Play the Player not the Cards

 

I believe that a great poker player can win with any starting cards. This is because they have effectively learned how to play the player and not the cards. This means that they can manipulate their opponent in a way that will overcome the lack of strength of their own hands. This is an incredibly hard skill to master but you can use some elementary techniques to get you started and to improve your poker game. A sure sign that you are progressing as a poker player is when you notice that you pay less attention to you own hand and more attention to the actions of other players at the table. In this article I will briefly go over a few things youíre going to want to keep in mind when youíre attempting to play the player and not the cards.

The first thing you have to be aware of is the certain players playing style. Whether they are participating in a lot of hands or only a few hands. Whether they are constantly trying to employ traps or slow play big hands. Anything you can notice about a certain players consistent pattern of play will give you an upper hand whenever you find yourself matched up against them. Youíre also going to want to pay attention their past hands and how they play specific hands.

Another thing you want to pay great attention to is the board. You should know all the hands that a player can possible have given the board at that moment. Be aware of any possible drawing hands or less than noticeable hands that they may have. You can then use what is on the board, and in what order they appeared, and compare this to their betting pattern for that hand to get a good read on your opponents hand. Once you have this down you can be in a position to effectively manipulate you opponent and force them out of the hand.

The whole idea is to use their style of play against them. If they are an aggressive player you may want to slow play a strong hand because you believe that they are going to try and press you whenever they perceive you are in a position of weakness. If theyíre a tight player you may be able to more easily bluff them out of the hand since they tend to be more conservative players.