Poker Help or Hindrance

When trying to improve your poker skills we all need to ascertain what is considered poker help or hindrance. Whilst sitting around the poker table we are confronted with all types of players with different levels of experience and more importantly different types of personalities. We are all aware you gain a lot of knowledge from both listening and watching your opponents. You can imagine if you can identify these personality traits early, you are at a great advantage over your opponents.

Poker help comes from learning about people more so than learning about the cards. You can always have the best hand, but if you cannot read your opponent then quite often you may be bluffed out of a pot. So what types of people can you expect to find?

First and foremost you have the beginners, the ones that are new to the game. They act out of turn, bet too much or too little, play the wrong cards and more often than not are quite easy to read. However, be aware these types of players can be dangerous! They don’t know the common etiquette or generals rules and quite often think they have a monster. This can lead to danger as it can be hard to push them out of a pot and heaven forbid, luck will generally hit them on the river. I’m not saying don’t take advantage of them, I’m saying study them carefully and pick you timing. Furthermore, there is a common phrase,

“If you can’t spot the donk at your table, chances are it is you!”

Then of course you have the tight conservative players. They’re easy to pick as they don’t play out of position without a decent hand. They don’t see too many flops. And they fold a lot of hands. Keep an eye on their range and you can often push them out of pots with low, rainbow type flops.

Of course to contradict the tight player, you will indefinitely have a loose player. Often this can be mistaken for someone who knows what they are doing. Human behaviour suggests that many things are often a numbers game. The more flops you see, the more chance you’ve got to hit. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good players. Pushing players around is a very useful tactic and this can be easily done from a loose player, because if you haven’t studied them enough it is often hard to tell if they are playing with nothing.

These are simply three basic types of regular poker players you will find at the tables and to gain some real poker help you will need to identify a lot more. However, I simply want to blog about one in particular. The invisible opponent player.

What is an invisible opponent player I hear you ask?

An invisible opponent player is generally the player at the table who believes he is the best player at the table. He knows all the rules (and his happy to recite them), he knows a lot of the players around the table/room, he talks like he owns the table and most importantly he will comment on the way an opponent plays as if that particular player is not even at the table. Like the opponent was invisible.

It can be seen as a form of bullying, where this player is attempting to belittle the opponents play and suggest they do not know what they are doing. To go so far as pretend the opponent is not even at the table can be quite intimidating for the opponent. And more often than not this player may be a beginner. So poker players starting out, or even semi experienced should try not to be too intimidated by this type of tactic. It is mainly driven by ego and quite often it comes from losing a hand.

I was confronted with just this type of play, which I found enormously humorous. I was playing in a local casino tournament, feeling my way around, getting comfortable with the environment. We were into the second blinds 50-100 and I picked up a small pocket pair. It was only myself and the small blind in the hand and we checked it down to the river. The cards fell 10,8,2 with a 7 on the turn and a J on the river. SB took a stab at the pot betting 300. Now the majority would have folded with an easy 9 making a straight. However, so early in the tournament with the bet only amounting to approximately 1% of my chips, I thought it was good value to get a read on my opponent. If he had the 9, I take value in the size of his bet, if he hit the board I get another read and if he was bluffing, not only do I catch him up, but I get the real result I actually want… Not the fact that I win the hand, but the reaction he gives me for calling him.

Low and behold, I got this exact reaction. He was peeved to say the least. Is it humiliation in getting caught bluffing? Yes. It’s often a silly call, however, my reasoning is in the value this will hold in the future. I could have told him and clarified I knew what I was doing, but I wanted him to think I was ordinary. Because the result I got was far more satisfying.

Now, the poker help I received from this hand was more valuable than the little 800 size pot. I picked up his bluff and became aware of simple little tells. And yes, I did catch him up again.

What this resulted in was the constant story he told to his poker buddies around the table and around the room. Insisting I was a donk, in two particular hands I played with him. Hmm surprise, surprise he lost both of them. But the point is he continued to discuss each hand as if I wasn’t even there.

I became the invisible poker opponent.

I found this hysterical. I had caught him out bluffing twice and he thinks I’m the idiot. Now don’t get me wrong, he was a good player, my criticism is with his assumptions in the type of player I was. I have written many a blog post suggesting my reasons for playing poker and it’s not only the winning, it’s more about the interaction with others and their perceptions of reality.

There is a great gap between one’s ego of losing a hand and one being correct in their judgment. The only real benefit of treating an opponent as invisible is to intimidate them; unfortunately most of them do it out of dented pride.

So, if you do find yourself in this situation, way up the benefits of putting them in their place. You will be better off keeping quiet and banking the information. Try not to take it personally. Remember, even if you did play the hand poorly you can still use this to your advantage in the future as this opponent may think twice before bluffing you again. However, I always advise study your opponents, you cannot judge the whole game on one read.

Good luck at the tables and always make it about the players.

There are more personality traits in poker players to look for. Please suggest any you would like me to cover in a blog post by leaving a message below. We are always interested in what you have to say. As we continuously say, share the knowledge.

