The Fear Factor
Going For Your Opponent's Weaknesses
Always be on the lookout for an opponent’s weaknesses and the fear factor. A lot of players regularly bet the flop with a decent hand, but will follow up by checking the turn. This is a fear reaction. They don’t want to risk being raised by another player on the turn or the river as it effectively doubles the bets. You see a lot of this happening in low limit games and it occurs to a lesser extent in higher limit games. If you spot this habit in a player there are some good ways to exploit it to your advantage. The obvious one is to call more borderline cards pre-flop and at the flop if you have a positional advantage. Let’s say your opponent’s a few seats away to your right. This late position gives you an even more strategic advantage to exploit his habitual play. Here’s a warning though when you’re facing this kind of player. Don’t bluff them. Beginners should establish firmly the golden rule that you never bluff a caller. This kind of cautious player is likely to call all the way to the showdown and have a good enough hand to believe he can win. Precisely why you shouldn’t bluff him.
A by-product of the above strategy is that you yourself can use the “bet the flop”, “check the turn” approach if you find yourself one- on -one with a psycho. Suppose you have A-J. The psycho raises, you call and it’s heads up. A-7-5 comes down from the flop. Probably you should bet here. The psycho will almost certainly raise, at which point you check and call the turn and the river, as per Mr Caution in our intro. It minimises your chances of losing large bets if you’re holding the weaker hand but it stops you being bullied out of the pot by the psycho if you’re in fact holding the winner.
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Consider the mind-set of the world’s greatest ever gambler, Amarillo Slim, and see just exactly why it would be helpful while playing poker. He wou