Do You Know Your Opponent’s Poker Style?
My name is Justin, and I’ve been playing online poker professionally for three years. I’m a big, but I don’t want to be a big league in every hand. After a few months, the game dynamics changed drastically. I couldn’t get ahead. I couldn’t catch. Then I learned how to win.
Winning at online poker requires a lot of skill, but also an excellent amount of luck. The skill comes from the different techniques you can use in the game of poker, especially in knowing your opponent’s tendencies. Certain styles, known as “poker styles”, have been identified. Although they have been around for a while, many of the techniques are either overrated, or don’t really work like the rest of the tips on the site.
The biggest poker secret of all is this: raising AA pre-flop is the same as raising KK pre-flop. Both show you that you have a very good hand. Raising tends to be more effective in two situations:
- When you are playing Bolagila players that have a very loose starting hand, like QQ, and you want to get chips with a continuation bet.
- When you are playing against players that have a tight starting hand, like JJ, and you want to get chips in with a bet because they will fold to a raise.
The poker strategy of raising has no effect on which you pick to raise with. You raise the same with everyone. The effect of raising, however, is to change the game into a raising war. When you hit a hand, you will get more folds. The more people fold when you hit, the more you win. The object of the game is NOT to see a flop and get called, but to stick it out until you make a better hand.
The problem with calling is that you don’t know what the person who raised you wants to do. Do they want to just fold? If so, they can fold without remorse. If they want to play, they can keep playing. Do you really know this whether the person raised with AA or KK?
The point is, raising can work, raising doesn’t always win, but raising will sometimes work, and raising will sometimes hurt. Check out several options before you choose just one.
For example, if you have AK and raise 3x the big blind, you will probably get no calls. If you flop a set, you’re golden. If you don’t, and someone else has a better set, you can get out of the hand. It’s a good enough hand to raise with, especially against the right situation. If you’re up against greedy people, you can steal the blinds. If you’re up against calling stations, you can steal the money.
What hands to raise with are more situational. You will get called more often if you raise with pocket pairs in a later position. If you raise with AK and the table checks around to you, you can get some action. If two people call and the flop gives you a bunch of medium-stacks, you don’t want to fold this hand. Consider raising with it against the right opponents. If you’re being check-raised, you probably won’t see a flop, but if you’re being called-raised, you’ll get some action.
When you raise with pocket pairs, you will probably only want to be re-raised on the flop if someone under the gun raises you. Against an aggressive player, you won’t want to give them a free card. Against tight players, you can let them see a free card if they check the turn. When it comes to out of position play, you can even raise them if you want to risk a free card because they won’t usually raise you back.
You should also bluff with pocket pairs. If everyone checks to you and you have the high pair, you should raise. Since you raised pre-flop, everyone will probably think there is a set. They may not want to take the risk, but some times they will call and you can steal the blinds.
The general strategy to play with pocket pairs is to push them all in with any strength and try to get as many people to fold as possible. You only want three or four people to call. Never fall in love with your hand or go all-in. The odds say you will lose more often than not. You want to maximize your chips.