How To Act At A Poker Table To Keep Bad Players Keep Playing Badly.

Today there are many new players participating in poker, resulting in much looser games than before. Using advices which you will find here will show very profitable in those games. Some ideas are quite sophisticated and very different from what you may have previously read.

Nowadays it’s pretty common, even at the higher limits, to find many players who not only play too many hands but go too far with them. These games, usually at the lower limits and reffered to as “no-fold ’em hold ’em.” Needless to say, for the skilled player, these games are highly profitable. But they do require significant adjustments and many otherwise winning players do not do a good job in this area. Remember one very important point when you are playing against bad players. The idea is to make the maximum profit from their mistakes. This is very different from playing perfectly.

Here’s one example that doesn’t involve a specific strategy. When you are against bad players it is probably detrimental to sit there and think over your decisions. This would encourage bad players to play better against you.

You must understand that someone who plays poorly may do so for a variety of reasons. He might be new. He might be drunk. Or he might be there to have fun, and it is not fun to play proper poker. It’s too boring – you just don’t play enough hands.

In many locations, you constantly run into people who know how to play pretty well, but they don’t. In a tournament, they tend to play a little better, but their overall play is poor because they are there to have a good time. Of course, they enjoy winning more than losing, but they enjoy playing most of all.

Now suppose that one of these players sees you debating over a decision. Believe it or not, some of them are unintentionally turned into better players against you because they begin to realize that there is more to this game than just having fun.

So let’s say that you are in a game like this, you bet, and someone raises. Decide whether you are going to fold or call quickly. Don’t give that person, or others at the table, the opportunity to realize that you do in fact think about decisions.

What may happen if you don’t follow this advice is that the “fun” player tightens up against you, but also thinks “You know what, I think I’m going to try to bluff this guy. I don’t think I could against someone else, but maybe I’ll throw a raise in against him. I don’t know if I have the best hand, but he thinks about throwing away so many hands, so who knows.”

Notice that you accidentally make them play closer to the proper strategy. When a weak player sees you sitting there and thinking, you may cause him to play better, especially against you.

If you suffer from this problem, here are some suggestions. Since you only concentrate on hands that are close anyway, you should quickly do one thing or another at random. Since the decision is close, neither one can be that bad. Better yet, every time you would stop to think, just call instead. It’s better than thinking.

Another way to get around this problem is to be ready for every situation. Think one step ahead. An obvious example would be when you flop top pair when there is a two flush on board. If the flush card gets there on the turn and you bet, know ahead of time whether you will call or fold if your opponent raises.

(In a no limit game against experts it is okay to think. They do it all the time. But that is a totally different situation.)

For example, we have a very good player, but who exhibits a characteristic that is not beneficial for him. When he bets with a good hand he will fold quickly if someone raises him (if he thinks that folding is the correct play). That is good. But he also does the converse. That is, when he is bluffing and gets raised he thinks for a while. The reason he does that is that he doesn’t want to make it obvious that he is bluffing. So even though he knows that he is never going to call, he still thinks.

Against bad players you shouldn’t think in this spot either. You shouldn’t care whether the guy thought you were bluffing or not. What is more important is that you don’t want to portray that you are capable of throwing away good hands for one more bet and that you look at every single decision critically.

That can become a disaster when someone unbeknownst to you picks up on it, and steals the pot from you for one extra bet. It is terrible to create an atmosphere where someone whom you have noticed never bluffs will try a bluff only against you. Again, the reason why he tried it against you and not anybody else is the ambiance that you portrayed that has registered in his mind.

You must attempt to display a carefree attitude in your decision making. Besides stopping bluffs, another reason to act less serious and in an apparently unthinking manner is to keep everyone relaxed and “playing loose.” A serious thinking mode of play on your part will not only cause people to make plays against you, but will also often make them tighten up. Players don’t want to feel like suckers who are helping this serious pro make a living.

It is okay to check-raise in multiway pots since no one is likely to take this personally, but don’t do it against a weak player, so he won’t hold grudges against you for the rest of his play.

Besides not thinking or acting seriously or using tricky heads-up plays, there are other things you should not do if you want people to play badly. For example, throwing cards or getting mad when you lose a pot. You never want the tourist to say to himself “I’m here to enjoy myself and have comradery with everybody. If I beat this guy he’s going to be so upset that it’s not going to be fun anymore. I don’t want to have to feel guilty when I win.” So these are some non-strategic concepts which are important to know in order to keep bad players playing badly. Badly basically means “weak loose.” That is, they are playing too many hands, they are not doing very much bluffing, they are easy to read, and they are going too far with their hands. That’s the ultimate for you.


  1. Don’t sit and think over you decisions including situations when you caught bluffing and definitely going to fold. Act quickly, that will prevent people from bluffing you. If you know you have that problem, every time you would stop to think, just call instead. It’s better than thinking.
  2. Don’t act too serious, so people who came to have fun would not tighten up.
  3. Don’t check raise against a weak player. That would prevent him turning into your enemy for the rest of the game. Its ok to check-raise in multiway pot, where it usually wont be taken personally.

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