Adjust to the Table
In poker a person must pay a lot of attention to their opponents to find out how their opponents are playing and how to take advantage of them. Poker players must find out which players are loose, which players are tight, which players are dangers, and which players are suitable to be targets. I played in a $5 No Limit Texas Holdem Sit and Go on Full Tilt Poker recently which shows just how important knowledge is.
I played very few hands in the first couple of hands so that I could observe my opponents. There were two loose-aggressive players to my immediate left, along with a maniac three seats to my right. I identified the rest of the players as ones who mostly played their cards, but with little regard preflop to what their opponents held. I prefer to play an aggressive style of play in the low blind levels, but with the two loose-aggressive players to my left, I didn’t want to call with hands that gave me chances for a big hand but were far behind the other hands in play, because there was a good chance that a player to my left would raise and force me to fold. This led me to playing a very tight game, but I was able to pick up a few wins here and there and keep a respectable stack in front of me.
Another reason why my stack stayed level with my competitor during this portion of the sit and go was that the maniac on my right seemed to believe that only two buttons existed, fold and all-in. He would frequently pick up the blinds and whatever calls were made before the action reached him, so most of the action ended up taking place in the hands he decided to fold.
My opponents gave me respect for my tight play, but hadn’t yet seen any of my hands as none of my wins ever made it to a showdown. This kept uncertainty in their minds of whether or not I truly had good hands or just had a talent for picking my spots. We were down two players when my patience and tight play paid off. I looked down to find pocket aces in early position. The player before me folded and I raised the pot to my standard of 3x the big blind.
One of the loose-aggressive players reraised and the short stack at this time called the reraise for about half his stack. The action came back to me. Pocket aces aren’t nearly as good against two opponents as they are against one opponent, but I felt that I needn’t worry too much. I was pretty sure that the player to my left had a high pocket pair while the shortstack had a pocket pair or high cards. I decided to push the rest of my stack into the pot, as I had the short stack easily covered while I was pretty sure I was dominating my other opponent, who had about 100 chips more than me. They both called. My instincts were good, as the player to my left held pocket jacks and the short stack held K-Q suited. The board was completely unremarkable, and I won the hand.
This is a good example of how to adjust to a table. I normally play an aggressive style, but had to scale back because there were a couple of loose-aggressive players to my left. I patiently waited for good hands and made them count. Finally I received a hand with which I broke the back of one of the loose-aggressives and eliminated another player. While my opponent did have what would’ve been a good hand under normal circumstances, the fact that I had been playing tight and raised from early position for the first time the entire game should’ve been a tip off. However, thanks to his nature I knew I could capitalize and I did.
Adjusting to your table is one of the most key aspects of being a good poker player. There are thousands of examples of why this is so. Hopefully this example will give you a little something to ponder and improve your game a little.