This guide is alot about “seing oportunities” reading your oponents and act difrent against diffrent playertypes. Nomather what your playstyle is you have to learn how to dodge the nuts and how to bet to get the most of your own pocket aces.
It will also be a little about tableimage. What I mean with table image and how you work with it to gain success.
A main goal is to keep it short and easy to learn. I hope you find it intresting.
Intruduction: Green and Red Players
Poker is a economic battle. Every player start up with the same amount of chips but the power around the table will change over time – A large chipcount means more tableinfluence and a less chipcount means lack of influence. The chipleader is not seldom the one that sets the pace of the game and the lowstacked, a little more desperate, try to make their opinion heard with more drastic ways (all in!). Worth mentioning – if you dont have any stack at all you cant scare anyone off =)
Then you better have the very best hand and hope to double up.
When you sit down at a table you you normally dont know anything about your oponents. What you have to find out is where the fish is. Ofcourse you are the shark (!) and sharks eat fish =) Well who knows – maby you are the fish at this moment (?) but i hope to help you to reach that next level of evolution (eating rather than to be eaten). There will allways be bigger fishes so reading oponents is not only about growing shipstacks – its also about surviving and avoiding other sharks.
So how do you start reading your oponents?
I have always marked players as green or red. Greens are tight and play less hands. Reds are loose and play alot of hands. Both categories is well working strategies but why I mark them is to remember the variety of cards they play. A green player is less likely to hit trips on this flop: 5,2,2 because they dont play hands with duces (not even A2). A green player is also more likely to have hitted the top pair in this flop: A,Q,5.
As mentioned you know zero at start. Play safe some starting hands (fold unless you have the nuts) and try to find out what kind of oponents you got. All shown cards are information. Sometimes its disinformation but most probably its very reliable information:
If a player shows a K,2 at showdown he is most probably red. Green players dont play K,2 =) There is one situation where green play K,2 and its at a uncontested BB. All wierd combinations of hands is red (J,5 – Q,8 – 7,5 and more..). If you see such hands you have found a first player to mark as red player. This has nothing to do with how successful they are =) A red player that wins with a flush (clubs J,8) is still a red player =) Red players tend to play alot of hands – even if you dont see their cards you will pretty soon notice witch players that is “in the fight” every hand.
Thoose players play a lot less hands. Its not the smartest to ONLY play with AA but you will notice who plays green: Green players play less than every fifth hand. If they are very tight they play less than every tenth hand. You notice a green player in two ways: High kickers, high pairs and very little hands played (compared to table).
Some red player thinks A,4 is a monsterhand. Green players dont play ace with low kickers and will call that red fish any day with its own A,Q =)
Soo.. as a start – sort the table up in red and green oponents.
Sharks vs Fish
The diffrence between a shark and a fish is how they play when they are in a hand. A shark adapts to the players the are compeeting with while the fish only see cards and fold easily if they dont hit. Sharks can be both green and red and its more of a skill to adapt in situation rather than number of played hands.
The reds – (lets start with reds once more).
Imagine that red has two undersections: “The loose folders” and “The loose aggressive”.
The loose folders: 90% among thoose are fish. 10% Sharks.
A loose folder invest in a lot of hands by playing BB. Sometimes they hit something big but if they dont they are more likely to flee than to fight. You could also call them “check – folders” =) If you find a loosefolder around the table – you have good chances scaring him off a pot even if you dont have anyting yourself. Call it bluffing if you want – I call it seizing the oportunity to eat a fish.
Worth noticing: If a loosefolder suddenly joins your after flop “scarebet” – then you know he has found some really wierd and unspected monsterhand (dont try to scare him again in that hand).
How to beat the loosefolder: Pretend you hit the ace on the flop. Bet and he will fold =) Alternatively – give him the courage to try bluffing you and make a semibluff by doing a check-raise. (you check he bets – you raise – he folds) Unless he has something =)
The loose agressive: 70% among theese are fish. 30% sharks
A loose agressive dont only play many hands – they also win many hands. Some call them bluffers but within time you will realize that there is a wide variety of bluffing and some are acctually quite safe. The most normal bet is the “infobet”. A player bets a third of the pot and see what happens =) With such information he/she can then decide to go deeper in the struggle or still get out quite safe. A infobet, witch some would call a bluff, leads to alot more won hands. Like vs the loose folder this infobet wins the pot (with a flopbet) everytime accept when that player has something to compete with.
