Mixing It Up

For poker players to have success they must be able to bet and bluff their way to victory. One of the best ways to bet and bluff your way to victory is by ‘mixing up your play’ at the poker table. Mixing it up can be a huge advantage over your opponents, because some players don’t mix up their play which results in ’predictability’. If you become predictable at the poker table then you might as well start writing your farewell speech. Good players will catch on to how you are playing if you make the same moves in the same situations. It’s like a cornerback watching a quarterback. If the quarterback eyes down one particular receiver then the cornerback will know that the football is going to be thrown to that receiver. If the quarterback looks around the field to all his receivers it will keep the cornerbacks guessing to which receiver the quarterback will throw to. This is the same with poker. If you are playing the same type of poker throughout the tournament, the other players will know what you are going to do before you even do it. This is why mixing up your play is very important toward having success in different tournaments. Anyone can win one tournament, but the good players will have long term success. Let’s go into more detail of how to mix up your play.

Mixing up your play can come in many variations. If you are the player that checks the flop if you miss and only bet when you make a hand on the flop, you are too predictable. For instance say you make a pre-flop raise, you miss the flop so you decide to check, your opponent fires a flop bet, and you fold. If this is a constant for you then you could be laying down the best hand in most situations. Let’s say you raise with AK, you get one caller, and the flop comes 3 9 3. You proceed to check and your opponent fires a bet that forces you to fold yet again. If your opponent knows that you check on the flop then they could be forcing you to fold with a weaker hand. He could be holding AQ, AJ, A 10, and if your opponent knows you check when you miss, they could be calling your pre-flop raise with hands like J 8 if they know your tendencies. To change this you must have the guts to fire a continuation bet on the flop when you don’t have a hand or simply trick your opponents by checking the flop when holding a monster. In the same token you don’t always want to fire a bet on the flop when you have a hand, because the other players will pick up on this and shy away from the hand. If you have been check folding on the flop then try checking when you have a hand to keep your opponents on their toes. This is prime example of mixing up your game that will help throw your opponents off guard. Now let’s take a look at a different scenario.

When you are deep in a tournament it’s tough to sit around waiting on pocket aces to come to you every hand. It is essential to mix up your play in order to confused your opponents. If you are only raising monster starting hands, and by monster I mean AA, KK, QQ, JJ, and AK. If this is the case then your opponents will know you have a strong hand, and they’ll be more likely to fold resulting in you just taking the blinds. Unless you get these hands every other hand of course. It’s okay to mix it up and play more hands deep in tournament. If you happen to get 3-bet then simply fold your mediocre hand. The next time you pick up a big hand to make a raise the other players might try to re-raise you again, and this is where you pick them off. I’m not saying play every hand, but you have to know when to mix it up. Simply put, play some poker. Try mixing up your play in different situations and with different hands. Poker is best learned by playing, because players have to have the ability to get the feel for their tables. Good luck mixing it up at the tables my friends.

Craig Fleck

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