If you want to be a good single-table tournament poker player, you have to know how to avoid the mistakes that the rest of the people playing in the event are likely to make. On top of that, you have to be able to exploit it when they slip up. We're going to take a look at the three most common mistakes that I've seen players make at the table and the effects it has on their game.

Sign up today and take advantage of Bodog's awesome online poker deposit bonus.


Mistake #1: Playing Speculative Hands Too Aggressively
The most common mistakes that players make center around the hands they opt to play in the early stages of a tournament. While there are speculative hands that can make you some money and it's always nice to have a big pair, you have to know when to best take advantage of them. I've frequently seen well-meaning players holding AK or AQ make a big raise from middle position just to end up staring down someone who's after them going all-in while holding a pair.

The fact is, you're going to lose about 80% of the time playing those kind of speculative hands against a pair and you certainly shouldn't be taking risks like that so early in a tournament. Don't overvalue these hands, especially when you're playing from early position. They're hard to defend against a good raise and you'll be trapped more often than not.


Mistake #2 Not Being Aggressive Enough With Big Pairs
If you've got a premium hand like KK or QQ, you need to be aggressive with your betting. Betting big and sticking to your guns keeps your opponent from getting the right odds and it will drive smaller pairs that could make a potentially-dangerous set out of the hand entirely. You should be willing to raise big when you raise, going 4-6 times the big blind in the early game – making your opponent commit ten to fifteen percent of their stack.


Mistake #3: Calling Raises You Shouldn't
Limit poker players who are used to low-buy-in games are especially prone to calling raises while holding a marginal hand early in an event. When you do this, you're likely to only win a small pot or lose a large one. If you do hit top pair with the board's cards and you have two opponents going after you, it can be tough to gauge whether your kicker is going to be good or not. Also, since these kind of hands tend to be played by players who limp in, it's easy to find yourself trapped by an opponent who hits top pair or trips on the flop.

Bodog offers new player online poker tournaments to help you win your way to the biggest events.

Keep these mistakes in mind, especially in the early stages of a single-table tournament, and you're more likely to make it to the point where you're going to make money later on.