Friday, November 05, 2010

Putting it all together

A short while back, I made the affirmation that I was going to play more hands. I did this because of what I know of game theory and war strategy. The more dangerous you are, the more confrontations you can avoid. Its a simple postulate, but a psychological truth.

But it dawns on me this morning that me implementation strategy is flawed. Playing more hands may increase opportunity (and volatility), but the real way to strike fear into your opponents is to be dangerous. This is OFTEN misquoted and misinterpreted by players and people to mean aggression. And there is a great deal of truth to that. But that is more of a tactical view. What you really want to do is constantly create uncomfortable situations for your opponents.

You see this often on TV poker and you can read a great book length article on it in doubleas book "pressure poker". You find situations where you can apply pressure to your opponent. But what was missing from this (and also missing from the book) is the psychology behind it. Which is tied very closely to timing and its success or failure. The WSOP main event illustrates this very well. "When your opponent seems to want to play a small pot, pressure hit with a big bet. When your opponent wants to play a big pot, frustrate him with a fold." Obviously we see the first part of that statement in aggression at the table, but not enough credit (on TV certainly) is given to the second half. Denying your opponent the opportunity to set the pot size is in my opinion the single biggest asset next to your cards themselves.

How does Annette play an entire SnG or MTT without looking at her cards? This is how. Creating uncomfortable situation and obviously not disclosing the fact that she is playing blind.

1 comment:

HighOnPoker said...

I read somewhere (I no longer recall where) that folding can be an aggressive play. At first, the statement doesn't make sense, but when you work it through, as you described it, I can see the point. Folding is certainly more aggressive than calling, which is by definition passive; and when you fold (preflop, specifically), you are telling your opponent that you will set the terms of the hands you play, as opposed to playing a hand with your opponent in control.