How to play against villains who have no clue themselves.

    • Styr
      Joined: 11.03.2009 Posts: 408
      I am approaching to poker as it were a war. In war, as people trying to kill me (bust me out), or plunder my lands (take my chips).

      In warfare the side with the skilled general usually wins. Numbers barely matter. Hannibal is probably the best example. Yet how did Hannibal win his battles? He knew his opponents, and exploited them, without losing a single battle, until his defeat at Zama - That battle was not by his choosing, and it was against Scipio, a general on par with Hannibal.

      No, I am no Hannibal (if I were as capable, I would not be here, posting this topic). But I am thinking, how would Hannibal have reacted, had the Romans behaved differently on the battlefield? He knew the Roman consuls were aggressive and arrogant, he knew the traits of specific generals. He knew that the huge legions would use their huge numbers and mass to overwhelm his battle line at Cannae, so he lured them into a trap and encircled the larger Roman army. But what if the Romans had not charged the way Hannibal knew they wold. In fact, what if they had changed their battle line at the last minute and attacked randomly? I do believe, that the Romans could have stood a better chance at winning, had they done so, as that would have ruined Hannibals plans, and he was outnumbered by roughly 3 to 1.

      Now what is the relevance with poker, you may ask? As I said in the beginning, I consider poker as warfare - villains trying to hurt me. If I have stats on them, I know roughly what their next move is let's say 70% of the time, then I can use it to my advantage - the same way Hannibal knew by more than 90% accuracy, what any specific Roman general would do. But what if the villain behaves randomly? What if it has no idea himself about what he is doing? How can you trap someone behaving like that? Hannibal would create a narrative for the Roman generals - he knew they would follow it into his trap. But if the opposing general is not capable of understanding the narrative? On the battlefield one might have time to dig in. In the world of poker, digging in would mean blinding out, especially after the introduction of antefests at Pokerstars. And even if one gets, say aces in the first hand in a tournament, and gets 3+ callers and/or re-raisers. I now have no idea as to what those people might have, or might do with what they have.

      So the point of this topic is, to create a discussion, as to how to play with people who have no clue as to what they are doing, or people who have not learnt the use of the fold button.
  • 2 replies
    • VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 8,828
      Hi, Styr,
      Cool topic.

      Have you noticed that a table seems to develop a "style" very quickly?
      Sometimes there are a lot of people entering most pots, sometimes everyone seems really tight. Less often there is a balance.

      Some rooms have a culture too. I pretty much gave up on PKR because I myself had no clue how to play when in a six-handed game almost every hand was 4-way or more. iPoker seems really tight. When I played there, I had a steal rate of well over 40% and a success rate of more than 50%.

      But what if the villain behaves randomly?
      What if it has no idea himself about what he is doing?
      How can you trap someone behaving like that?
      A player behaving randomly is almost always too loose, and almost always plays fit or fold.
      Do you agree?

      If so, let's build a game plan around those two assumptions and see what happens.

      Oh, and before I forget, be sure to read:
      The 8 Player Types - How to Get Their Money
      The Five Player Types

      The first of those articles is quite old now, so you may have already read it at some point, but it bears re-reading.
      The second is more-or-less the same as the first, but simplifies it somewhat.

      There are some really useful comments for the first article, so have a look there, too

      All the best,
    • Owl64
      Joined: 28.08.2007 Posts: 96
      I like your idea of war.

      I will respond with another idea.

      Imagine you are a boxer and you fight two different fights.

      Your first opponent is also a boxer. He knows how to jab, hook and is looking for your mistakes so he can knock you out.

      Your second opponent is blind street fighter. Sometimes he punches randomly into air, sometimes he wait and punch only when he is sure he will hit you.

      Was my answer good?