Monday, May 01, 2006

Thinking about the stool

I have been thinking a bit lately about my 3 legged stool. I was trying to understand why I don't tend to see myself sucked out upon as often as some people. I think it comes down to how much you are trying to maximize your profit vs. how much variation you are willing to withstand.

I tend to be quite aggressive when I get starting cards. In many cases I will continue to push hard with my bets forcing the other player out of the hand. The advantage of this two-fold:
  • Much less suck-outs
  • Reveal very little of your cards
The disadvantage of this is you aren't really maximizing your profit.

Or are you? If you mix in a fair amount of bluffing in the above scenerio and develop a reputation as a tight, aggressive player, you can make profit in places that normally weren't possible.

Fundementally this is based on the idea that it takes better cards to call aggression than it does to bet/raise with them. By seldom revealing your cards, and always being aggressive with them, it takes really good cards for your opponent to call.

I think what I like best is even when they know you are doing it, it is still a hard call to make. Of course sometimes they make it and you actually have the cards you are representing. You can milk that play for the rest of the time you are at that table after that. ;-)

Of course you also have to mix your play up a little - it is really easy to stop being aggressive when you aren't really getting the cards - you just back off a little. If you are getting the cards, you have no reason to not continue the aggressive play.

The caveat here is you have to play with players who will actually recognise that you might have a hand - playing this way in a school of fish might not work as well. I suggest you try it when playing with bloggers - especially if you have the Hammer. ;-)

Obviously the devil is in the details and how much and when you do this makes a big difference. I adjust to the table I am playing with, the day of the week and lastly the phase of the moon. It appears to work fairly well for me.

Tell me what you think?

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