All The Aces Daily Poker Column


21st Century Poker Unpredictability

How to be an unpredictable force at the poker table

Poker Unpredictability
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Twenty years before the legendary Doyle “The Texas Dolly” Brunson wrote his ground breaking book series “Super System 1 and 2”, a great player called Herbert Yardley had produced his own poker bible entitled: The Education of a Poker Player. Basically, Yardley’s message to his readers was to play tight, conservative poker which was likely to defeat most of the ordinary opponents in those days who had very little grasp of the all important odds. This became out-moded thinking by the late 1970s when Brunson conceived his Super System masterwork. Doyle had begun using very aggressive raising to unhinge conservative players and would literally bully them into tossing away almost any hand that fell short of what a conservative player viewed as premium. This made Brunson very rich and he became the Godfather of the big-stack semi-bluff and the leading advocate of aggressive poker in general. The trouble with these huge selling books is that by now every regular poker player has read and digested them which brings us neatly to our point for today: The importance of changing gears! The strategy for winning pots in the fifties may have been consistent conservative play. In the late seventies and eighties it was pure aggression.

While both the above strategies remain fundamental in poker, the most important demonstration you can make at a poker table these days is your unpredictability. The football analogy is a good one. Not that many decades ago a centre forward scored goals and a defender didn’t stray beyond the half way line. In the twenty first century you’ll see Wayne Rooney drop back and defend and John Terry score goals. In other words they are skilled enough to change gears. To be a really good poker player, this is the skill level you’re looking to develop. Note what’s going on at your chosen table and adapt. Let the opposition profile you as aggressive for half an hour and as they settle to that view, play tight and throw them off. Taking another line from our “A-Poker-Lips Now” doctrine: Most seasoned poker players love the smell of confusion in the morning.

ALL THE ACES poker column:
Tuesday January 31, 2006: 
21st Century Poker: Unpredictability