In poker it is very important to analyze a player’s betting pattern and tendency. Based off player behavior you can maximize the amount of money you can gain from a pot by manipulating your play to trap them. I don’t mean a basic trap such as turning a
flush and checking to the player, but a trap that starts from the very beginning of the hand before the flop comes. I’ll use an example from a tournament I played in at Showboat in Atlantic City.
(As a side note: the blind structure in this tournament was awful. No antes and it skipped many levels. I’d recommend playing at Tropicana or another casino that has at least antes included in the blind structure. Antes allow for a lot more action in many hands because of the extra money in the pot.)
In this tournament, there were 4 guys to my left who were all hyper aggressive. They would bet about 4-7 times the big blind with hands like A-J or A-Q off suit in early position. These raises were occuring roughly every other hand. Also, at this point of the tournament, 4-7 times the big blind was roughly half an average persons stack. So by betting that much, the players basically commit themselves to the pot with an ok hand such as A-J off suit.
So I end up getting A-K suited in middle position and 4 people folded to me. There was the button, small blind, and big blind left to act behind me. The man who was in the big blind was very aggressive, and he liked to raise many hands a lot of money (5-6 times big blind) which at this point of the tournament was about 5000 in chips. I’ll do two possible outcomes for this hand. The way it would have been played if no one noticed his aggression and the way I played it.
If I didnt know how he played, I would have raised about 3 times the big blind. The button and small blind would fold and it would get back to the big blind. He would think back to previous hands I raised with (AK, AA, KK, 10 10, AQ suited, etc) and realize that his AJ is at best even money. He would either fold or call. We’ll assume he called. The flop comes 5 9 10 rainbow. He would check to me, I would bet and he would fold. I only pick
up the blinds plus his bet of 3 times the big blind. A good sized pot, but it could have been bigger.
Now, we’ll play the hand like I did. I simply limped in with my AK suited. Since I limped in, the button also thought it would be a good idea to limp in because he was getting better odds (I suppose), and the small blind also called. The big blind, being aggressive as he always is, raises it 5 times the big blind, which is about half of his chip stack. It gets back to me and I put him all in for his remaining chips. The button folds and the small blind folds. Now since he committed half of his chip stack in this hand, he has no choice but to call. My AK dominates his AJ and holds up in the end. I eliminate a player and practically
double up thanks to the calls from the button and small blind.
Now as I look back at it, you can say this is a bad play because if the aggressive player had a horrible hand, he would have probably just checked and I’d have lost that hand if all low cards came off. This part is a matter of judgement. If you notice that 80% of the time at least one of those 3 people to your left raises, then it is worth taking the 4/5 chance of getting raised while having the better hand. Worst case scenario you don’t get raised and the flop comes all low cards and you just fold. You only lose the amount of money you called with. Best case scenario you get reraised by a dominated hand and you call to double up.
Hopefully this example helps point out the significance of knowing the players around you. There is no particular rhyme or reason to my examples or how I plan on going about it. So the next example might be something completely different. Hope this