When the pot becomes stale, many people quickly move on to another game or sit back and let their live poker hand build up, only to be blindsided by an opponent’s quick play. Do you know when you’re being blindsided? The most common answer is when your opponent has gotten very good at making money from betting and raising. But if this is happening to you too often, then you’re probably not playing as tightly as you should. The tight player tends to build up their hand and then throws in the towel. Here’s why you should always be looking to make a strong action to go all in, even if your opponents aren’t showing any signs of being tight.
Playing Too Tight Sometimes playing too tight is fine. When no one folds or raises, it’s easy to simply fall into the “tactic trap” of thinking that no one is ever going to fold to a big raise or bet. But when you play with different sizes and particularly larger raises and bets, you’ll often find that players begin folding immediately after their big bets. The tight player is getting good at squeezing every last penny out of his opponents. And sometimes that strategy works! If you are having problems at making these types of plays, though, then your opponent could have developed a bad habit of playing tight.
Playing With the Big Stack At times, your opponents may actually be playing with the biggest stacks they know. Their stack is so large because they’ve been constantly winning, or they might have a consistent stream of high money games. If you play against someone with this much chip stack, then you need to be aggressive and break their stack with some strong hands. You also have to watch out for their throwing and folding to keep up with them.
Playing Against Multiway If you’ve seen your opponents play a series of really bad games in a row, then the chances are that they have been facing off multiway opponents. These opponents tend to attack and re-buy many times in a row, leaving no money in their pocket. The goal for these players is to bankrupt you fast, and if you can take advantage of their bad betting habits, then you have a good chance of beating them. If you can spot out a multiway game from the start, then you may have an excellent shot at winning.
Stakes and Hands Per Hour If you’re playing poker online, then the stakes are important, too. Many online players will place huge bets in live games based solely on the previous action – how many times have you heard someone say, “Let’s see what happened last time, here’s my five-of-a-kind.”? Of course, not every five-of-a-kind will win, but when you’re playing against stiff competition, sometimes just big stakes win. Many times, players will switch from high-stakes to low-stakes play in an effort to lessen their overall pressure on their bankroll. When there are only a couple of opponents left, then the best bet might be on a low stakes game.
Hand Reading This goes hand in hand with hand reading. Many opponents will try to eliminate your stack as quickly as possible by throwing their chips on the table. But experts say that this is a big mistake. If you have a thick wallet, and some chips in your pocket, then you should stick with your hand and keep playing. The best time to eliminate opponents with chips is when you have about two-thirds of the chips, because you will have more chips available to you.
Calling and Acing Another mistake that many players make is calling with raises. If an opponent calls with a raise and you bet with a big blind, then be ready to bet out. But don’t be afraid to call with an under bet if the odds are good. You can also bluff with a raised hand and a big blind. Just make sure you check-raise before you do it.
Preflop Raises and Calls Most live games have you make some preflop raises and calls. Live players tend to be aggressive and this often means they are going to call before they raise. However, as you know, preflop calls and raises have an impact on your winnings. You need to determine what your odds are and make sure you bet according to those odds. If the pot becomes very large, then it may be better for you to preflop than to make a strong hand. On the other hand, if the pot is small and you have a good hand, then you may be better off making a strong hand and re-raising.