No-Limit Holdem: Table Dynamics (Part I)
- No-Limit Holdem: Table Dynamics (Part II)
- Stealing in No-Limit Holdem
- The Typical Low-limit Hold'em Game
Some circumstances on a poker table are beyond our control. That doesn't mean we can't use them to our advantage. These factors, which we'll call "'table dynamic issues", shape the character of every table and have tremendous influence on the ways in which we play our hands. With a bad player in the blinds on your left, you can raise a very wide ranee until the bad player leaves and a professional shortstacker sits down. Suddenly you need to tighten up. What factors do we need to consider to understand table dynamics?
- Player types. If you have a loose, aggressive player on your left, you need to play tighter because you're going to get a lot of action. If you have a big fish on your right, you should play looser because you're going to want to play a lot of pots with him. If you have a shortstacker on your left, you're usually going to need to tighten up because he" s going to move all-in over your raises frequently. These are just a few examples of how game dynamics might change your overall strategy.
- Stack sizes. If there are a number of shorter stacked players at your table, hands like 33 and 67s go down in value, as they lose implied odds (they go up in value if there are deepstacked players at the table). On the flip side, hands like KJ and AT increase in value with shorter stacks because they lose reverse implied odds, but decrease in value with deeper stacks.
- Positions. Having a good regular on your left and a fish on your right is very different than having a good regular on your right and a fish on your left. Then, consider a table with 5 other players. Each table will have a distinct combination of player types, stack sizes, and positions, such that table dynamic conditions are always unique.
So how can we use table dynamics postflop? To explain this, we'd like to pull an example from a common small stakes Limit Hold'em scenario. Let's say that UTG raises, and sees 5 callers in a full ring game. We call in the blinds with 55, and the flop comes down J52. In this scenario, we always check to the raiser, hoping for him to bet and get several calls, allowing us to trap the entire field in for an extra bet. On the other hand, let's say that UTG and five other players limp, and the button raises. We call with 55 in the blinds, as do all the limpers. The flop is J52 again, except this time, leading into the field is correct. This way, we trap the money in the pot before the preflop raiser puts in a flop raise. This is the essence of table dynamics postflop.
The same principle applies to No-Limit. We want to do whatever we can to keep the fish in the pot. 3-betting in that spot is the incorrect play, and that calling is far preferable. If there are no fish involved, 3-betting may or may not be good. But as soon as the fish limps, we need to do everything we can to play pots with him. If we 3-bet, we force the limping fish out and isolate ourselves with a regular. This brings us back to the concept of mistakes - the regular isn't going to make many, but the fish is going to make a lot. So why are we trying to isolate ourselves with the guy who plays pretty well? Understanding table dynamics keeps us from making these mistakes.