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“Change Course Skipper”
Change your play or Mix it up, both of these three work phrases are well imprinted into most of all poker literature ever printed. These terms are well rehearsed by poker players the world over, so much in fact that one may think that perhaps if may not be such a good idea as everyone leads you to believe. Every played has his or her own ingrown style of play, now if you play the same hand the same way each and every time, other players will soon and I mean soon cotton on to what your doing, what cards you hold and then use your methods against you.
For example if every time that you are dealt pocket aces you raise 3.5x and only limp every other hand then it is only fair to say that unless someone is reckless and looking to suck out on you, everyone will fold each and every time you raise 3.5x. Ok so you may say fine, I always lose with pocket aces anyhow and if I only win the blinds than I’m happy with that! If that’s you point of view, soon the same will be the case with pocket kings, pocket queens and etc. Soon every hand with give you the negative expectation and believe me that when this happens, it is time to step away from the poker table, time for a break to re asses your mindset. Sitting down at the poker table must remain a positive experience, if when you sit down your internal expectation is to lose then you will lose, the mind will change your game or mix it up for you, not profitable. Now don’t get me wrong, mixing up your play is a necessity, to be a profitable player you must change your style and remain somewhat random.
The catch here is to control the swings in play style, there is a fine line to playing a solid game and mixing it up. I like to change the motto from ‘mix it up” to “mix it up when..”, the benefit here is that a thought process needs to be implemented before you allow yourself to change your style. If you change your style and patterns just for fun, just to be random you run the risk of losing control of your “a game”, your most profitable style. Step too far away from this and beware, during the course of a session if may be to difficult to rein yourself back in, step to far over the line, lose some pots due to bad decisions because your involved in pots you shouldn’t be because you chased that 6 outer just because you thought you would mix it up. Its at this point frustration takes hold, closely followed by tilt and suddenly that stack of chips you slaved over for the past 3 hours has whittled and your near felted and out.
The method here is to choose reasons and situation to change it up, think someone has a read on you, great, now use it against them. They think you only raise with big hands pre flop, so once every 2 or 3 orbits make a similar raise with suited connectors or smaller pockets, the secret being not to choose a junk hand that has a low post flop expectation and not to do it too often. Too often and players will pickup on it and no give you respect, something that can take hours to get back once lost. The idea here is to play a your solid “A game”, build respect and then pick your spots to mix it up when the situation presents itself. If you keep getting caught out then pull back and re group for a another opportunity. Subtle changes or fair more profitable than wholesale style fluctuations. Don’t check raise the same player every time they check to you, check behind occasionally even if a check raise seems the best play, you don’t want to stereotype your self, players don’t like being picked on or bullied, they tend to react in a manner without a proper thought process, they may lose some small pots to you but the chance that they over bet and try to suck out on you opens up the possibility of losing a big pot to them with you holding a hand that you could have got away from. Out play weaker players, beating them with a better game plan is a better way to bigger profits. Tight aggressive is widely considered to be the most profitable style for a winning player, a player who regularly bets and raises and only shows the best hand at showdown. Now this may be true but after a period if you’re the tight/aggressive player you will find that you struggles to get any action, opponents with stay out of pots that you are involved in and winning only blinds with struggle to cover the hourly charge at most casino’s. This is the time of the game that I would suggest limping with aces or kings, limping with other pockets and suited connectors when its folded to you in late position, be expecting to lower your expectations of winning at the show down but you find more action when you revert to your “A game” and build bigger pots with bigger hands. The game of poker is never about just playing one hand at a time, previous hand history plays a big part.