Dear 888 Poker,
At times when I play poker, I feel like that guy on the beach who gets sand kicked in his face for no reason. It’s hard to admit, but I get bullied. If I didn’t enjoy the game so much, I certainly wouldn’t play as frequently as I do, but is there any action I can take to prevent being pushed about?
You’re probably too young to remember this, but many years ago, a very successful newspaper advertising campaign featured a guy called ‘Charles Atlas’ who was fed up with continually having sand kicked in his face and so he resolved to do something about it.
His response was very straight forward: he went back home and built up his resistance to the bully using the Charles Atlas weight-training system. He ‘bulked up’, returned to the beach, faced his bullies and won the undivided attention of the ladies.
It seems to me that, from a poker perspective, you’ve identified the problem, namely getting shoved around, and only you can fix it. The good news is that there’s no weight training involved.
Before you do, it’s worth understanding why some opponents try pushing others about: in truth, it’s precisely what more experienced players do to pull in regular profits. You have to understand this is not because they get dealt better cards, it’s because they know how to bully opponents and scoop the pot even when they don’t have premium hands.
Why is this? It’s attributable to their attitude. These guys are confident – they don’t switch their computers on, settle at the virtual table, start playing and expect to lose money; they have little fear on this front. Instead, they’re comfortable with the financial risk they’re taking and set targets, hungry to secure success. It’s another truism that you cannot play poker properly if you’re continually worried about how much you might lose.
In your circumstances, this could mean dropping down to a lower buy-in level for a while to regain some confidence. I advocate this because you never want to be in a position where you’re thinking, “I’ve got this guy, but there’s no way I can call $x amount”. Try this approach, rid yourself of fear and come back roaring at the bullies! Subsequently winning the undivided attention of the ladies is also down to you.
The Poker Guru
Dear 888 Poker,
I understand that calculating genuine pot odds can vary according to the type of player you are. Is this correct?
I’ve always maintained that poker’s appeal is a function of the fact that, irrespective of how good you are and the level at which you play, everyone has the option to select the odds under which they’re prepared to play. However, it’s important to distinguish between theoretical and realistic odds because better players focus on drawing to ‘clean’ outs which will obviously shortens their odds because there’s fewer of them,.
In other words, a player with a basic grasp of odds will believe he has a much greater chance of winning than the guy who refuses to blindly follow odds tables. The latter, more astute player, will think about how the action may unfold on each street and how many genuine, ‘clean’ outs he actually has before betting.
It’s a complicated aspect of the game, but the short answer to your question is ‘yes’: more accomplished players will, invariably, have a greater awareness of the odds they’re getting before betting.
The Poker Guru