How to beat a loose aggressive: Well unless you dont have anything it could be quite expensive to play vs a loose agressive. Do you have the hand and rediness to play all in? Otherwise just show some waekness and let him win a smaller amount of chips. To beat a loose agressive is alot about timing. When you have shown weakness some hands and folded to his “infobets” you might get big on top when you have the cards and he is trying t scare you of with a less optimal “all in on nothong” bet =) but as mentioned – there is some sharks here and in a tournament Im very ok to let others battle with the loose agressive.
More about the loose agressive: A normal situation in a tournament is that the loose aggressive aggro between eachother while the green sits calm and watch – That often ends up in 2/3:ds of loose agressives are eliminated within first hour and that the leaderboard (top 10) in an early state is overfilled with red players. The greens have by nature alot less chips than the reds at ths point but they already know who they should try double up against.
In the same way green ahs two undersections: “Tight fold” and “Tight aggressive”
The tight folders: 100% fish
A tight folder is someone who waits for AK for an hour and then folds if he dont hits the flop =) This is not very economic and its very easy to read. If you notice a tight folder you know where you can gain some pokerchips – hurry up coz others are also hungry for this tight folder =) As green players do – he/she plays very little hands. A classic playstyle of green is to raise preflop (like three BB) to eliminate some of the red loose players. Then if they dont hit flop they simply check-fold just like the red “loose folder”.
The special with thoose is that they win to little hands. With increased blinds (in tournaments) this will somwhere make them to go more desperate trying to double up. If they succed they will then sit back again and wait for next top pair (or deperate need of double up).
How to beat tight folders: Its not that hard to get is it? =) If the flop only has low cards you can pretty safe play an infobet and see what happens (a classic infobet is a third of the pot – remember to change size a little over time). Most probably a tight folder havent hit the flop with their A+high kicker and they will simply fold. IF they do call or raize your infobet – you know they have high pockets (like AA,KK or QQ). Unless you have something really nice (trips, flush or strait) that beats a high pair its time to concede in this hand – Even tight folders can win a hand once in a while.
Tips: The only way to win big vs a tightfolder is to have a better hand coz they often chicken out. Sometimes you could make them pay a little more and let them hope for an ace on the river and bust them out later on – if they only have highcard A they wont call you. Remember to not show the fact that you only had high card J 😉 You want him to chicken out more times -right? =)
Tighfolders has by nature low stacks and are not very willing to take fights with less good cards – therefore you have to eat him up slowloy ather than in a piece (a more common way vs reds). The guys you can steal blinds from untill they get very lowstacked. When they are lowstacked – you must be prepared to face a all in (so try balance when you try to scare them)
Tight agressive: 20% fish
The tight agressive is just as the loose agressive a little harde to read. Whats special with tight agressives is that they play as if they have hit even if they haven. So – less played hands but go agressive when they are in the fight. For an example: A tight aggressive with AQ play as if they hit the king on a flop with K,10,5. This way of play is much more economic than a tight folder. By playing less hands you have given a picture (tableimage) that you play with high value hands. By playing like you have hit the king most others se the possibility that you have so as high.
How to beat: A tight aggressive is hard to find. To find him you hve to see him bluffing and not seldom he bets high on flop, turn and river to avoid a revealed bluff. If you have a better hand you could always try out to match him – just remeber that the diffrence between a tight folder and a tight agressive is dangerously hard to see without many seen hands. Maby you compete against a top pair after all? =) My way to beat tight agressives is to let others do the job – there will always be someone who sometimes manage to call the tight aggressive off with a bluff and first then you know: “tight agressive”. Still you dont know what he has in next hand he is playing – but what you know is that he might play as if he has hit even if he hasnt. A tight folder just folds.
