Biggest mistakes tournament players make on RP

OK, this is a bit of a rant, and really I love it when opponents make mistakes, but here are a few really common ones that I notice.

  1. Mass limping allowing the BB a free view of the flop. Of course I love it when I am BB, but when the flop comes JJ3, you may have just allowed BB to play lots of hands like J3 offsuit.
  2. Setting the limp-call button to automatic. Just recently a player limped with some unplayable hand from early position and I raised all in, and he insta-called indicating that he had set the button to automatically call any raise. I took all his chips, so all was well.
  3. Making multiple calls of shoves by small stacks, giving them the chance to treble or quadruple up their way out of trouble when it would be better for just one person to take them on, since the objective is to eliminate other stacks until you are in the money, so it usually benefits all members of the herd to pick on the weakest stack.
  4. Making pointless minraises and min reraises preflop for no apparent purpose. if all the limpers are going to call your raise, it serves no purpose in narrowing the field or knocking out trash cards. If you just want to make the pot bigger so that a half-pot or full-pot bet on the flop will be that much larger, then you need to put in a bigger raise to leverage your hand and hopefully add some dead money to the pot if some limpers fold.
  5. Limping from SB with trash when it is folded to you. What are you going to do if the flop misses your trash? And if you do make top pair with your Q3 offsuit, what kind of kicker do you have? If you do hit a monster, how do you plan to get paid off If I am the BB and have any kind of hand, I am going to raise the poop out of you, because you are then going to have to play out of position, but in most cases you just fold preflop wasting your chips.
  6. Miscalculating your outs. If you have an open-ended straight draw, you must take into account the possibility that a couple of your outs could be flush cards for an opponent.
  7. Miscalculating the odds on flush and straight draws. It is understood that sometimes you are in a desperate position and need a double up right now, but in most cases if opponent with top pair is making a pot-size-plus bet on the flop, calling to go for the flush draw is invalid unless you have additional possible outs like overcards or you have already made second or third pair on the flop, or you also have a gutshot draw. Your odds of hitting your flush on the turn are 9 out of 50, or 18% at best, but if opponents have already mucked flush card suits, they may actually be less.
  8. Making huge overbets when you have the nuts, and thus failing to get paid off. A player tonight showed me a pair of pocket queens after I folded to his ovebet, but in my view I had morally won the hand in which I had pocket tens, since he did not get paid off.

I think you correctly point out a number of weak plays that I’ve also seen made frequently in the tournaments I’ve entered. I think it is a nice post. That said, there are a couple of points were my thoughts differ.

Having multiple callers increases the likelihood of eliminating the short stack. You can’t call too willy nilly, just because you have to worry about a raise behind, but I don’t think the reason stated above is valid.

Overbets are a standard part of good poker. Making one should diminish the size of the range that calls, but that reduction in calling frequency can be offset by the increased chips won when you do get called. It’s not always the right move with the nuts, but I think I like it quite a bit more in general than when I see the same hand making a min-bet.


I don’t totally disagree, but I think that when using overbets there has to be a mixture between a) having the nuts, b) bluffing, c) protecting a hand where you believe you are ahead, but want to strongly discourage draws.

Type c) should be used with discrimination on RP, because there are so many players who will call with any open ended straight or flush draw regardless of the odds on offer. Where it may work is when opponent has a biggish stack, but you have a stack large enough to knock him out of the leaders and send him to the back of the field. Alternatively with a small stack opponent, who will probably call against the odds, but whose stack is not big enough to do irreparable damage to yours.

When you watch videos of professional poker players on YouTube, you don’t see a whole bunch of hands where players are calling off their whole stack to chase an open ender or flush draw.

I play against the same group of about 40 players all the time, with newcomers being noticed and evaluated for style of play in the first 30 minutes. Far too many of these players are way too predictable, for example when they shove on the river, they always have the nuts or near nuts.

I should add to the post above:

  1. Players who make an abnormally large raise with AK preflop, then shove the flop when their hand misses completely. I cannot believe that this move is EV positive in tournaments. I guess the intention is to mimic holding AA or KK, but they will get called too many times by top pair, pocket pairs, and 2 pairs, and even by some draws.

Here is a hand where I had the K of clubs and 7 of spades and I imagine that opponent had a T in his hand. I hardly ever do this, and it was not actually an overbet, but it might as well have been, given the stack sizes, because it was too big to call. If opponent had a T, then it could not be a diamond. What was his other card?

** These comments relate to tournament play and may not be directly applicable in ring games, because in tournaments the rule is You Only Die Once.

another basic mistake but to be noted, very few players respect the push or fold charts on RP, I see too often players entering hands with too low stack depth

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