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How to Get Inside an Opponent’s Head at The Poker Table

I pride myself on being virtually impossible to play against in a heads-up no-limit┬ápoker match. This confidence has grown from the absurd amount of time I have put into studying and improving my game, while also understanding how my opponents try to play against me. I want to be inside your head, and I won’t allow you to enter mine under any circumstances.

I know what your thinking, and I know what your thinking about me, but I will give the impression to you that I am completely unaware of that fact. My goal each time I play is to give off less information as I gather as much information as possible from my opponents.

I achieve this in a variety of ways. One way is simply by not speaking, and observing the table talk. I wear headphones to give the impression that I am not listening to table talk, but I will purposely mute the volume when I hear discussion, but never enter the discussion.

Many players give off information about their skill level by they way they talk to each other. One of the most common things to find at a table is players discussing “strategy” with one another. While I will talk strategy too, I generally give disinformation about how I play hands to throw opponents off. I want you to think certain things, so when we play a hand together, you think I have something that I don’t, while your hand in theory is face up.

The saying goes, never trust a poker player. While I am an extremely honest human being in real life, don’t ever trust what I tell you in a poker game. My communication with you is solely based to judge where you stand against me. I appear extremely warm and nice, so players generally enjoy talking to me and giving away information in the process. I smile and go along with the intention of taking every chip in front of them.

In no-limit hold’em tournaments, and cash games especially, I want to be the captain of the table. I want to dictate the pace of the action and I want opponents to gun for me. I give a lot of action to get a lot of action. The action I get in return is designed to try to throw me off, but I am aware of what my opponents are attempting to achieve. I am not scared to put an opponent at a decision for every chip in front of him, even when I have absolutely nothing. I know what you are holding, and you haven’t a clue what I hold, even though you may think you do.

A lot of the way I play against you stems from how much I think the money means to you. While poker is played with chips, each chip has a monetary value that each player is aware of. No one wants to lose money, and because of this, too many players play extremely tight hoping to hit a big hand and win. The problem with this approach is that when they hit a big hand, they don’t get payed off because their opponent is aware that they have a strong holding. When I am betting and re-raising relentlessly, I am eligible to have the complete nuts, or stone cold nothing. If you want to find out, I will make the decision available for your entire stack in front of you.

I love when a player thinks I play “tight” because I haven’t played a hand in a while. Taking this into account, I don’t need to have a strong holding to play against this opponent. I can pick spots (usually with position) to give you the impression that I have a big hand, while in reality I may have nothing. Opponents have at times folded AA on 359 flops to my min raises in position because they “respect” that I have something. Sometimes I show my cards to put you on tilt, and many times I don’t because I want you to pay me off when I hit my big hand. I want you to pay to find out.

When an opponent is losing, they often want to “chase their losses” and get back to even, so they will begin to play a lot more hands. This is where the fun begins. I know that my opponent is emotionally effected, and I am going to exploit it for maximum profit. When an opponent is on tilt, they are more prone to call my bets with weaker hands, make raises with bad cards, and try to force action to take back over control. I am waiting for them to make mistake after mistake, as I rake in pot after pot against them.

The majority of heads-up poker games that I play is done over the internet. It is hard to find opponents to play heads-up in a casino due to the fact that almost everyone enjoys playing at a full table. I am willing to sit and play heads-up against anyone I am adequately bankrolled for.

A lot of heads-up games are ego matches, with each player playing for pride and bragging rights that come with winning money. I enjoy playing against players who are conscious of their bankroll situation and don’t want to take too much risk with their chips. Not taking adequate risks makes these types of opponents exploitable for profit in the long-run.

I will not play a poker game if the chips “feel like money” to me. My poker bankroll is in essence a business investment, and I want to grow that business as much as possible each time I sit down to play. I will only play at stakes where I will have zero chance of going broke. To achieve this, I must only invest a small portion of my entire bankroll into each game or tournament. Losing an entire buy-in will have no effect to my bankroll when I have 99 more buy-ins available. Most other players aren’t playing with this luxury and experience the phenomena of chips feeling like money, making them in return weak and exploitable. They will play more passive while I will turn on the aggression each hand.

I am willing to play anyone until they decide to quit if I feel I have an edge against them skill wise. Even playing stronger opponents is beneficial because it will improve my overall game in the long-run. Short-term results are meaningless to me, I am looking for spots where I can make a profit, regardless of outcome. I may lose in the short-run, but in the long-run, my overall poker results graph is upward sloping and constantly growing. 90+% of poker players lose in the long-run. Just like any sport, it takes a lot of work and dedication to become one of the best.

Do you have what it takes?

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