Typically, the sage advice for average poker players who are more used to free poker who find themselves playing a pot against good players is for the average player not to play the pot at all. In cash games, in a table surrounded by good players, the “novice player” only has to leave and find an easier table.
But in tournament poker, it is not so simple to avoid being trapped on a table with some good or even exceptionally talented poker players.
A good player can defeat a novice player because a good player knows the general pattern of a novice player, given the Board cards, the novice’s actions and his position. Good players can also put them on a hand.
They will know if a player is holding a suited connector; a pocket pair, or even, in some extreme cases, a Set. They can play a Straight weakly (or even fold it occasionally) when the Board pairs and the novice suddenly pours down his chips.
Let us make some systematic analysis about our novice player.
A player is said to “win” a pot, for our purposes, if:
- (A) He wins the hand in a showdown or
- (B) He makes all his opponents fold.
If we want our novice player to win a pot against a good player, what kinds of hands should he play, and how?
Suppose he tries to win under the condition (a) – to win in a showdown.
- Then the novice player will have to pass through the preflop, flop, turn and river against the good player.
- At each stage the good player will get more information from the novice player than the novice player can get from the good player.
If the good player has more information, then he knows immediately whether the novice player has a good hand or not.
He can continue to showdown and probably win a big pot, if he keeps on value-betting our novice. Or he may lose a small pot, if he slows down and just checks. Or he can make the novice fold.
Suppose our novice now tries (b) to make his opponents fold.
- Let us assume the Board will help him only a little, and his hand, from the flop up to the river, will not be of showdown quality.)
- During the flop, turn, and the river, the good player will extract more inferences from the Board cards than the novice player will.
- If our novice, who usually has the tendency to get excited, overrepresents a hand unnecessarily, then he will just be called by the good player (unless he plays really strongly, but he can’t overdo this either).
From these, we gather that the pieces of information needed to make a decision is:
1. Your cards.
2. Your perception of your opponents’ cards.
3. The Board cards.
4. Tells your opponent gives away.
5. Tells you give away to your opponent.
6. Previous tendencies of each player.
Both the novice and the good player has (1) and (3), but the good player’s judgement is usually more accurate with all these criteria.
A good player, for instance, will believe that 8-7 (his cards) are not so nice-looking in a flop of 10-7-3 (the Board cards), but a novice player may think they’re powerful.
As for (4), (5), and (6) which stems from (1), (2) and (3), the good player is usually more aware of these. And good players care more for (7) than novice ones.
So if our novice wants to play a pot against a good player, he cannot really rely fully on the information above, for he cannot interpret it well.
So our novice should find a spot in which the good player also cannot rely on most of the information above, so that they will be on equal footing.
When is it? Answer: Preflop. How to play? All-in.
- Preflop, your perception of your opponent’s cards is less accurate than after the flop falls.
- Also, because there are no Board cards yet, tells are less reliable.
- Finally, because a novice is less likely to have previous tendencies resulting from experience, the good player has little hold on (6).
- And preflop all-ins are dependent on hand strength more than position.
By moving all-in you can make your opponent fold (which is a win) or entice him to a showdown.
- Don’t call yourself all-in, however, unless you have a premium hand.
- Once your opponent does this move, if he is a good opponent, he knows you are vulnerable.
- When he does want a showdown, he is deprived of postflop information that will increase his chances of making an good decision.
- At this point, although the good player is still good, he has to play in terms of novice play.
The good hands the novice can have are still the traditional all-in hands: A-A, K-K, Q-Q, etc. A-K (or similar) is quite shaky, but if you can lull someone with 7-7 to play with you, you are still about 50-50 with him.
Whereas if you take him to the Flop, he will have more opportunities to play his 7-7 better than you would play your A-K, and you will be defeated most of the time.
Let us say your chance to win above is just 25% postflop; why not take the 50-50 instead?
Summing up What You Can Do When You’re Trapped By Good Players in Tournaments
Find free poker tournaments an/or cash games where you can take on better players with no or low risk, this is a great way to improve!
The fact is that It takes some time to learn how to play poker online or offline at a level above the unthinking donk “chip flinging” seen on many free poker tables. Most players it seems can’t or won’t put the time in, they claim to play just for fun which misses out on the key fact that winning lots of money and beating all these “fun” players is a lot more fun!
Yet this is great news for you as a player who aims to learn to play well. That’s because once you learn how to play online poker with above average skill and are able to combat the “all-in-all the time” donk maniacs then you can take them apart in coldly calculated massacres anytime you like. This can mean really good easy money in low stakes money online games and in free online poker games that pay out real cash such as those found at http://www.NoPayPOKER.com.
To make this work first, play free poker tournaments lots at NoPay and learn to play poker free where you can learn while you lose but without losing real money, then once ready to can move up to low stakes and start to make some serious poker cash!