The First Step To Success Is Finding The Opportunities

I’ve spoken at length about the importance and value of seeking out mistakes in our opponents’ play.  For instance, we know that a lot of players these days will fold too much, especially in certain situations, and these mistakes are very easy to exploit, as we simply need to take down pots in these situations.


hidden value

There is a lot of value out there when you look hard enough for it

Other players may play too loosely, and although that’s less common in today’s games, these players do still exist.  Some opponents will simply bet too much especially when it should be obvious to them that they are behind, and you see a lot of this and this is today’s calling station.  We could call them betting stations actually.


So against these players we are looking to either push them off their bluffs later in the hand or go to showdown with them with better hands on average than they play.  Beating these players isn’t too difficult either, although there is certainly more to think about than just firing off at pots and raking them in.


So I want to take this one step further and introduce our Sklansky type mistakes into the mix, to consider how we may take even better advantage of the shortcomings in opponents’ play.


The Too Tight Player


These players like to fold too much, and they are very common.  In the last article I spoke about holding off on our aggression to look to get them to loosen up with weaker hands than we have.  This can definitely work well depending on the kind of opponent we are against.


So if your opponent is tight and aggressive, and will tend to pounce on shows of weakness from us and do so pretty lightly, as aggressive players tend to do, then this is definitely an option.


Another benefit of this is to train them not to take our checks too lightly, especially if we are out of position and are able to check raise them when they do this.


We often do not want to go to showdown here as we don’t need a hand to push them off of their bluffs, but there will be times when we do, and this will all depend on what we have and how it stacks up to what we believe they generally make the moves that they are making with.


Sklansky’s Theorem In Action Here


So all the while we are thinking about what would be best if the cards were all face up, and while we don’t have that knowledge, we do have our best estimation of what is going on here, and if we have thought all of this out carefully, this will have this theorem working great for us.


So what we’re looking for here is first to look to fold out better hands from them as this is how we really profit.  If we can win with our good hands as often as we should and also win a nice amount when the opponent has the better hand, then this really gives us a nice advantage overall.


There will be plenty of times though where we’re more than happy to get them to fold a worse hand, when the chances of benefiting by not betting aren’t high enough for us to consider it.  We really don’t want to just give them free cards to hit their hand without a purpose, and while there may be one, a lot of the times there isn’t.


So this would seem to run contrary to Sklansky’s theorem, but keep in mind that the goal here is to look to elicit mistakes from our opponents while avoiding mistakes of our own.  So when it comes time to decide to bet, if we saw that we had the best hand we’d bet it as long as there wasn’t a better reason not to, so our not betting it without a good reason would be a mistake on our part.


Now the opponent may or may not make a mistake here, and anything but folding when behind without the proper odds would be, but sometimes they just plain play correctly.


Even if we know that our opponent will always make the correct move here, this doesn’t affect our initial decision of making the correct move or not, and once again it’s always a mistake to check the better hand unless we’re looking to provoke our opponent into making a bigger mistake often enough.


So sometimes these sort of mistakes on our part are not only acceptable, but ideal, but when we do we need to be clear on their offering enough opportunity to take advantage of bigger ones, where the price we play is clearly worth it in terms of what we gain by making these moves.


So in the next session I will talk about how this all applies to looser players, including those who are loose aggressive.