By the Book

By the Book

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Dear Dr Tom,

I recently played a guy in a NL Hold'em tourney and we both made it to the final table. My opponent was playing strictly “by the numbers” poker, calculating his pot odds and EV on every hand he played. Although he did well, eventually another player took him down by over-betting at every opportunity. How best do I take advantage of a player knowing he is playing tight and by the book? 


Dear Harry,

Tight players are very difficult to exploit. Exceptionally tight players reliably lose but in small increments to a very large number of people. It’s really not worth targeting these players with a master plan. You are both only likely to get it all in with big hands and either of you could have the other crushed. You have one basic strategy which is to nick the guy’s blinds and that will make you a few chips (after you take into account the times he raises you). As for the over-betting guy: it worked out for him this time but it’s not a sure-fire strategy.

These players do serve a function for you, however. They allow you to field your table image. If you’re naturally prone to caution, betting against this guy allows you to hide that fact. If you believe you’re in a good bluffing game, folding your button to tight guy’s big blind suggests you have standards you don’t in reality have. Treat him as advertising space.


Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy,