playing poker

Tip 10 paying attention

Few intangibles affect your results in poker to the extent that your level of focus does.  Simply by paying attention to the action, you can learn what to expect from each of your opponents.  This does not refer strictly to the times you are involved in a hand; rather, you should be watching every hand, whether you are involved or not.

  By focusing on the game, you learn which players play loose, tight, passive, and aggressive, and how their position influences which hands they enter pots with.  Once you have a good read on their play, you can start developing effective strategies for beating them.  Although adhering to a solid basic strategy will help you become a winning hold’em player, that alone is not enough.  You must also make adjustments based on the other players in the pot.  Poker is a situational game, and each situation requires independent analysis.
  Here are two examples in which knowledge of your opponents allows you to make the proper decision:

Early Raise

You can’t treat an early-position raise from a player who raises every fourth hand the same as you would treat an early position raise from a player who seems to raise only every fourth year.
  This should be fairly obvious.  The first player could easily have a hand like A-7 suited or K-J offsuit if he raises this frequently.  Therefore, you should not be unduly apprehensive of this action.  Instead, you should reraise with any hand that you would ordinarily raise with in your position. Ideally, the hand will then be played out between you and the maniac, and you should be holding the best hand most of the time.

  But if it’s the tight player who raises in early position, you must fold all but your very best hands.  You should be saying to yourself, “This guy hasn’t raised since the Carter administration.  Just what can he have?”
  The answer, of course, is only a few hands: A-A, K-K, Q-Q, or maybe A-K.  so, it doesn’t do you much good to call his raise with J-J.  It’s a nice hand in absolute terms, but this is the time to toss it into the muck (the discard pile).  Also, if you are holding Q-Q, you are in trouble as well.  Your opponent is either a big favorite with his overpair, or close to an even money shot with A-K.  If ever there was a time to pass Q-Q, this is it.  If you stick to playing only A-A, K-K, and A-K suited when a super tight player raises, you won’t be contributing to his account.


Treat a limp a tight player differently from that of a loose one. 
  When a tight player calls, he is far more likely to hold a quality hand than when a loose player limps.  The tight player is not entering the pot with trash.  just because he didn’t raise the pot, you cannot assume he isn’t holding a quality hand.  Tight-passive  players commonly just call with hands such as T-T, A-Q, K-Q suited, or possibly even A-K and J-J.  With that in mind, it takes a monster to raise the pot behind him.  if you hold a hand such as A-Q or T-T, you are generally better off just calling a limp by a tight player.
  Conversely, you can play aggressively behind a loose player’s limp, in an attempt to isolate him in the pot.  It is nearly always a desirable situation if you can play a pot heads up against a weaker hand.  If a loose player has limped and you are on or next to the button, you can raise with any of the hands you would have played had it been folded around to you.  This can include hands as weak as K-T, which still figure to have a decent chance at being the best hand in this situation.  Plus, you hold the benefit of position.