’ll probably be asked to post some hands and to post some statistics by position so that we can see what you’re doing pre-flop. The most common mistakes that we see are the following.

1. Open limping – This means that you’re the first person to put money in the pot, but you call the big blind instead of putting in a raise. A lot of people want to do this with small pocket pairs and suited connectors because they want to try to see a flop for cheap. The problem is that everybody knows you’re doing this because it’s so blatantly obvious what’s happening, and the trick to exploiting your play is exceptionally well-known. All a player has to do is raise your limp from in position then continuation bet most flops to absolutely kill you.

2. Raising the same hands from all positions – You have to play fewer hands out of position, even when you’re open raising. The reason for this is that you’re less likely to take down the blinds, and you’re more likely to run into a better hand, so you have to tighten up. In full ring, for example, you should be open raising something like four times as many hands from the button as you do from UTG (the first position to act pre-flop, one seat to the left of the big-blind).

3. Calling 3-bets too often – If you raise with something like 77 and face a 3-bet, then you aren’t going to be able to profitably call if you have 100bb starting stacks hardly ever. It’s just not going to happen. You might think that it’s okay as long as you have stacks that are 10 times the size of the bet or whatever else, but you actually need a lot better room for implied odds than that.

The Most Common Post-Flop Mistakes

Along similar lines, there are some really common post-flop mistakes. We’re going to take a look at those here as well.

1. Not Continuation Betting Enough – You have to make continuation bets a fair amount at micro-stakes because they’re so absurdly profitable, especially if you have draws. A lot of people are super passive with their draws and check/call it down, but this is a massive mistake that leaves a ton of money on the table.

2. Not Knowing When to Double Barrel – Sometimes you have to fire a second bluff on the turn, and you’re going to be able to do this profitably under some very specific scenarios that are probably more common than you think. As long as you have a decent combination of pot equity (ie: outs from a draw) and fold equity (ie: your opponent is likely to fold a fair amount), then you’re going to have some really profitable turn barrel situations.

3. Failing to Understand Bet/Folding – You’re going to run into a ton of players who are super passive and who do not really mix up their play very much at all when you play the micro-stakes. If you face a raise from these players, then you’re very often going to need a particularly strong hand to continue. However, they’re still going to be calling you down with a lot of holdings, so your initial bet is going to be profitable. The key here is not to get dragged into calling after being raised when you make value bets with good-but-not-great hands.

Come Get in On the Action

Any player who starts off is going to want to work on the above six points that we have made because these are, by far, six of the most common mistakes that can be easily fixed to produce a drastic bump up in your win-rate. The key here is that we have seen these situations so many times that they are thematic. If you search back through previous threads in the Beginner’s Circle, for instance, then you’re going to see tons of examples of these six points coming up.

You need to come get in on the action because we love helping people to make money. There are a ton of cool things going on in both the Beginners Circle (for newbie questions) and the Small Stakes NL (for hand histories and discussion) forums like contests, free coaching and opportunities to add some serious depth to your bankroll.

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