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Don’t let your opponents read your play

We will start this article off by getting back to David Sklansky’s Fundamental Theory of Poker and this is that if your opponents played their hands in such a way that had they been able to see your cards that they would have played in the same way then they are gaining. Poker is a game of incomplete information and you can never know what your opponents are holding and likewise for them of course. In fact if everyone knew what the other players held then it really wouldn’t make for much of a game would it?

So at a fundamental level then poker is a game not of hands but of information. If you think about this for a minute then you will see what I mean. Imagine if you had the absolute nuts then you could not lose in the hand. However how much use would this hand strength be if your opponent also knew that you had? Clearly then although your hand would be enough to win the blinds and what was already in the pot, the chances of you winning a big pot and really getting the value from your hand are minimal because of the information that your opponent has.

The information war

This is why tracking software is so vital to your chances of making money playing online poker because of the fact that it allows you to be able to get your hands on even more data and information. But tracking software is also very important when it comes to analysing your own game as well. In fact you need information on your own game every bit as much as you do that of your opponents.

At the end of the day then your goal is to win money in a poker game. But it is far more difficult to win money if you are making life easier for your opponents by telegraphing your moves. An analogy could be made here of a boxer who every time that he was going to throw a punch made it so obvious to his opponent that he never actually got the chance to land a blow at all.

The price of deception

I have met some players who got their strategy hopelessly wrong when it came to playing poker. Every time that they held a big hand then they would check and even check the next street as well. Now of course checking with the nuts is deceptive because your betting actions are under representing the hand that you have. Your opponents cannot put you onto the nuts when you check and any player who did so would be in all likelihood a very weak player.

A check-raise is a different story or even two successive check-calls. But at the end of the day then you need to maximise the chances that you have of making money and you need to be maximising the chances of your opponents paying you off big time when you have a big hand. How can you ever win a big pot if every time that you get a big hand then you are checking several streets of action? It would take someone to be holding the second nuts or to run a huge multi-barrel bluff for you to win a big pot with your holding. However someone who plays poker in such a way is also very readable to their opponents as well.