Strategy / Are You a Poker Player from the Past?
Are You a Poker Player from the Past?Jeudi, 10 juillet 2014
Poker has evolved quicker during the last ten years than during all its history until today. The popularity and the accessibility of the game having multiplied tenfold, the evolution of the strategic approach has made giants steps as well. You were the one with pockets full of cash at the end of your home poker games ten years ago? I regret to inform you that your innate talent for the poker is probably not sufficient anymore today. Let’s see the approaches which qualify you as a poker player from the past:
C-bet are not sufficient anymore
You used to be this aggressive player who managed to win the pot at the flop by betting it every time after having raised preflop, even when you didn't improve your hand? Then new generation of players, the one that prefers pixels to plastic cards, will certainly stun you! If the continuation bet remains relevant, using it automatically will quickly lead you to disaster. Nowadays, players recognize those who bet systematically, and understand how to fight against them. With a hand lower than yours, they will not hesitate to raise, or simply call, with the purpose to steal the pot at the first sign of weakness on the subsequent streets. Not only did players adapt themselves to these automatic c-bets on the flop, but some of them also adapted against those who have adopted this plan. In other words, the game has evolved several degrees!
“Got it or don’t have it”
To speak about concepts such as implicit odds ten years ago would have aroused more derisive glances at the table than anything else. In the past, decisions were rather polarized: I hit a hand or not. I bet or not. I call the bet or not. Grey zones between these fundamental decisions were almost trivial.
Nowadays, players have learned to plan the evolution of a hand. The question is no more to know if I have a sufficient good hand to follow, but rather if the reward is good enough versus my chances to improve my hand. Seems too expensive to see the next card? Today' s good players wonder how much they can extirpate from you if they get the right card, and so weigh their decision in a relatively evolved mathematical juggling. If you are not familiar with these methods, you may become their victim.
Play against a player on a draw
There was a time when a draw to a straight or a flush was roughly approximated. Too attractive to give up, so the player used to pray the poker Gods for good luck, and ideally to get an affordable price to see the next card. Not only the understanding of the mathematical equation has given a rational approach to the way to process the different draws, but the development of an aggressive strategy has led to the understanding of a powerful weapon: fold equity.
Playing against a player on a drawing hand is not that easy anymore. In the old days, betting enough to make the draw non profitable to our opponent and slowing down when this one seemed completed was sufficient to have the upper hand against opponents. Often, the player's reaction, quickly and half-smilingly calling - as if he had no other choice than to leave his fate to luck – made it easy to understand the situation. Today, players know that several drawing hands situations are simply a flip on the flop. Consequently, against a bet, they will probably raise. Acting this way, they get the opportunity to eliminate a marginal hand, equal or superior to theirs. To adequately put a player on a draw is now more complex; defending against opponents who play in an aggressive way is even more dangerous.
Powerful statistical tools
You took time to observe the tendencies at the poker table, even without being involved in the current hand? Then, by discovering the people who played an abnormally high or small number of hands, you have already learned a lot about who you have to target or to avoid. Try this on an online table, and you'll find yourself light years behind your competitors, already using numerous statistical tools, cumulating an incredible number of variables. They know the number of played hands, but also your betting/raising habits, your preferences for one or another action on the flop, at the turn or at the river, as well as your habits to defend your blinds against an aggressive player, even your exact success rates when you get to the showdown. Unless you have a super player instinct, it is very hard to be successful in such a fight, on such unequal territory.
Poker evolution does not mean you cannot play anymore; nevertheless, as it is the case in any competition, you always have to update your skills, so you can distance yourself from the others. Poker changes cannot be seen as linear, but much more as circular. Indeed, for every new strategy becoming popular, the optimal way to control it does exist. The best way is to keep informed practicing, as well as updating your skills!
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