Why Paying Attention To Opponents Pays Off! Example from PokerTracker!

Often times while playing, we don't pay attention to our opponents as individuals. We get stuck in a robotic state and play each hand the same way, regardless of whom we are playing. It's crucial to know what types of players you are up against, and to play the hand accordingly. Different player types will react differently, thus our plans will change based on who is in the pot.

In this example I will discuss how in certain situations one should will play a hand differently. This hand history is against some loose players who are not very good, and my read on the villain is that he is reckless and bluffs a lot. He has 3 bet many times and bets the pot often. This type of player can be categorized as a loose fishier type player.

We start the hand with 99 from early position. We make a standard raise to 3x the big blind.


Learn from poker tracker hand history


We get 3 callers all of whom are weaker players. The villain in this hand is the player circled in red. The other two opponents in the pot are passive and we aren't concerned with them. However, going into a pot with 3 callers isn't the best situation and our plan should be to tread lightly. Since our opponents are weak we aren't worried about getting bluffed and can often get to a cheap showdown. If any of the two players on shorter stacks bet, we are most likely folding if we don't get a decent flop. If the villian bets, we will assess our situation based on what the weaker players do, and on board texture.

The flop comes and it's relatively draw heavy. With flush and straight draws, this board connects with the players calling ranges. At this point we should be looking to check and not put much money in the pot. We are out of position, and if we bet, it's unlikely we will get 3 folds. Our best option is to check and see what happens.


Learn from Poker Tracker Hand History

One of the best outcomes happens: everyone checks behind us. Depending on the turn card that comes out next, we may want to bet. Any non-spade or card that won’t complete a straight would be a good card to bet on.

Unfortunately, the turn brings a 7, which may complete a straight if anyone is holding a 6. Our best option is to check since we will only be called by a better hand, and all worse hands will likely fold.


Learn from Poker Tracker Hand History

We do check, and the villain, who has been bluffing a lot and playing recklessly, bets about 3/4 pot. If anyone else had called we would just dump our hand and move on. However, in this spot everyone folds and the action is on us. The board is quite draw-heavy, and against most opponents we could safely fold. If we think about what the villain could have, his bet doesn't make much sense. He is most likely going to bet a draw or made hand on the flop since he is aggressive. When he bets out here he is not representing much.  The best option here is to call. Raising serves no purpose since he will just fold his bluffs and only continue with hands that beat us.

The river brings the 8, which does make a higher straight but in theory is irrelevant since the straight was already made on the turn and we aren't putting villain on anything but a bluff. Again, betting here is no good since he folds his bluffs and calls or raises hands that beat us. Every other hand such as a pair of 8s or 5s folds. Our best option is to check and call most bets.

We check and villain checks behind and shows KQ off suit. Our read was right and we take down the pot.


Learn from Poker Tracker Hand History

This hand represents how to adjust against different players. Against a solid regular, we would most likely just fold if they bet since they are often showing up with a real hand here and aren't stupid enough to try a bluff against 3 people. Against this type of weaker opponent we have to think differently and make decisions based on our previous reads.

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