You’ve got to give action to get action

Most of you have probably heard this a few times, you’ve got to give action to get action. This actually varies depending on what type of table you are at, the types of players that are there and you’re history at the card room/casino. If you show you are a loose player you get more players chasing you thinking they can beat your weak hand. Conversely if you are a tight player, people are less likely to call your raises and be careful when you call hands.

Good poker strategy involves changing gears, in terms of how loose/tight you play and how aggressive/passive you play hands as to not alert other players to your style. Trust me when I say I’ve seen 1000’s if not 10’000s of players in my career. I only really get to profile a few 100 over the years, because it takes a pretty large sample to see how they play a lot of hands. Also I see players change strategies over time. After some loose players have been snake bitten too many times, if they want to keep playing poker for the long haul, or just make their money last longer they tighten up. Sometimes people just want to gamble and when a certain limit is no fun to them anymore they may gamble a lot more for a long time. Most of the time losing, but when they are on they can get a huge win.

Poker players have been around now for quite awhile. Most pay attention, it’s almost like a job to them. In small card rooms these guys get so used to how each other plays they are just basically paying rake and keeping pots small until they get a cooler between players. Or an out of town loose player comes in and the game will loosen a little to allow this guy to build some pots. What’s funny about these small card rooms is that these guys never learn how to play better because they only know how to play their game. They come into the big rooms and get slaughtered because they have no creativity or expanded experience.

When I go to a hole in the wall it takes about an hour to profile the 8 other guys that don’t know how to change gears and have this attitude that the out of towner will lose, because this is typically what happens. As why would any good player go out of their way to play some terrible home game, masquerading as a poker room. This is how your tight player plays at the bigger card room. Of course when the table makeup isn’t all regulars they can do ok and maybe make a small profit. But when it’s regulars they don’t give them much action when they raise and try and trap them if they do enter a pot with them.

Case in point, one of my very tight regulars raises $15 under the gun. Loose player calls with 5♥3♥ suited. It’s a 1/3 game so average raise. Flop comes 2♥4♦k♥ and the tight player bets out $40. Now the other guy knows he is 50/50 with $40 to win $70 right now, so he calls. Turn is a 6♣, bingo. The tight player would definitely check had the flush hit, but the 6 seems so harmless so he fires $40 again. Why $40 on such a seemingly harmless card? Some good players might bet this just to keep the pot small, or be able to get away if they feel its a good read. The other guy raises to $100 and the tight player immediately shoves for about $700 and says “you have to pay for your flush draw”. Of course the guy insta-calls and the harmless river card comes and he scoops. The tight player didn’t show but said he had a set of KK’s.

The other guys know that if they call this guy he will either bet so light that he will never get much value out of his hand, or they can trap him. If they don’t hit they get away from it. They all know that if he shoves he has the goods, and you better have the nuts to beat him. He may raise 20 times a night and only get called a handful of times. Not realizing they he is so predictable he will rarely win. But he goes away every night shaking his head wondering how he blew his stack on aces, again.

Now our loose aggressive player can drive people nuts, but he will most of the time blow his stack eventually. These are the guys that people get on table change lists for. These are the guys that make other players call their buddies to get down to the casino before he blows it all. These are the guys that can make $5000 on  a 1/2 game if they are on fire. These are the guys that can blow $5000 on a 1/2 game when they are steaming in an hour. When it’s a group of tourists trying to beat this guy, usually their man egos get the best of them and they get crushed because they can never put this guy on a hand. But most of the time it’s the regulars that know what he raises and when and just smooth call big hands and wait for him to raise. Set mining and just waiting to catch and let him stack himself to you.

Funny thing is I still see some of them get baffled when they are called by slightly above average hands and take their money. We have our typical wild player in a game with guys that are aware of how he is playing. Raising K2 on the button and showing when everyone folds. 3-betting 74 suited and missing the flop but get enough to get everyone to fold, and showing his bluff. Later on UTG raises to $12 on a 1/2 game. Middle position calls and the wild guy raises to $32 on the button. UTG folds and middle guy calls. The flop comes out K♣5♦2♦ and mid guy bets out $20 and wild guy raises to $60. Mid guy calls. Turn is a 10♥ and mid guy checks, wild player bets $120 and mid player shoves for about $195. Wild player calls the $75 more and shows AK, mid guy flips K♦10♦ and the harmless river ships him the pot with 2 pair. The loose aggressive guy almost blows his top! “How can you call me with that!”.

First $20 more pre-flop with a hand that very well good be the best hand isn’t that bad of a play. I just sit there thinking how can you ever criticize how someone else plays a hand? You have played some of the worst cheese and showed every bluff. Now of course the other guy was just looking to catch a little something so this guy will donk his stack off. Worked perfectly. The loose guy re-buys for $500 more and continues to berate the guy for playing shit cards against him. He eventually donks the rest off because he raises the next 10 hands and someone catches a set. He steams off, while the other players just smile and say “see you next time”.

I love watching the good players. They can shift gears at all times, all positions and all stacks and can really get value in most situations. It’s almost an art form. The other players can never put them on a hand and are just baffled when they turn over cheese that catches, or show big hands that hold up. Live a little you tight players. And for the aggressively loose gamblers, I have nothing to say, because I’m 100% sure you aren’t reading a poker blog.

Brought to you by Your Poker Dealer

4 thoughts on “You’ve got to give action to get action

  • January 29, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Generally speaking, in low stakes no-limit holdem games, you don’t have to give action to get action. That’s one reason the games are so profitable.

    You can sit there and fold for two hours, raise AA under-the-gun to $15 in a $1/$2 game and get four callers. You flop a set of aces on an AK7 rainbow board. Some donkey will call three streets with KQo because he just didn’t think you had it.

    • January 30, 2015 at 5:51 am

      In some rooms there is enough of a player base that someone like that can keep slipping by. But I’ve also seen the wild aggressive players actually recognize that these guys are so tight they don’t give them any action anymore. Even the biggest fish have brains. Also your scenario doesn’t happen, ever(well maybe once). Most times you get 4 callers you blow the hand.

  • January 29, 2015 at 9:46 am

    And for the aggressively loose gamblers, I have nothing to say, because I’m 100% sure you aren’t reading a poker blog.

    Pure gold.


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