Hear me out. This one minor correction to your poker game will save you thousands of dollars. I’m not exaggerating. If you intend on continuing to play the game, then you will save thousands with this one tweak.
It’s so simple, you’re going to laugh. But like I said, hear me out.
You call too much.
That’s it. I could end this post right here, but further explanation is required. What do I mean by “You call too much?” The next time you play, look for this pattern. A player in early or middle position opens a pot. She gets raised by someone in late position or the blinds. Without giving things a second thought, she tosses out calling chips. Many times, several players in the hand do this. Mindlessly toss out calling chips.
The flop comes out, they whiff, and the player in late position c-bets. The callers end up folding.
What kind of plan was that?
If you call a raise with the intention of folding every flop that you miss, you might as well play your hand face up. Any good, competent player will put in one bet, and when you call, they will get away from the hand unless they have a monster.
For most recreational players, the desire to see a flop is so strong that it costs them thousands of dollars over their poker career. When you add up all the times they call a few chips, then fold on the flop, the amount of chips is just staggering.
So what’s a better way to think about this common situation?
Let’s start in the middle. You’re in middle position, and you know that when it folds to you, you can comfortably open with a 20% range.
That’s a lot of hands.
You need to have a clear plan for this hand from the get go. Hopefully, you already know that your open raise amounts should be consistent. Don’t open big with a big hand, and limp with a medium strength hand. Savvy opponents will pick that up quickly. Once again, the size of your opening bet is not tied to your hand strength.
My plan revolves around slicing this 20% range into three groups.
Group 1: Raising Hands. Hands that I am willing to 4-bet with. The very top left of this table. Hands that I am content being all-in with given the right stack sizes.
Group 2: Calling Hands. Hands that play well post-flop against an opponent’s raising range. Mostly hands that can beat big pocket pairs. Hands that make straights and flushes. A hand like JT suited is a hand that connects with a ton of flops.
Group 3: Folding Hands. These are hands that were good enough to open when the action folds to me, but my intention is to fold to a re-raise. Hands that play badly after the flop from out of position. Hands like small aces. Good enough to open, but get you in trouble when you just call. The type of hands that win you a small pot, and lose you a big pot.
I’m not going to tell you exactly what hands to put in each category. I want you to start to think of why hands fit into each group. Players that just memorize charts, and “play by the book” end up running into a wall and they stop improving. You need to practice doing this exercise. As you get more advanced, the concept of balancing each of these sub-ranges will take your game to another level.
Next, go through each of the range charts in the free e-book that we sent you and divide each range into these sub-ranges away from the table.
Do this during your practice time.
This concept really comes alive when you can marry this strategy with a strategy on how to play against specific opponent types. An overly simplified example would be that you have pegged a guy to play a “fit or fold” style post-flop. Versus that player, you can widen your calling range considerably, because you know he will only continue on flops that he connects with. Employing this basic idea against this particular player style will be wildly profitable.
As you become more comfortable with these shifting ranges and how they play against specific opponent types, your game will improve by leaps and bounds.