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Creating the Table Image

It’s definitely best to keep your thoughts internalized and focused on your own play when starting out in poker. This way you won’t get caught up with trying to learn too many things at once when you should really just be concentrating on the basics. However, once your game has improved to a certain point, you are definitely going to need to start analyzing your own play and create a table image.There are two important reasons for why you need to be concerned with your own table image. The first reason is so that you can begin to understand your own game and work to improve upon it. The second reason, which is even more important, is so you can use your style of play to exploit opponents and make more money. But before you can do this, you need to find out which type of player you are.


If your style of play is loose/aggressive you are the type of person who isn’t afraid to make big bets or raises, will re-raise others quite frequently, and also go all-in whenever a good chance to do so arises. Being a loose/aggressive also means that you don’t need to be holding premium cards in order to take a shot at grabbing huge pots. This is a great category to be in since many of the best cash game players in the world play loose and aggressive. To use this style of play to dominate opponents, try to rein your game in a little bit by utilizing implied odds on top of aggressive play. Using implied odds means that you will be checking to see if the size of the bet you have to make is worth it based on what you expect the pot size to be at the end of a round. For example, say there’s R600 in the pot and you have to call a R200 bet to stay in the hand. This doesn’t give you great pot odds if your chances for a good hand aren’t strong, but your implied odds could be favorable if you predict that enough people will end up calling the bet to make the pot R1,200. Again, make sure to mix in implied odds with aggressive play to balance things out.


The loose/passive category is a place where most players really don’t want to wind up. You’ll know if you are a loose/passive player when you stay past the flop quite often, waste money by betting past the turn or river with second rate cards, and don’t raise and re-raise people with strong hands. The vast majority of people who play with a loose and passive style never realize any profit from the game. So the best strategy with this style is to try and change to a more profitable one such as loose/aggressive or tight/aggressive. In order to enact this change, try using pot odds more often in your play to avoid staying past the flop with bad cards. To use pot odds, begin by looking at the pot and the size of the bet you must make to remain. If the pot is R90 and you need to contribute R10 to stay in the hand, then your bet would comprise 10% of the pot since it would jump up to R100. After looking at this, check out how many outs (number of cards left in the deck that will make your hand) you have and take this number times two then add one. So if there were 4 cards left in the deck that could make your hand then the formula would look like this: 4 X 2 + 1 = 9. Since you’ve only got around a 9% chance to make the hand and have to contribute 10% of the pot, this would be a bad decision based on pot odds.


There are plenty of people who enjoy success from using the tight/aggressive style of play. You’ll know that you are a tight/aggressive player when you fold before the flop quite frequently, only bet past the turn or river with great hands, and look to maximize your advantage when you have it. The only real problem with this style is that other players can steal your blinds a lot and will force you out of hands when you’re not holding the nuts.In order to win major money from opponents with the tight/aggressive style you’ll need to step outside your boundaries every now and then to avoid being predictable. For instance, make a semi-bluff or two and take the hand to the river as long as it’s not too costly. Another thing to do with tight/aggressive play is to open up the amount of starting hands that you’ll play when the table gets short-handed. If there’s six or fewer people at the table, play a few hands past the flop that might otherwise be outside of your range.


The tight/passive style of play isn’t as non-profitable as loose/passive, but it’s not the best either. It’s easy to notice if you’re a tight/passive player when you fold before the flop quite often, wait for big hands to play past the flop, and don’t take advantage of big hands by making quality raises and re-raises. Much like the loose/passive style, it’s best to move away from being a tight/passive player if you want to make money with poker in the long run.The easiest transition to make when you’re a tight/passive player is to gradually change to a tight/aggressive style. In order to accomplish this feat, you’ll need to make more raises and re-raises with good hands so that other players don’t try to challenge you with drawing hands. The better you play with strong hands, the less likely people will be to try and bully you around.


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