The Bully: How To Raise Your Game
Top Tips From Professional Poker Players
Expert Poker Player: Nicolau Villa-Lobos
Short player description:
Aggressive and belligerent
Global Poker Index 2015 Rank #557
Player of the Year Rank 2015 #400
Live Best Cash $608,248
All Time Money $1,160,434
All Time Money List Current Rank 1,142
Popularity Rank 1,817
Twitter Followers 7,221

A confident character with an eye catching fists-first policy, being a home poker Bully can be profitable - but it’s a high risk strategy, according to poker professional Nicolau Villa-Lobos. Just like in the real world, it’s all a matter of picking the right fights.

How To Dominate The Home Poker Table

Big game Brazilian Nicolau Villa-Lobos has carved himself a space at the top table of South American poker stars. With career winnings totalling over $1 million, he knows when to jump in and make a statement, or take a step back.

“Choose wisely the players you will play against” he advises, “This is really important for your bluffs to succeed. Remember - your story must make sense. Your opponent has to believe in what you are trying to tell them.”

A predictable Bully is one that’s easy to counter. Changing gears mid-game will keep people guessing and ensure that your strong-arm tactics are not dismissed as posturing. “Understand that you have to change your pace” says Nicolau, “If not, they will call your bluff at some point. A bully is only a bully when he knows when to give it a break, so when he starts bullying again, it’ll still be effective.”

The Bully: Understanding Poker Psychology

Picking your fights starts with keeping a beady eye on your competition. Be alert to their moves and understand who to target and who to tactically avoid.

Nicolau is very clear on where the opportunities lie. For the Bully, he believes that home poker Fish are there for the taking; “Here is your paycheck! But don’t bluff them too much - they never fold, and only do so when they miss their draw on the river”. The Maniac, too, is a great opportunity to take a healthy share of the spoils - if you have the nerve to take a step back. “Give them the rope to hang themselves, metaphorically speaking” suggests Nicolau.

Whilst the tough guy approach is a core part of the popular image of the Bully, caution is also a sensible and valuable asset of any effective Bully’s game plan. “Rocks love to fold, and love to trap, so be alert” he warns, “Sharks - avoid. If you choose to play against them, always be in the best position possible.” Learning to spot the danger of a sharp loss and a capable opponent is critical to a balanced, game-winning strategy.

As for dealing with other bullies, Nicolau strongly believes a show of strength is called for. “Bully! They hate when you start bullying them back - at some point, they will lose their temper.” By playing them at their own game, frustration will build and precipitate mistakes - the best home poker bullies know how to press buttons and maximise the result.

Top Tips To Raise Your Game

  1. First of all, study with the best. Seek out the best home poker players you know, and learn from every hand.
  2. Be patient! As in the classroom, the bully who waits for the teacher to turn to the blackboard will make the biggest impact. Timing is essential to accomplish your winning moves.
  3. Don't be scared! To play like a bully, you must be bold and certain from first to last. Trust your instincts and bluff them all!

Learn more about the different personas at the home poker table - explore the guide and discover expert tips for raising your game.