The biggest mistake I see is people playing too tight, and then over-playing big pocket pairs. I don’t play too tight, though I still sometimes over-play big pairs. We have a couple of guys who are famous for playing too tight. We even joke about them only playing 5 hands per night.
Playing too tight virtually guarantees that you won’t win much very often. Somebody that hasn’t played a hand in an hour who then suddenly raises big is not going to get many callers. When you hear people making fire alarm noises and saying “Warning! Danger!” as you raise pre-flop, you might be playing too tightly.
Also, the caller will know exactly what few combination of hands the raiser has (AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AKs, etc.). The caller then knows that if the flop doesn’t hit him, he can let the hand go if there is another raise. And the caller knows that if he does hit his hand on the flop, he will get paid off because the tight player has been sitting there for an hour waiting for that pair of aces, and he isn’t going to believe that somebody is loose enough to call his big raise with a junky hand like 10-8 off-suit.
I had this happen twice in the last two games I played in. Saturday night, from the big blind I called a guy’s $35 [7x the big blind] raise with 8-3 off-suit. Two or three others had previously called so the pot was pretty big. Yeah, it was a speculative hand, but I knew he was tight and that I would cream him if I got lucky. I checked when the flop was 3-3-9. He then pushed all in (about $200) with his pocket jacks, and I called and my 3s held up. He said something to the effect that he couldn’t believe I was such a dumbass that I called his pre-flop raise with such a trashy hand. I didn’t mention to him that I couldn’t believe that he was such a dumbass to push all in with simply an over pair.
A side benefit, besides earning 10x my initial investment of $35, was that for the rest of the night these guys never knew what two cards I had in the hole. I won several hands by bluffing at odd combos of cards, because many feared I might be playing junk that hit the flop.
The next night, with just pocket 4s in the big blind I called a $50 raise (10x big blind) from a tight guy who plays about 10 hands per night and over-plays his big pairs. Naturally, the flop was T-4-2 rainbow. I checked, a maniac who had called from under the gun pre-flop bet $300, and the tighty pushed all in. Both I and the maniac called the all in, and my set of 4s tripled me up. Tight guy had pocket Ks, and maniac had flopped two pair.
Of course I got extremely lucky in both those hands. But I do get credit for playing the hands. Many play too tight and never would have made either of those calls. They think to themselves, “$50 dollars for a pair of fours, out of position, against an ultra tight guy who probably has me dominated? No way! I could take my wife out to a nice dinner for $50!” But I turned that $50 into $1,000 in less than two minutes. The top pair idiot never had much chance to get all my money. If I missed the flop, I would only lose $50. If I hit, then he was drawing thin to suck out on me.
Poker is almost a license to steal from tight players who over-play their big pocket pairs. [Hope none of my poker buddies read my blog. Roland used to but he is a leftist freak and prolly doesn’t anymore.]