Shifting gears and having multiple gears is something we hear talked about a lot in the poker world, but what does it really mean? Mostly, it’s all about not playing the same way or speed throughout a tournament.
If we’re playing against the same players for long stretches of time, we’ll need to mix in various ways to play hands. We might bet big when we have it, we might bet small when we have it. We might make a big re-raise pre-flop with a premium hand like QQ. We might also make a big re-raise with a mediocre hand like 10-7 suited. By mixing the top and bottom of our ranges together, it makes it much harder for our opponents to play against us.
Similarly, if we’ve been playing tight, we need to be able to recognize what we can get away with and actually do something about it. If we’ve been playing tight it’s only natural that we need to find spots to make some plays without a real hand. The tighter our image, the more we’re able to get away with from a bluffing perspective. Think of it simply as “action” or frequency, if we haven’t created the action or frequency as of late – then all things being held equal it’s a great time to look to make a play.
Don’t forget, if we’re making a play with mediocre holdings, our only intention is to get our opponents to fold. If we luck out and hit two-pair or something that’s great, but it’s important not to forget that the only reason we originally entered the pot was to steal it or build it and steal it. Use your image to your advantage when possible, make plays and get folds. Survival is great, but chip accumulation is better.