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.
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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.

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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?

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/783464557

** 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.

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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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I just want to know if I’m the only player who loses 99% of all losses on the dang river? I play mostly tournaments. But when that “only die once” comes it is always on the river. I don’t make bets w/out already having a good hand and About half the time I am left wondering “why in the heck did that player even call my raise”. Is this just the story with online poker, or have I forgotten how to play ? Maybe i’m just complaining huh,…or suckouts are the norm here.

Biggest mistake on tournament is play them

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Think of it this way: if your hand wasn’t good enough to go to the river, wouldn’t you have folded earlier? Of course you would. Is it more expensive to go to the river with a loser than it is to fold earlier? Yes, it is. You will always lose more with “big” hands that aren’t quite big enough than you will ever lose betting on crappy hands because you’ll fold the obvious losers.

Our challenge, then, is to recognize when your “good” hand is facing a “great” hand–and then fold it, no matter how much it hurts or how pretty it looks. This is one of the things that make good poker an “art” rather than merely a “science” like cooking. “But the odds favored me” is no excuse. You need to be a chef, not just a cook.

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There are a combination of reasons, a couple are 1) there’s very little risk for your opponents when the chips have no real value and 2) it’s so easy to call especially as @Alan25main has stated their hand looks so “pretty” to them at that moment.

You shouldn’t be discouraged but, I agree there appears to be a higher % of “suckouts” on here probably because of #1 stated above.

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It is pretty much routine for players on RP to pay over the odds to see additional cards when they have open-ended straight draws or flush draws, especially in the first hour of tournaments when the blinds are low, and some of they time they will get home on the river. If you are playing against this type of player, they will ignore your bet sizes, so you may as well bet smaller rather than bigger on the flop to avoid becoming pot committed. The other alternative is to shove the flop when you are sure you are ahead, because if they call, then two times out of three you win.

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Playing for play chips and thinking this is real poker when you start playing in money games. If you continue thinking like a play chipper you are going to lose plenty.

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Yes, but tournament play is more complex than that. You are perhaps suggesting that in a real money tournament, the key to success is to play very tightly and only open or call with the best hands, but that strategy is not particularly successful either.

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Too much bluff. Some beginners only think about bluffing. You need to figure out how often you need to bluff to avoid becoming predictable. If you bluff all the time, opponents will stop believing you and very often will open your bluff, winning more and more of your chips.

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Here is the biggest “mistake” I have seen … ever! 9 player table Flop:222 I call with an ace. five fold. Turn: 2 small blind bets half his chips, everyone else folds, I call. River card: Ace. Now e1 can see the nuts is on the board, quad ducks ace high, he checks, I hit all in, …YEP HE FOLDS!

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Yes, that is a big mistake, no doubt about it.

I made a huge mistake last night in the Widow’s Bite tournament when we were down to the final pairing playing for the top prize.

This was an almost endless one on one session that went on for over an hour and I was getting extremely tired. On one hand I folded to a large bet on the river, having failed to notice that I made a ten-high straight with my 7 9 assorted suits, and that there was no possible flush or boat.

This almost cost me that match, but fortunately I was able to fight back and win and eventually my opponent tired and threw away the game with a wild bluff when I had a straight.

Sometimes players just want to go to bed.

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I have said before that one of the worst mistakes players make in tournaments is limping in and allowing the Big Blind to play with trash hands that may take the pot.

Last night I went out early in a tournament with the reverse error. With a limper from middle position and from the SB I was looking at AJ suited in the BB and decided not to raise, but just checked.

With an ace high flop, I felt pretty certain to be ahead and bet the flop and middle position player called. There was a 2 on the flop and another 2 came on the turn, giving me 2 pairs. I ended up losing my stack to a player who had limped in with 2 3 unsuited, because I had slow played my hand and not raised him out of the pot preflop. Sometimes you can get too cute.

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I think the biggest mistake is that players don’t write notes on other players. If you notice that a player has a weakness in their game, take note of it. If you encounter them again you can make the adjustments. At the lower stake tournaments, this works really well. Players will either call way too much or fold way too much. If a player calls too much, wait for a good hand and go to town on them. If they fold too much bet more often.

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This is a good point. Actually I am guilty, since I don’t write down notes, but since I tend to play against the same opponents over and over again, I do keep mental notes on their playing styles and use them to ambush opponents. For example how they play in the blinds is crucial. In the early stages of tournaments when the blinds are low, you can mostly observe and give the impression that you are rather passive, then when the blinds get big enough, you start to attack the limpers who like to play any two cards.

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One of the biggest mistakes is trying to bluff a calling station (especially a super station I’m fixing to describe). There are people on here that will literally call any c-bet even if they completely miss the flop with their garbage hand (image below of what they look like). Iso raise them but don’t bet the flop unless you get a piece of it - then when you flop top pair or better (or sometimes even middle pair) it’s value town time.

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I don’t really think that is a flattering picture of me.

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Another big mistake is not considering your opponent’s position in the tournament when you have a big stack. If you’re in the top 5 in chips before the final table, do you shove/call all-in against another top 5 with anything less than the nuts? The result is one of you now has a monster chip lead and the other is close to elimination. Feed on the fish and wait until later to take on your fellow whales.

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