Is being unpredictable the key to winning at poker?
For example, every expert says to be aggressive, but they disagree on being tight vs loose. What about frequently switching between tight and loose? Or betting different random amounts?
- Divide By ZeroLv 71 month agoFavorite Answer
Predictability isn't inherently bad; *exploitable* predictability is bad. Not all predictable actions are exploitable. A trivial example: there's no way to exploit the predictable fact that I'm always going to raise on the river if I have the nuts. However, a habit of *only* raising with the nuts would be exploitable.
In a nutshell, the key to winning is maximizing EV. Through another lens, the key is being exploited less than your opponents. The elite players at the nosebleed stakes do this mostly by being unexploitable themsevles, playing a strategy that is as close to equilibrium as they can execute. From that baseline, they often make small adjustments to their opponents, while being aware that any adjustment they make opens themselves up to being exploited. But even with no adjustment, the player closer to equilibrium will win.
Against opponents who are more exploitable, you can focus on exploiting them and win that way. Being exploitable yourself isn't a problem if your opponents aren't exploiting you anyway.
> "every expert says to be aggressive, but they disagree on being tight vs loose. What about frequently switching between tight and loose?"
Tight, loose, aggressive, passive...these are relative terms that don't mean much to me anymore. Ideally you'd wanna play like PioSolver etc would, whatever style one would call that. Anything tighter/looser or more/less aggro than that is exploitable.
When I sit down to play, I'm never thinking, "I'm gonna be aggressive today!" I'm just trying to maximize my EV however that needs to be done. Sometimes an aggressive line is best. Sometimes a passive line is best. Against a fish I often choose my line based on how I think he'll react. Against a good player it's different - I'm trying to make my aggressions balanced and my passive lines balanced. If I were to only check with weak hands, he'd punish me for that. The opposite policy would be even worse. There is a balance somewhere in the middle.
If you're at a casino playing 1/2 NL, you wanna play tighter than the table is playing unless it's a table full of OMC ("old man coffee") nits. You exploit the 1/2 derps mostly by getting paid with your good hands.
By contrast, if your game is online 5/10 NL, you basically wanna play how the multi-tabling regulars are playing (esp the table-starters). They're the sharks and their style is pretty much the right style. Try to break even against them (long-term) while winning from the occasional random bad players who pop in and out. If/when you achieve that, try to surpass the sharks.
As for betting different random amounts, I wouldn't advise that. The main thing is to avoid having bet-sizing tells. Also, postflop tiny bets and massive overbets are usually bad.
- 1 month ago
Poker is an adaptive game towards the players your playing against. Phil Ivy quoted he never plays the same and has no intention of playing tight or lag or nitty on any particular day. In a basic cash game where you have 4 buy ins to back up your game it's best to play my style which is tight,aggressive and semi unpredictable. Always play hands from position and always bet the same. Say you on the button or the cutoff and have ak of suit bet 5 x the blinds 4 callers the flop rolls A-5-7 rainbow. with 75 bucks in the pot it's checked to you so bet 40 bucks,get 2 callers and see what happens read the board and bet the turn the same 70 bucks or so if it's a benign card. A river check is good sometimes because a guy with 2 pair has you beat say A-5-7-2-9 he has A2 checks it to you the pot is decent see what's up and lose,but often ak holds up one pair. Same position 5-7 suited raise 5x and often c bet the flop the same amount with potential like 4-6-K one of your suits for backdoor potential.You can win these hands with bets on the turn,sometimes a flush or when you suspect your opponent missed his flush and thinks you got Q-K and misses. Just keep betting and fold often you induce some wild bets which is great when you have the but draw,the made hand or 3 players and you fold and the other guy has it! It's a mind game and mixing your bet amounts is a very stupid thing to do,but hand ranges in position is ideal. Good luck you will need it poker is a lot of luck.
- Steve GuyLv 51 month ago
Being unpredictable is certainly a strategy but more importantly the thing you should be doing is reading the players around you. Learning to anticipate what they’ll do, or what them betting a higher amount early on means whether it’s that they’re bluffing or have a good hand. The easiest way to get an idea of if the other players have a good hand is to raise when it’s not at all beneficial to you, if people leave it’s because they have nothing at all and then you win, and if they stay it’s either because they have something good, think they will, or are just bluffing. A lot of players actually play very predictably and once you realize what their actions mean it’ll be a lot easier to play against them. So yes play unpredictably but with the goal of learning how other players react and using that info to win.
- BrianLv 71 month ago
Being unpredictable makes it harder to "read" a player. If it works for you, keep ding it.
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- Anonymous1 month ago
Could you imagine getting four of a kind but only to see yourself losing to a royal flush