Sunday, November 22, 2009

Analyzing NLHE:TAP Concept 39

From No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller.

Concept No. 39: You must adapt your play to different-sized bets. If you will call a twice-pot bet as often as you call a half-pot bet, you're in trouble.

This is correct both in terms of game theory and in practice. There are probably some players against whom you should not take this advice, but they are rare.

Game theory assumes that your opponents play optimally against your strategy. If you call just as often whether the bet is big or small, your opponents can easily exploit this by making their bluff bets small and their value bets big.

In both theory and practice, I think it's true that big bets are more likely to be bluffs than small bets, and this is why some people are inclined to call big bets liberally. The big bets look suspicious. However, this does not mean you can call these big bets more often, because you need to win a higher percentage of the time for you to come out ahead. The fact is that you have to let yourself be bluffed once in a while, especially when your opponent makes a big bet.

As I said, there are probably some players against whom you should call big bets even more liberally than small bets. This situation can arise if you notice that your opponent always makes small value bets but his big bets tend to be bluffs. You still need to be wary, though, because players are liable to change their strategy at any time!

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