Online poker is easy to play and just as easy to win as to lose. Veteran players can tell you stories of the big wins they’ve enjoyed and the bigger losses they’ve managed to avoid. Doesn’t require luck – although it couldn’t hurt – it takes skill, knowledge, a little drama, and a whole lotta experience.

Avoid these 5 mistakes when you play online poker

Smart beginners don’t come into the game riding a win wave, they watch and learn from the pros. Bad experiences are certainly good teachers, but the cost can get pretty steep.

Millions of online poker players prowl casinos like ours seeking the big jackpots. “How hard can it be?” they may ask. Not that hard, we tell them. Slap your money down, draw your cards, bet, call, fold… easy money. Not so fast.

There are literally dozens of ways a beginner (and some pros) can screw up his or her game, which may result in a frustrating and expensive surrender. At Ignition Casino, we don’t like to see that. Candidly, it’s bad for business. It removes all the fun from an amazing card game humans have been playing for centuries.

So, to start you out on the right foot, here are the top 5 mistakes you should avoid like the pandemic if you want to have a lot of fun and win some money playing poker.

Not learning the hierarchy of poker hands

Everyone who has played a few hands of poker knows about a full house, three of a kind, straights, flush… the basics. But beginners who cannot grasp the subtleties of poker hands are doomed to failure. Should we explain that it can get expensive?

Do yourself and your friends at the table a favor and take a little time to learn the basics of the game. No one is impressed with your body language, baseball hat and shades if you don’t know what beats what. It’s embarrassing.

No matter the poker game you’re playing – and there are many variations – poker hands are ranked the same way and never change.

The pros had to learn. So do you. Take a few minutes and turn your poker-playing fortunes around with some basic knowledge here.

Don’t show your cards

Really? Do we actually have to say this? Apparently, we do. Because some players like showing their cards to intimidate their opponents. “Check this out, suckers! I’m gonna take it all!” They do it to create swagger and cow you into folding. It only reveals they don’t know what they’re doing. A big mistake that’ll cost big.

Showing your cards reveals to the entire table everything about your playing style and crowns you with a reputation for arrogant idiocy. Make your opponents pay to see your cards just like you have to pay to see theirs. The show-me tactic is a potential disaster. Don’t do it.

Control your emotions if you can. If you can’t, perhaps poker’s not for you. Unless you enjoy losing – a lot.

Yes, we know that it’s hard to do when you’re holding a hot hand. But getting too attached to a good hand can be a bad choice. Think: what are the chances there’s a better hand at your table? When you feel it’s time to fold, just fold already. That’s called minimizing the damage and it comes more easily after you’ve been playing for a while. No shame involved.

Kenny Rogers knew when to fold ‘em and you should, too. Throw every bad hand away immediately. Remember: it’s better to fold before you lose it all than to stick with a hand that seems good but won’t win you any money. Cut your losses, as the wise men say.

If you need a pro tip, here it is: Take a break between games. Even the best players do it. Do whatever you need to stay cool, calm and collected. Now’s the time to hide behind the shades and pull your hat down low. You’ll get back in the game later. Patience is a poker virtue and a smart play.

Bluffing too often

Everyone loves to bluff. Heck, poker begs you to do it. But many beginners think that a good bluff can beat a good hand. It can but not always. This is not about lying. Sure, it’s super cool to beat a good player when you’re holding garbage but, in the real world, bluffing too often is a ticket to Loserville.

Don’t ever underestimate your opponents. They’re trying to beat you with their tactics. So they will catch on to your tricks fast and you could wind up giving them the gift that keeps on giving – in the form of your money.

That doesn’t mean don’t bluff. But like we said previously about falling in love with your hand – all in moderation. Don’t give away the store. Learn to act without chewing the scenery. It can cost you a lot of money. Aim to win an Oscar (and spare us the acceptance speech).

Play the long game. Save the bluff for situations where you feel your opponent’s bluff is worse or better than yours. That takes reading the table, body language, eyes, head moves… it takes experience and a talent for observation. Once you can readily spot the bluff, you’re on your way to a smart decision (Fold! Fold! Fold!) or a win.

Never avoid poker math

“They said there’d be no math,” said the poker player forfeiting his stack to a math wizard. Poker math is difficult but not impossible. One of the biggest mistakes is ignoring the numbers and going with your gut. You need to acquire basic knowledge of the odds and understand how poker math works.

It’s possible to win without poker math. You can’t just assume non-math players don’t win. They do. But good knowledge about the odds will improve your game by giving you an advantage over math-challenged players.

Imagine you’re on a draw when your opponent makes a bet. You have to decide whether to call and try to complete the draw with the next card, or fold and let the other guy or gal take the pot. With poker math skills, you will know exactly what to do instead of being unsure.

You’ll be able to make an educated guess on whether or not to call. If the bet is large, your math may tell you it’s going to be too costly to try for the right card, but if it’s a small bet, your opponent may be inclined to call. Being good at poker math is not a ticket to winning, but it can be a guide to not losing.

The player who can figure it out correctly is capable of working out the pot odds and making the right decision. Pot odds consider the amount your opponent has bet as compared to the pot and the likelihood of deciding whether or not you should call or fold.

Do you absolutely need mad math skills? Nope. Simply the basics. Numbers don’t lie and if you learn the mechanics of poker, you’ll be able to keep your game tuned up for high performance.

So now you’re ready, all that’s left is to hit the tables and take home that bag!