Tadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis
The first decisions that you have to make in a hand are always pre-flop, and choosing the right path will make your life much easier on the coming streets. Many players make these decisions automatically without even thinking of alternative lines or adjustments that could increase their win rate, and that could cost a lot in the long run.
I strongly believe that you need to have a solid plan with balanced ranges as your starting strategy. If you still do not have one, make sure to grab my poker hands cheat sheet. However, to reach better results, you have to adjust these ranges versus different players,instead of playing it blindly.
Adjusting versus recreational players
One of the most common changes in your strategy should be loosening up and playing more hands when you are up against weaker competition. First of all, you can easily open more hands because these opponents will not 3bet you much as a bluff and play very straightforward post flop, giving you many chances to outplay them. Moreover, their strategy will be very obvious, and you will always know where you stand in the hand.
Thus, when you face a raise from a passive player on the river, you can easily fold all your medium strength hands knowing that it is the right move. Taking into consideration that these players will not give you a hard time post flop, will straightforwardly play their hands and make many mistakes, you can easily play more hands versus them and considerably increase your win rate.
Adjusting versus tougher opponents
There is a whole new story when you are up against someone good. Contrary to the first example, these players will punish you quite hard for any irregularities in your game, and you really do not want to get out of line against them.
The best adjustment is to play a bit tighter and try to gain range advantage over them. If you can do that and have better hands pre-flop, then you obviously will have more made hands post flop as well and can build your stack without taking enormous risks. Apart from tightening your ranges a bit, you should not deviate from balanced strategies. Your best bet is to play in an unexploitable GTO (game theory optimal) way and stay away from trouble.
If you can do that and exploit all the mistakes of your weaker opponents by changing your pre-flop ranges, you will gain an ultimate edge and be on the right track for success at the poker tables!