Poker Table Dynamics


It is essential to pay great attention to table dynamics while playing poker. A poker player should know whether a table is tight, loose or tight-aggressive as this can make a lot of difference to a player's chances of winning or losing. There may be some players who play contrary to the pattern of the table, but even the most conservative and experienced player play according to the table dynamics. If the table is loose they play loose and if the table is tight-aggressive, they play tight-aggressive.

It is quite possible that table dynamics may shift completely due to playing pattern of a new player. But most players rarely take into consideration table dynamics while devising their poker strategy. A limited number of poker players who recognize the importance of table dynamics do not have the required experience or skill to know the type of method of play that may send the chips or money their way and are not in a position to take advantage of table dynamics.

One poker strategy which can be used in relation to table dynamics is to manipulate opponents by making them do what you want them to do. Manipulation is easiest way to force opponents commit errors. This can be done by playing loose when the table is tight. This will fox opponents who are playing tight at that time and they will also start playing loose. The opponents may get induced into making weak calls when you deal an excellent hand. Thus, by manipulating the table dynamics you can win handsomely. So, it is essential to pay attention to the dynamics of whatever table one is sitting at and keep looking for ways and means to manipulate them. Winning is easy when opponents are reacting and playing the way you want them to. As manipulation may not work all the time, the moment you come to know that your manipulation tactics are not working, you must not hesitate to fall back to playing as per table dynamics.

From strategic point of view, following facts should be observed and studied by you while sitting at any poker table:

1. Selection of Hand: You should study what hands opponents play when cards are shown, the position from they play these hand. You should study the frequency with which opponents play hands when the cards are not shown in early position, middle position, late position and out of the blinds. This helps in classifying the player as loose, aggressive, solid, etc.

2. Calling tendencies: The frequency of opponents in calling bets and amount of bets they are calling should also be noted along with types of hands and the amount which is likely to make them fold.

3. Aggression: The frequency of raising and re-raising of your opponents also must be noted. If they raise often, their aggression need not be given much attention, but if they do not raise often, their aggression should be given due credence. One should adjust play and hands accordingly by being more liberal in hands re-raise or call raise when opponent is too aggressive and be selective in raising and re-raising if he is less aggressive.

4. React to bets/raises of opponents: Observe whether opponents fold routinely to bet or raise when they are not strong and take advantage of this observation by betting or raising them liberally. Try to trap them.

5. Pre-flop betting pattern: Find out whether there is variance or not. Find out why opponents bet certain amount. The likely scenario pre-flop is over bets when the opponents have a good hand which is good but prone to being drawn out on or over bets. You should call these raises when the chips are deep due to implied value.

6. Post-flop betting patterns: Try to find out variance and try to figure out why such variance exists. The pattern post-flop which is most common is minimum bets when opponents have small piece of the flop or a draw and they wish to prevent their foe from betting them out of the hand. It is easy to trap such foe with hands like sets and straight for he may not be in a position to fold his hand as a result of size of the pot.

7. Blind defense: By observing on a table, you must try to steal opponents blind as much as is possible. In case they do not re-raise, one should still raise liberally due to positional advantage one has. If the opponent tries to defend his blind, it is advisable to do the same selectively but being more aggressive.


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