Exploiting Your Opponents In Poker

Before you sit down to play poker, you have to ask yourself if you have an edge in the poker games you play? This is an important question you must ask yourself because if you don’t have an edge, then you can’t reasonably expect to make money in the long run. You can’t rely on getting “lucky” that is just “gambling.” Any serious poker player will tell you that poker is a skill-based game like chess or backgammon.

The great thing about playing poker, whether it’s online or offline, is that you don’t need to be one of the best poker players in the world in order to turn a profit, you just need to have an edge in the games you play. The trick is to be playing against a group of weaker opponents.

Regardless of the limits being played, all poker players will have weaknesses in their games, but you have to consider the fact that weaker opponents will have much bigger leaks Your goal is to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses.

What mistakes do your opponents make and how can you exploit them?

This may sound like a difficult question to answer, but it’s an important one if you’re looking to make money in poker. It really boils down to one of three things: players will either play too many hands and bet too much, call too much, or fold too much pre and post flop, as they are wanting to play a lower variance game, but in doing so are passing up +EV opportunities.

Playing against opponents that call too much, i.e. calling stations are probably the easiest players to beat. You just need to make hands and value bet them aggressively.

There is the misconception that you can’t make money in a poker game full of “rocks” and nitty players. This couldn’t be further from the truth. These players are making the mistake of playing too few hands, and so an aggressive strategy that comprises of blind stealing will add significantly to your win rate. You can also outplay them post flop as they will be playing fit or fold.

Then you have aggressive opponents that like to bully the other players at the table because they like to be the table captain. These players are betting too much in an attempt to get their opponents to fold, since they will rarely have a hand that will win at showdown. You can easily beat such opponents, by inducing them into putting more money into the pot when they shouldn’t have.

When you first sit down in a poker game, you won’t be able to pick up on the weaknesses in opponents straight away, since you know nothing about their tendencies and playing habits. This is why it’s important to play fairly conservatively early on in a session when playing against a bunch of unknown players, until you get a better idea of how they play and the mistakes they are making.

At the beginning of a session, you want to try and identify the weaker players in the game, as these are the players you want to target, as this is where the bulk of your profits will come from.

In effect, you want to determine just what their mistakes are and then make plays to induce them into making their mistakes.

If possible, you want to try and isolate the weaker opponents. If they are loose and calling with too many hands, you want to isolate them with a value weighted range, and look to bet your hands aggressively when you make a hand. If they’re limp/calling and playing fit or fold post-flop then you can open up your isolating range since it will be profitable to do so and try to outplay them after the flop.

When all is said and done, no poker player has a complete game. There will be mistakes they are unknowingly making, which hopefully you can pick up on. In poker if you can’t expect to realistically have an edge then you won’t be good enough to exploit the mistakes that the majority of your opponents are making. To be successful in poker, you have to practice a lot, and be constantly looking to improve your own game to get that edge.

When you’re first getting started playing online poker, it can be a good idea to jump straight into the micro stakes online poker games, since most players at this level are not going to be very good, making the average opponent easier to exploit. If on the odd chance you find yourself being in a game where there doesn’t seem to be any obvious weaker opponents, then you should consider leaving the game, as there will be no dead money.