Winning Poker Players Learn to Adapt

If you want to become a winning poker player there are many things you need to know, but one that is often overlooked is your ability to adapt. The best poker players in the world are able to understand the situation they are in and adapt to it. This is not nearly as easy as it sounds.

There are many poker books that give you good guidelines on what poker hands to play and what raises to make. The problem with following these books to the letter is that they don’t show you how to adapt to each situation. Sometimes the style of play at your table dictates more of what you do than the basic rules. There are times when you are going to fold that middle pair. There are times you are going to play that garbage hand. Sometimes you want to just call, while other times a raise is more productive. The problem with blindly following the rules is that the rules were not made for each individual situation you face.

Every single bet, raise, call, or fold that you make must be made for a reason and it must have a purpose. Playing in a very tight higher limit game is not going to be anything like playing in a loose low limit game. Your decisions and actions are going to be different. You need to adapt to the table. You can be a great poker player, but if you can’t adapt to the situation, you still may lose. Here is an example. Let’s say you are playing in a very loose game and have a four flush after the flop. Normally you might want to raise and get more money in the pot, but in a loose game with a lot of maniacs you might not want to make that move because it might get re-raised and drive everyone else out of the pot and your big pot is gone. If you are playing in a loose game the professional type plays usually don’t work. Everyone is going to call and do stupid things. Your professional play isn’t going to work as well as it would with a game full of solid players.

Here are the types of tables you are likely to see and the ones you need to adapt to. A loose-passive table has a lot of checking and calling. Bets and raises usually mean something. You can play a few more hands, but you still need to play fairly tightly and not go for a lot of bluffs. At a loose table they rarely work. You are going to lose a lot of hands at this type of table because everyone will want to draw to the river. You need the cards to win pots at the loose-passive table.

The next type of table is the loose-aggressive table. This type of table sees a lot of raising and re-raising. Everyone bets all the time. You really want to have solid hands at this type of table. You don’t need to raise much at this type of table because the other players are going to do it for you. Check- raising with a strong hand at this type of table works well.

The next type of table is the tight-passive table. This is the table your bluffs will work at. You can steal blinds, make a lot of semi-bluffs, but don’t slow play or check-raise. You usually won’t get much action. If you are in a hand with another player you need the cards because at this type of table only the good hands get played.

The tight-aggressive table is the last one to discuss. This is a tough one to read. You have to play tight and get a good read on your opponents at this type of table. You will definitely need to mix up your play and really be aware of what is going on. These are not easy tables to play at. When you sit down at the table one of the first things you want to determine is what type of table you are at. You can then adapt your play to best suit the type of table you are facing. If you can adapt your play to the style of the table, there is little doubt your poker profits will increase over time.