Jun 23 2010

Adjusting to Your Opponents

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: 1

Your opponent’s playing styles are often much more important than your own playing style. It is infinitely easier to alter your own style than it is to get your opponent’s to alter their’s. Odds are, since you are reading this article, that you are already thinking a mile ahead of the majority of your opponents.

It can be quite frustrating to play in a loose game (with bad players) when you are card dead. You know that a big hand is going to be easy money, but at the same time, big hands seem to seldom come. The temptation to join in pots with mediocre hands can almost be overwhelming. This feeling is not uncommon at all. In fact, many people give into the temptation to play weak hands just to be a part of the action. It is no coincidence, however, that these players also happen to lose money on a regular basis. Patience and persistence pays off in poker. Without these two weapons, it is difficult to make any money. Sure, you could play with an aggressive style, but this only works in certain environments. Adjusting to your opponent’s tendencies is absolutely vital.

Loose/Tight Tables

There are three general types of tables. A loose table, a tight table, and a table that is a combination of loose and tight. For the most part, your general approach should cater to the “average” table, whatever that might be in the games you are playing. Adjusting to an abnormally loose or tight game, however, is critical. Luckily, adjusting to these types of players is not very difficult.

Adjusting to loose players is simple: play tight. It really is that cut and dry. Wait for big hands and squeeze every dollar out of them whenever possible. Don’t try to make plays, because these players don’t like to let go of their hands, even when it is blatantly obvious that they should. Stick to a tight range of hands, dump hands after a single failed continuation bet, and minimize your bluffs. If you can do these three things, beating a loose game should be relatively easy.

Adjusting to a tight game requires an aggressive approach. You have to be willing to make some plays and step out on a limb. This doesn’t mean that you should be going crazy trying to bluff every pot, but an occasional bluff or three bet can work wonders. If everyone at your table is folding virtually every hand, there is little point in doing the same. You have to be “better” than your opponents, and in this case better means more aggressive. It can be tough for some players to try and adapt to this new style of play. There is a certain element of risk involved, but it can pay great dividends. If you are unwilling to adjust properly to a tight table, you are not going to define your edge. Steal the pots that others are letting go, don’t be afraid to make some plays, and you are going to run over the table.

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