How To Confuse and Beat Good Poker Players

Learn how to confuse and beat good poker players

Playing poker against opponents who are lesser-skilled than you is a recipe for success. Not all your opponents are weak, however, there are some very good poker players out there. These stronger players are not limited to high-stakes games, good poker players frequent even the low and micro-stakes.

It is easier to win against weak players. They do not think deep enough about the game to warrant any out-of-the-box thinking. Value bet when you have the good, fold when they show strength, and you will not go far wrong.

Beating good poker players requires more creativity. They are less likely to pay you off and more likely to put you in tricky spots. Good poker players are more observant, meaning they pick up on betting patterns and tells. You need to be on your game to beat these opponents and beat them consistently.

Keep Good Poker Players Guessing By Mixing Up Your Continuation Bets

We spoke about continuation bets only a week or so ago. They are a powerful tool that every poker player has in their arsenal. Mixing up when you continuation bet and when you do not is one way to confuse good poker players.

Let us take a look at a simple example. We raise preflop with As-Kc and one opponent called. The flop comes down Kd-5c-2s, what do you do? Your first instinct is to continuation bet, but doing this 100% of the time makes you easier to read. Good poker players will stop paying you off. Instead of automatically making a c-bet, consider checking and reevaluating once our opponent acts. Keeping opponents second-guessing themselves is a great way to dominate them.

Consider Slow Playing Big Hands Against Good Poker Players

Few poker players suggest slow-playing big hands preflop, but it is a necessary evil. It is tempting to always three-bet with aces, kings, and queens, and do so for value. Think about just calling when the raises come from good poker players.

Stronger opponents raise with a wider range of hands, hands that they do not want to play in a three-bet pot. They fold a large percentage of their raising range, which leaves you to collect a small pot.

Do not always flat call their raise with a monster, but be prepared to do so. Just calling with strong hands preflop keeps your opponent wondering what you have. They never, initially at least, think you called with pocket kings, for example. Once good poker players know you are capable of flat-calling with big hands, it opens to door to other opportunities. They do not know if you have called with As-Ac or 9d-7d. Likewise, your three-bets could be with anything if you are prepared to only call with a monster!

Do Not Only Raise With Strong Hands and Draws

Lower-stakes players play a more straightforward form of poker. Their raises tend to mean they have an overpair to the board, at least two pair or a set, or a big draw with plenty of outs. Remember our article about playing draws aggressively?

Mix up the hands you raise with and include both bluffs and semi-bluffs. Consider raising the flop with two overcards, for example, raising As-Ks on a Td-6c-3s flop. Raise it up with an inside straight draw occasionally. Good poker players take notes on what they see so the next time you raise on the flop they wonder what on Earth you could hold. Your chances of making money increase when your opponent does not know what to do.

Use a Standard Time For Acting and Watch Your Bet Sizes

Avoid giving off timing tells, especially in the online poker world, by always taking the same amount of time to act. A quick check is almost always the sign of a weak hand. Conversely, a fast bet is almost always a display of strength. Choose a number and wait until you count to it before acting. Keeping your time to act standardized prevents opponents from getting reads from you.

Similar is said for bet sizing. Weaker players bet bigger with strong, made hands, and smaller with bluff and draws. Good poker players mix their bets up, No-Limit Hold’em is “no limit” after all; you can bet what you like!

Always bet the maximum that a recreational player will call. These opponents call you off lightly so extracting value from them is a must. Mix things up against good poker players by sometimes betting small/large with big hands or bluff. Keep them second-guessing and wondering what is happening at their table.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.

News

Sam Trickett Steps Away From Poker

Improve Your Win Rate With a Semi-Bluff

Dan Bilzerian Feature on Poker After Dark