Remember, Poker Power – The Power is in Your Hands!

ustify;”>When trying to improve your poker skills we all need to ascertain what is considered poker help or hindrance. Whilst sitting around the poker table we are confronted with all types of players with different levels of experience and more importantly different types of personalities. We are all aware you gain a lot of knowledge from both listening and watching your opponents. You can imagine if you can identify these personality traits early, you are at a great advantage over your opponents.

Poker help comes from learning about people more so than learning about the cards. You can always have the best hand, but if you cannot read your opponent then quite often you may be bluffed out of a pot. So what types of people can you expect to find?

First and foremost you have the beginners, the ones that are new to the game. They act out of turn, bet too much or too little, play the wrong cards and more often than not are quite easy to read. However, be aware these types of players can be dangerous! They don’t know the common etiquette or generals rules and quite often think they have a monster. This can lead to danger as it can be hard to push them out of a pot and heaven forbid, luck will generally hit them on the river. I’m not saying don’t take advantage of them, I’m saying study them carefully and pick you timing. Furthermore, there is a common phrase,

“If you can’t spot the donk at your table, chances are it is you!”

Then of course you have the tight conservative players. They’re easy to pick as they don’t play out of position without a decent hand. They don’t see too many flops. And they fold a lot of hands. Keep an eye on their range and you can often push them out of pots with low, rainbow type flops.

Of course to contradict the tight player, you will indefinitely have a loose player. Often this can be mistaken for someone who knows what they are doing. Human behaviour suggests that many things are often a numbers game. The more flops you see, the more chance you’ve got to hit. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good players. Pushing players around is a very useful tactic and this can be easily done from a loose player, because if you haven’t studied them enough it is often hard to tell if they are playing with nothing.

These are simply three basic types of regular poker players you will find at the tables and to gain some real poker help you will need to identify a lot more. However, I simply want to blog about one in particular. The invisible opponent player.

What is an invisible opponent player I hear you ask?

An invisible opponent player is generally the player at the table who believes he is the best player at the table. He knows all the rules (and his happy to recite them), he knows a lot of the players around the table/room, he talks like he owns the table and most importantly he will comment on the way an opponent plays as if that particular player is not even at the table. Like the opponent was invisible.

It can be seen as a form of bullying, where this player is attempting to belittle the opponents play and suggest they do not know what they are doing. To go so far as pretend the opponent is not even at the table can be quite intimidating for the opponent. And more often than not this player may be a beginner. So poker players starting out, or even semi experienced should try not to be too intimidated by this type of tactic. It is mainly driven by ego and quite often it comes from losing a hand.

I was confronted with just this type of play, which I found enormously humorous. I was playing in a local casino tournament, feeling my way around, getting comfortable with the environment. We were into the second blinds 50-100 and I picked up a small pocket pair. It was only myself and the small blind in the hand and we checked it down to the river. The cards fell 10,8,2 with a 7 on the turn and a J on the river. SB took a stab at the pot betting 300. Now the majority would have folded with an easy 9 making a straight. However, so early in the tournament with the bet only amounting to approximately 1% of my chips, I thought it was good value to get a read on my opponent. If he had the 9, I take value in the size of his bet, if he hit the board I get another read and if he was bluffing, not only do I catch him up, but I get the real result I actually want… Not the fact that I win the hand, but the reaction he gives me for calling him.

Low and behold, I got this exact reaction. He was peeved to say the least. Is it humiliation in getting caught bluffing? Yes. It’s often a silly call, however, my reasoning is in the value this will hold in the future. I could have told him and clarified I knew what I was doing, but I wanted him to think I was ordinary. Because the result I got was far more satisfying.

Now, the poker help I received from this hand was more valuable than the little 800 size pot. I picked up his bluff and became aware of simple little tells. And yes, I did catch him up again.

What this resulted in was the constant story he told to his poker buddies around the table and around the room. Insisting I was a donk, in two particular hands I played with him. Hmm surprise, surprise he lost both of them. But the point is he continued to discuss each hand as if I wasn’t even there.

I became the invisible poker opponent.

I found this hysterical. I had caught him out bluffing twice and he thinks I’m the idiot. Now don’t get me wrong, he was a good player, my criticism is with his assumptions in the type of player I was. I have written many a blog post suggesting my reasons for playing poker and it’s not only the winning, it’s more about the interaction with others and their perceptions of reality.

There is a great gap between one’s ego of losing a hand and one being correct in their judgment. The only real benefit of treating an opponent as invisible is to intimidate them; unfortunately most of them do it out of dented pride.

So, if you do find yourself in this situation, way up the benefits of putting them in their place. You will be better off keeping quiet and banking the information. Try not to take it personally. Remember, even if you did play the hand poorly you can still use this to your advantage in the future as this opponent may think twice before bluffing you again. However, I always advise study your opponents, you cannot judge the whole game on one read.

Good luck at the tables and always make it about the players.

There are more personality traits in poker players to look for. Please suggest any you would like me to cover in a blog post by leaving a message below. We are always interested in what you have to say. As we continuously say, share the knowledge.

Remember, Poker Power – The Power is in Your Hands!

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