- What Are Your Chances of Playing Against a Pro?
- Differences Between Sit 'n Go's and Multi-Table Tournaments.
You will do most of your thinking about hands that you lost. There will be hands where you play badly and win, and you learn a lesson from them because you realize how lucky you needed to get to win the pot. But the lessons you learn from those hands will not stay with you as long as the lessons you learn from hands you lose.
You should play according to what you think is going on. Players often say "I knew he was weak. I could have raised.'' If you know your opponent is weak and can't stand a raise, then raise. You may think that the opponents can counter this by calling you down whenever you play aggressively. The beauty of being aggressive is that it allows you to play your good hands strongly. You will get a lot of action from opponents with substandard hands when they misread you for a bluff.
Good players do most of their thinking after losing sessions. Bad players want to block losing sessions out of their mind. Think about hands you lost and see if you could have played them differently with a better result. Always think about what actions you would have taken if you had known what your opponents' hands actually were. Then try to recall if there were any hints available that would tell you about their hands.
Some players who criticize themselves are too results-oriented. They chastise themselves for not raising in stud if the raise would have knocked someone out, enabling them to catch a more beneficial card. They think it was right to have called if they would have ended up making their draw, and it was wrong to call whenever they miss. There are many hands you will play correctly and lose, although you may later decide, especially in a three-way pot, that you should have check-raised and knocked out the hand that beat you.
Notice how players bet. Who shows weakness with strong hands and strength with weak hands? What are their talking patterns with strong and weak hands? How do they act when they catch a card that helps their hand? What kind of playing tempo do they have with strong and weak hands? Know which players to your left act as if they are folding when they have a strong hand. Make this assessment before it is your turn to play, since it is unethical to hesitate to get players to act out of turn.
Many plays are neither right nor wrong, but are just different ways to play a hand. These differences in the play of similar hands will keep opponents off balance. A play that looks bad or doesn't work on one hand max generate a mistake from an opponent on another. Players who make their opponents play badly often don't get the credit they deserve. The "starting-hand policemen" say; "Look what he started with!" There are players who appear to play more hands than they should, but win because they bet their hands well and force their opponents to guess what they are doing.
Most players know they have to adjust to their opponents' styles, but they often make the wrong adjustments. An old poker adage is: "Play tight in a loose game and play loose in a tight game". This may work in low limit poker, but against experienced players it doesn't take into account that your opponents will make adjustments to your style also. Good players will give action to loose players, but they will only play against a tight player with hands that meet higher standards.
Here are examples of styles of play and adjustments:
|Typical Incorrect Adjustment||Better Adjustment|
|Extremely loose play||Wait for a good hand.||Loosen your standards and reraise frequently.|
|Excessive value-betting||Call with almost anything.||Raise when you can beat a value-bet; raise-bluff more often on the river.|
|Frequent check-raising||Give too many free cards.||Bet normally, except when you want a free card and are confident you will be check-raised.|
|Antagonizing opponents||Get emotionally involved; focus on beating the culprit and showing him up.||Ignore him and try to well.|
Trying to make great plays against a weak player is usually not a good idea because a weak player will not respond the way an expert would. It is sometimes likened to playing Beethoven to a cow. Players who try this will say, "He should have known what I represented by the way I played the hand, and he should never have called me." You normally beat weak players by playing better hands and allowing them to play badly against you. Over a long period of time, the better players will adjust to their opponents play; luck will even out, and weakness in strategy will be exposed.