Changing Pace


Predictability and stability might be a successful formula in business but not every time, especially when the business involves playing and winning poker games. The downfall of a poker player can be contributed to use of same strategy every time. It might be good to use a technique once, but using it regularly can alert your opponent and prepare them for a counter attack. Thus, you loose the element of surprise. The best constant trick to be played is to change pace.

Changing pace in simple terms means that a player varies his playing style. If poker players are categorized into four types, their playing styles can be easily gauged. The first type of player is the aggressive-tight. These types of players can be identified by their habit of playing a few hands along with frequently raising and bluffing. The second type of players are passive-tight. These types of players play a few hands but call other player’s raises or bluffs. The third type of players are aggressive-loose. They bluff and raise, but play lots of hands. The fourth type of players are passive-loose. They only call while playing many hands. As each category has some specific quality, any poker player will definitely try to find out which type or category he falls into.

In such circumstances, changing pace gives a player benefit of unpredictability. For example, a player has played with an opponent previously. The opponent thinks he is aware of this player's style. This player should play for a while and then change his pace. He should start as passive and just when the opponent is comfortable, attack with aggression. This will surprise the opponent making him rethink his entire game plan and in this process, destroying his early momentum. If the opponent expects the player to call, he should raise the stakes. He should bluff when the opponent expects him to call. He should make him wait prior to raising a call and make him unsure and edgy. Thus, changing styles frequently leads to confusion in opponent's mind and prevents him from using counter attack techniques.

Generally, every professional poker player can expect this tactics of changing pace from his equally experienced opponent. Now the question arises, how to change pace without letting opponent know about it? Subtly is the key to changing pace as every poker player is expert is observing his opponent. First, a player should make a different move when he gets a feeling that his opponent expects him to take specific action. If the opponent expects a player to bluff, he should rarely do that. This action is likely to make the opponent call the player more. Switching his play in subtle way, a player can give his opponent a tough time to figure out what the player is up to and in return this might hide the player's play in safe obscurity. Additionally, a player can change the style of his play just to keep the opponent on edge by playing tight for an hour and then loosening up the game later.

The strategy of changing pace in poker is helpful in saving a player from getting caught. But it must be noted that strategy of changing pace can produce effective results only in certain kinds of poker. For example, while playing no-limit poker, if a player changes his play by bluffing unexpectedly, it can be advantageous as the pot grows bigger. But, changing pace in limit poker must be undertaken only when a player feels the stakes are higher enough. A player also must take into consideration the number of players playing on the table as changing pace during game played by four or five players is advantageous due to higher stakes.

Along with the type of game a player is playing, he should also take into consideration other persons while changing pace. It has been observed that amateur players generally find it difficult to catch up once there is change in pace and take long time to see through their opponent's moves. But, more experienced players can easily realize at an early stage that their opponents have switched their game and then they can immediately locate a pattern to match their opponent's changed moves. Therefore, it is essential to change pace a few times and then maintain pace's random order. It is advisable to play loosely for the first hour, then play tight for the next few hours and then revert back to the first pace keeping the same time interval.

Ultimately, the idea of changing pace is to shake the opposition so as to make him commit mistake and then win the game.


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