Strategy A = bad, home game sort of poker, playing lots of hands, going for draws without getting pot odds, etc. Basically, it is the sort of poker you played before you were enlightened by reading
my advice on this blog any of the good poker books out there, all of which, IMHO, steal the basic ideas from S/S and TOP.
Strategy B = the enlightened strategy that closely follows the heap of books out there
Strategy C = the way I now think you should play.
I believe that the books are overwhelmingly based on an assumption that there are a lot of players out there playing Strategy A. And if there are, then I think that Strategy B should completely dominate Strategy A. However, and perhaps this is just my experience, I think that there are very few people out there playing Strategy A. This is due to the common explanation that the A'ers went broke or became B'ers since 2003. This is also because there isn't a steady stream of new players because so many people jumped into the game in 2003. (In business parlance, I would say there was a draw on the backlog; there is no remaining inventory to put on the market.) So, when I sit down at a table, I think everyone is playing Strategy B. Even if one fish is playing Strategy A, I have a 1/9 chance of being the lucky B'er to get his money. What would be more profitable would be to figure out how to beat the B'ers, since in most hands you will be up against one of them.
My whole thesis rests on this assumption: you will be playing against primarily A'ers. If that is not your experience, read no further (but tell me where you are playing, because your game sounds juicy!)
So, what then is the right way to foil the B?
Conceptually, I would follow these rules:
- Assume your opponent is playing by the book. Assume that when he makes a hand, he will bet it.
- Assume that he thinks you are an A'er. For example, when you call, assume that he thinks you are on a draw.
Following these two guiding principles will make you some money off of enlightened players. There are all sorts of implications of these principles, many of which you will find out if you just remind yourself of these two principles before each decision.
I'll give you an easy example that follows these principles: If you have a good hand in late position (say, flopped a set), it just might be the right decision to call (not raise) a bet from your opponent. Since you assume he is an A'er, he is unlikely to be betting on a draw (unless he is Junell). Also, because he is an A'er, he should fold if you pop him. By just calling on the flop (and turn), you will eke more money off of him. Also, now that your hand is disguised (remember, he thinks you are on a draw), you can confuse the shit out of him when you pop him on the river. The downsides to slowplaying a solid hand are explained well in your poker books, but I just think that the dangers are mitigated by the circumstances you are in here. You are highly likely to be in a position that dominates your opponent (say, pairing the board gives you a higher boat than him). There are downsides, sure, but there are downsides to every strategy. I just think that they are mitigated here, and I also think that calling for a couple streets will get more value out of your opponent than the raise (which would end the hand).
Heresy? I hope so.