Two ways to beat a tight agressive: 1: Have he better hand 2: Play counteraggressive and scare him off deluxe. After all he is tight (more economic orientated) and if he plays like he has hit a pair of kings on flop – play like you have hit a flush on the river.
In a tournament you will have to beat them all unless others do it for you: The main goals is to try find the “tight folders” and the “loosefolders” among the players. Well also the very bad loose aggrssives are worth finding – they are the ones that will go all in with A4 😉 Start of by finding the right players to “milk” and build up your own chipstack. With that said you will always have to have in mind that a third part of looseaggressive players will join up in every hand.
Just balance well and choose your battles and you might become a shark within time? =)
Callingstations – Gives You Money =)
Be aware to find callingstations around the table. All four playerstyles include some callingstations.
This is a “betting pattern”. I wont go more into bettingpattern but this is one of the most relevant =)
Callingstations simply call anything! They seem unable to bet and raize so potsize is always up to others.The negative is that its hard to scare them off a hand. They are more than willing to hang on and they really love the big pots (and the possibility to win them – heh)
A callingstation can mean both nuts and nothing: Maby they sit on nuts and check calls? Maby they sit on nothing and just hope for a monster river?
If green is a callingstation you probably should watch out. The check-call because they think thay are smart =) Do not go in the trap to scare them off with an all in on river! Its better to check around the table at the river (unless you have nuts).
If a red is a callingstation its a true beliver =) More exact a hybrid we could call “loose caller”.
Here you can earn some chips. A loosecaller are hoping to hit that big hand on river. Here you can bet flop and turn followed with a major big bet on river. If you have read him right and you “realize” he hasnt hit his flush – then he will fold off at last bet.
Well most significant for callingstations: You can choose to check to river or you can choose to make the pot grow in masses. If you have the nuts you really want to meet a callingstation coz the will pay you off. Tip: Even a callingstation can get scared. Dont scare him off unless you want to…
Well finally something about tableimage. If you intend to go long in a tournament its importat to reflect how your oponents see you. Have you played as tight folder or a loose aggressive? Also – like playing tight agressive your tableimage is spoiled if your bluffs get revealed.
Sharks take notice about your bettingpattern, your cardvariety how likely you fight for your blinds and on what positions you play. Make sure you know what image you have given. Its nothing about what image you want to give – its about how your oponents will act against you (coz they have already a picture).
Some information can be misleading – I earlier gave A 4 as a craphand only reds are playing. Well if you early win an uncontested all in with A 4 you can always play the stupid =) Reveal A 4 and all knows that you think thoose cards are OP.
By default – Then never play A 4 again. Next time you play all in you have AK and will probably meet someone calling with A9 ? =) Also – a tip is to show as little cards as possible. There is always a mystery about the guys not showing their cards. To reveal the nuts when you are uncontested is to say that they were right folding – lets just keep that as your own secret and make them pay to see cards?
But what i wanted to say about tableimage: Players will act against you in a way that mirrors how you have played at the table. If you have played with anything some ppl have noticed it?
If you have given a image as green ppl will a lot likely belive in your bluffs. If you have given a image as red your bluffs is less likely to belive in – luckily you are chipleader and unless they have nuts they will fold anyway 😉
Last tip is to change playstyle over time: Ofc you should mix in som bluffs if you are green (tight agressive). When you “should have nuts”, after ten folding hands, you can always play as if you got it. Everybody dont expect anything else after ten folding hands and unless someone else has a powerhand you will be able to win the blinds. This is important if you dont want to decrease in stack. Also – if you are surrounded by red aggressives my advise is to go more green. If the table is filled with a bunsh of tight folders there is plenty of space to “mix in” some bluffs even for the most novice of pokerplayers.
Everything is based upon how well you can learn your oponents and how well you can make use of your information. Make them comfortably with your playstyle and surprise them only in the big wins 😉 In Prominence poker you dont have to play like a rook – It feels like 80% red players and with only 6-handed all a more variety of cards should be played even by the most “conservative tights”.