Betting patterns in online poker tournaments
Ask any reasonable poker player, he’ll tell you that it is extremely important to get reads on your opponents and to use these reads towards putting opponents on a likely range of hands. This is also true when you play poker online.
There are all sorts of reads available in live poker, but even there, despite the plentitude of available options, the most significant read remains the betting pattern.
Online, it is much easier for your opponents to deny you other reads, but the betting pattern remains available there too. Players have to do their betting and they have to do it in a way that generates the maximum amount of profit for them.
This is why they just can’t shed this read. Truly skilled players can use it to provide counter-intelligence though. The bottom line is, your opponents’ betting patterns represent your best shot at acquiring valuable intelligence online. Every online poker player who’s a consistent winner uses betting patterns.
Using betting patterns in online poker tournaments
Obviously, when playing in an online poker tournament at Full Tilt Poker, Titan Poker or any other online poker room, you’ll be pretty much compelled to use the same betting pattern reading that you use in your regular cash games.
There’s one problem in poker tourneys though, one that I personally find the most frustrating of all setbacks. Just picture the following scenario: you’re seated at your tournament table and the action commences. You’re deep-stacked so you can definitely afford to play the best poker you’re capable of.
After a few orbits, you make your reads. The player on your immediate right and one other guy at your table seem to be overly aggressive, and they play way too many hands. That can only mean one thing: they’re playing sub-par hands often, thus exposing themselves to a nice hit and run stunt that you can pull on them provided you happen upon a strong hand.
Sure enough, you manage to pull a fast one on the guy on your right twice in a row, and because his stack is still pretty big, you’re hoping to wring more chips out of him. Then you hit the other loose-aggressive guy big, and suddenly you’re shuttled to a different table and dropped off into the BB among a bunch of folks you have never played in your life.
This is what I hate most about tournaments.
As soon as you manage to secure a poker edge over your opponents, and as soon as it becomes obvious that you do indeed have an edge on them (your stack begins to grow) the software destroys all you’ve so painstakingly built up and sets you onto equal footings with some other players again.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I think I’ve noticed a trend in this respect: as soon as you stack size becomes out-of-proportion big compared to the other players at your table, you get moved to a table which has other guys with stacks sized as yours. Not only do you lose the benefit of reads you’ve made, you also lose the advantage of the large stack.
How useful is reading in a poker tourney then? Despite the efforts of the software to deny you this advantage, it still remains your best bet. Try to adapt to your new tablemates as fast as you can and set your edges up again. That’s the best thing you can do. Don’t ever commit the mistake of giving up on betting pattern tracking.
Written by Steve Larson.
Printed with permission from RakeMeBack, the number one rakeback provider.
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