Bad players generally play too many hands or play them very poorly. But there’s another, often overlooked method of playing terribly, playing in a very predictable manner.
When even non deep-thinking opponents can get an accurate read on your tendencies, they’re will make fewer -EV plays against you. And when talented opponents’ get a precise read on you? Well, you’re just going to get toasted. You need to deceive your opponents, keep them guessing, and cause them make mistakes.
One way to do this is to widen your range. Balance your range with bluffs and value bets so that your opponents are unsure which you’re executing. I’m not saying to wildly bluff in spots in which your bluff doesn’t show +EV, but to locate situations in which a bluff would work. If opponents aren’t calling your value bets, start bluffing them with your air and missed draws, and trapping them with your value hands. If he catches on, reverse it up! Once you’ve got them confused, you’ve alleviated your strategic leak.
Another method is to create an alternative perception. Let them think you’re a non-bluffing nit, and once you think they see you that way, pick a spot to bluff, preferably a large pot with bet-saving opponents. Repeat until called. When called, say something like “I can never get away with a bluff,” and find yourself another spot. Once they’ve altered their perception and perceive you as a bluffer, cut down on your bluffs.
Cat and mouse games like this are a huge part of winning poker, particularly once you rise to a level where you’re playing thinking opponents. Don’t let your opponents create effective lines of play against you. Create enough deception in your game so that you’re unreadable.
And if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, find a way to baffle them with BS!
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