Things change! At the poker table they can change abruptly. A loose-aggressive player goes broke and is replaced by a solid pro. A normally solid player beserko tilts after losing a big pot. You’ve nurtured a tight, nitty image for hours, but you just got caught bluffing. The texture of the game and/or your opponents’ perception of your table image has just changed dramatically and with it, the value of many plays.
You need to consistently monitor and adjust to these changes. If you don’t, you’re likely to make plays incongruent with your image or the table’s texture. And that ain’t likely to go well!
Keep track of how things progress at the table. Did a nine-handed game just become a six-handed game? Did a big pot just get played? How will it emotionally affect the participants? Did a stuck player just get even? Did a winning player just blow back his win? Did a player with an aggressive mentality just acquire a big stack? Did you suck out on a vindictive opponent? Did someone just call a big bet with a weak hand and get shown the nuts? If so, how is this likely to change their play?
Poker players are human beings (Yeah, I know some aren’t). All of these matters effect emotions and play. Someone who just called a big bet with a marginal hand and lost is less likely to want to call in the same spot again. The aggressive player with the big stack is likely to get even more aggressive. The player who just got even is likely to play more solidly and not risk his stack. A winning player who is about to leave is less likely to assume risks. The converse is true for a player who is stuck and leaving. The questions and methods to exploit them are endless.
And these issues aren’t just important in how they directly relate to you; they’re important in how they relate to the other players at the table. If one player is vindictive towards another, will situations present themselves that you can exploit? You bet they will!
So pay attention to the ebbs and flows of the game. Think about how you can exploit them. Think about how your opponents think and how it changes with events. And devise tactics to exploit their thoughts and emotions.
You’ll be amazed how much extra equity you’ll be able to find!