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Reading Unpredictable Aggressive people in live play

    • Jezzabeanz
      Joined: 21.09.2012 Posts: 16

      Background (You can skip over this if you want me to get the the point about reading players)
      Tonight I entered a little tournament in my local bar. There were 2 rounds, people who lost round 1 can still enter round 2. Each round a player puts £5 in the pot as the winnings avg. pot £30. The players are mostly my friends so it's a nice little experience. I came 2nd in the first round as the losers of the R1 were getting antsy so myself and the other player decided to go All-in to make it quick, we both didn't mind who won the pot.

      You also receive points based on your position at the end of the round. The person at the end of the season with the highest points gets a chance to be entered into the Vegas 100 (I think that's what it's called) so it has its added excitement.

      My Question: How do you read bad players in live play?
      I'm not considering myself a very good player at all, however these guys just wing it, are very loose, some are calling stations, tend to bluff a lot, go to showdown a lot with weak hands, sometimes they play tight.

      They're very unpredictable I'd say.
      I was looking for tells, the manager of the bar fumbles with his cards and bounces his knee when he's bluffing (A9o on the river with High Card and a Wet Flop, after large bets to scare off opponents). They play the same in any position too.

      But for the most part I really struggle understanding their play. With good players, they play rationally, they use their position to their advantage.

      Every time I was on BU or CO I'd utilise it as best I could. They change their play style when they feel "I've folded 3 times in a row I want to play." Sometimes they are maniacs.

      How do I play these unpredictable players?

      I apologise for the length of this post as it is not very concise.
  • 1 reply
    • metza
      Joined: 28.01.2012 Posts: 2,220
      If you struggle to notice their individual tendencies, the best thing at first to do is to play a very tight range and to take advantage of position. The reason this will work is because your tight hand selection will have a large amount of equity against their range. The fact that they are playing a range that is three or four times wider than yours means that your holdings are inevitably are going to be much stronger than theirs are when you do enter a pot. Mistakes compound and get more expensive as you progress from street to street, so if you play a tight range, your opponents will constantly be making mistakes getting into pots with you with marginal hands, especially if they're out of position.

      As you get better at noticing their individual tendencies you can take opportunities to exploit them. For example Player A might be a calling station preflop, and call a lot of flops hoping to hit better on the turn, but fold most turns unimproved. The obvious solution here when you raise and he calls preflop, to barrel the flop and the turn. Player B might be a calling station that calls a lot of flops, and then a lot of turns as well. The solution against Player B is to rarely continuation bet as a bluff, instead betting large for value on the flop and turn when you have a strong hand because he is going to pay off and this will more than cover the times when you raise pre, miss the flop and check/fold to Player B.

      The truth is that often loose maniac players are harder to read than tight aggressive regulars who are always making "standard" plays. The reason why these loose maniacs don't win despite being unpredictable is simply because their ranges are so weak when they put money in that they can't make up for it no matter how loose and aggressive they are.