Understanding Your Rivals
The Third Winning Strategy of No-Limit Hold'em

Another winning no-limit hold'em strategey is to understand your rivals. Your hold'mm game strategy will be affected by the types of players you are playing against. This is especially true in no-limit hold'em, where knowing the playing pattern of your rivals is very significant. We have mentioned few types of players in this section. This will help you recognize them later in the sections.

Action Arnold raises most of the pots. When he has the chance to act after you do, you can count on him to call or raise. You must have noticed that he often shows down good cards. Reckless Ricky Also raises too often, without any rational reason, he often overbets the pot, and has shown some weak hands. He is willing to go war with Action Arnold. Passive Peter just calls, even when he has a premium hand. However, he fears to get into war.

Novice Noreen is testing with no-limit play after playing in limit hold'em for many years. She either overbets or under bets the pot and sometimes calls when she is not supposed to call. Tight Tom has cobwebs on his chips. When he raises, you should clearly understand he has a premium hand. Loose Levin is on a roll and has held cards over you several times. He plays a lot of hands including middle connectors and small pairs.

Solid Samuel is aggressive when he plays a hand but always picks up the right situations and turns over the strong hands at the showdown. Authority Austin is the critic at the table. He always criticizes about the way you play your hands. He is a player who can make uncomfortable while playing.

You will be competing against such kinds of typical players in no-limit poker tournamnt. Now we will discuss some tips on how to play against each of the eight players mentioned above.

How to Play Against Different Types of Rivals

Action Arnold and Reckless Ricky raises and re-raise more than they should. Both are very dangerous when they catch some cards. They give so much loose action that you are often forced to give them action with less than the nuts because they both will try to run over you. Action Arnold is more dangerous than Reckless Ricky because he knows how to play when he gets good cards or a good flop. Al will represent a good hand more often than Ricky.

You can very well defined Reckless Ricky as a maniec. Maniacs are most difficult players to play against because it is very hard to put them on a specific hand. You will have to show a good hand to maniacs. To trap a maniac player is easy when you have good hand, but if you are catching only marginal cards, he can bluff you or force you to take a stand when you don't want to.

The maniacs like Ricky will soon fall down and will broke into pieces. If he gets a hold of some chips, however, you will have to be patient and wait for the opportunity to trap him with a better hand. Playing like maniacs is not that bad. Sometimes Reckless Rick might win the tournament because his aggressive style of play will allow him to win many un-contested pots, considerably increasing his chances of winning the tournament.

Passive Peter is also easier to play against than Arnold or Ricky. He will usually call if he has anything, but he will sometimes bet and get full value of the premium poker hands. If we bet and Peter calls after the flop, we know he has hit something, if only a draw. We can bet Peter with good hands, but we must try to bluff him if he has called on the floop. However, if Passive Peter comes out betting or check-raises, we know he has the premium hand and we should act carefully. We should play only if we have the strong hand.

Novice Noreen is inconsistent than Passive Peter. Noreen normally cannot decide the relative strength of her hand after the flop and therefore she often tends to make mistakes. By overbetting her strong hands, she “tells” that we should avoid playing against her unless we have the strong hand. Noreen under-bets hand thus not defending them to being out on them. Her big weakness is calling when she should fld. It is somewhat dangerous to bluff Novice Noreen because she is a calling station. However, we can value bet some of your medium-strength hands because she will call with something less. Novice is a kind of player who everyone wants to be in the game because she will find a way to give away her chips even when she has a big stack.

Tight Tom is most predictable player at the table. You always know where he is at. You can run over his blinds, bluff him after the flop and knock him when he bets. Tom does well against players like Action Arnold, Reckless Ricky and Novice Noreen, who makes many mistakes. That is, assuming that Tom doesn't go broke waiting to find a strong hand to play against them. Even Ricky and Arnold know enough to be careful when Tom is in the pot casino betting into them.

Loose Levin is another player whose style of playing is different. Levin plays many hands than he should even in un-raised pots, but he knows how to get value from his hands when he hits the flop. Because he plays so many hands he is difficult to read. If you have a big pair and middle cards come on the flop, be careful – Levin might have hit the flop. If he allows you to give more actions or moves in on you, be careful. Levin's style will cause him to get short-stacked or broke early in the tournament, but if he hits a few hands, he can be dangerous. He might, however, will gamble with weak hands, even with a big stack and hence out himself at risk of going broke later in the tournament. If he slows at the big stack and doesn't gamble much, he is capable of winning the tournament.

Solid Samuel is not conservative as compared to Tight Tom but he is easier to read than Al, Rick or Levin. He is dangerous player who knows “where he is” (he understands the relative strength of his hand) many times. He plays his position correctly, knows how to trap and sometimes let out of line. When he is in the pot, especially if he comes in from early position, play carefully against him. If he brings it in for a raise, you know that he has a premium hand.

There is difference between to read and beat Samuel in tournament. His biggest problem in tournaments is that he might not get enough decent starting hands to play before the bldins and antes cause him to get short-stacked. He is not willing to take the same gambles that Al, Rick and Levin take. Samuel lasts for long time but often stays short-chipped and goes broke in the later rounds.

Authority Austin knows less about the game than he thinks he does. Sometimes he might make a big play, such as snapping off a bluff when you make a bad play, but know sometimes when makes a bad play. Austin wins once in a while.