Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Quick Exercises to Make You a Better Player – Part Two

Here’s another quick exercise to undertake with play money while you wait for legal online poker to resume in the USA (Washington has better things to do right now, and it’ll take the states a while to get rolling, and that’s limited, so…make good use of your time now).  A reminder – these exercises are designed to help you at tournament play, mostly Sit ‘n’ Gos.  And they involve play money instead of the real thing because you’re going to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do at a cash game, or a tournament for real money.  At least, I don’t think you would.

Today’s exercise:  you are to play in a tournament and ONLY call.  You can’t raise…and you can’t fold.  That’s right…call everything.

Yes, that’s stupid, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll make it far.  That’s to be expected.

So what can you get out of this exercise? 

What I’d like you to concentrate on is how long it takes before other players pick up on what you’re doing…and then, take advantage of it.  Note how many actually notice what you’re doing…and more importantly, how many DON’T.

Unlike the first exercise, calling all the time isn’t a good thing.  And yet, low level players/beginners call more often than anything…they don’t raise unless they have a monster (and then, everyone else knows about it), and they fold because they don’t like their cards, which to some players isn’t very often (I could make two pair with this, or catch a back-end straight, or some other nonsense). 

But calling all the time serves you no purpose.  You’re not dictating the action, just reacting, and reacting in a passive way.  That’s deadly.

And that’s what you need to learn about aggression.  It pays.  Reacting doesn’t.  Of course, in the course of a normal tournament you’d take a variety of action – call, fold, and raise.  That’s strategy, and it should be based on your cards, your position, your stack level, your opponents’ tendencies, their stack levels, etc. etc. etc.

So try this exercise just a couple of times.  Only call, never raise or fold, in a SnG or two, and see what happens.  You’ll get frustrated.  You’ll see how observant your opponents are (not very, I assume).  And you’ll never want to play this way again.  I hope.  And this exercise will make more sense when we do #3, next time.

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