They say that in many families the middle child has the most trouble competing for attention. More focus is on the first born and, also, on the newest arrival. Now, I'm not an expert on sibling interaction, being an only child, but I am an expert on poker. And in poker, being that "middle child" - the player who must make a decision between the first opponent to act and the last - definitely makes it harder to compete for profit.
In the past, we've discussed being in the middle position in the wagering chain. Often, it's uncomfortable and awkward being in the middle, right?
Televised poker has brought big changes. The two most conspicuous are (1) hold 'em is now the game of choice almost everywhere; and (2) poker tournaments are much more popular.
You've heard me talk quite a bit about poker tournaments - how they should be modified, why I don't play many, simple strategy for profit, and more. Let's go beyond that. Here's advice specific to your tournament chips and how you should use them to control your fate.
I think you'll be surprised. Let's listen to a strategy lecture I delivered long ago...
Tournaments: Your chips, your chances
One of the most perplexing problems facing a sophisticated poker player is when to stop raising. Should you elevate the pot one last time or call a truce and see what happens? Often there are advantages to just calling. But there are advantages to taking the initiative with a re-raise, too.
What should you do? Well, here's a lecture I gave years ago that can give you some valuable insight.
When should you raise AGAIN?
What I'm going to teach you today will earn money for you in all forms of poker, but we're going to use seven stud as an example.
Can you have too much discipline to win at poker? Oddly, yes. In some games, it's easy to beat lively opponents by simply being ultraselective about the hands you play. But many players who approach poker with the correct attitude, take the game seriously, and are motivated by profit actually out-think themselves when making laydowns in popular limit poker games.
Some players get married to open-end straights. They over bet and over raise. They call big bets that break their bankrolls. It's a sad, sad thing.
I could write several books dealing with the nuances of open-end straight draws. Today, I want to share some of the issues that were included in a lecture I gave many years ago. It went like this...
Three months ago I shared a big secret about value betting. Value betting is the act of pushing your hand for every extra penny of profit through aggressive wagering. We discovered that you should only do it when you have psychological dominance over your opponents.
Sometimes no-limit poker seems closer to being an art form than a science. It's about trying to grasp what your opponents' are thinking. It's about making decisions in harmony with whatever weirdness dances in their heads right now.
I've got an idea. Let's imagine a hold 'em game. Sometimes playing hold 'em can be frustrating, right? Well, here's good news, I want you to imagine you just got dealt a pair of aces. It's a loose game and this feels like your lucky day. Think happy.
It's easier to understand the nature of poker if you think about price.
Caro's Law of Poker Economics states: "Poker is the art of trading chances. To win, buy chances at a low price and sell chances at a high price." In fact, that simple truth defines the core of poker success.
What I'm about to teach you may slightly contradict my advice not to play aggressively against poker bullies. I've told you that you should often let deceptive, aggressive opponents take the lead. Give them a chance to hang themselves. But poker isn't a game of simple formulas. There are times to do one thing and times to do pretty much the opposite. If an opponent is passively aggressive, often trying to trap you, the situation may be different. You're facing a different type of bully. As you continue your poker learning adventures, these situations will become clearer and clearer.