Beat solid players trying to move up

Most people reading this article are this type of player. They've learned the basics of the game, and sometimes well beyond that. They are better at detecting a slow-play. They don't re-raise after the river with a 7-high flush and 2 other players in the hand. Overall, they get it. What they don't know is how to make consistent money at the low-limits without losing it to bad beats.

They are players of all ages, sex, race and so on. They have put in the time to learn the game, feel they should be making some consistent money, but can't figure out why they're always break-even.

How do they play poker

How to spot them: For a player with a decent amount of experience, these players are easy to spot. They play fewer hands than everyone else. Their betting is generally predictable, with an occasional slow-play or check raise. They've got a few tricks, but are otherwise tight/aggressive. You will often see them telling their opponent what they did wrong after the opponent lays a bad beat on them.

Weaknesses: They tilt when they take bad beats. They often give their opponents too much credit for what they should know. They often commit too much to a pot thinking their opponent is weak, just to find out the opponent played a big hand in a confusing manner.

Strengths: At a micro/low-stakes table, they often have the best understanding of the game. They play fewer hands overall, more winning hands. They have learned how to trap opponents and how to feign weakness. If they learn how to stay away from big, losing pots they can often kill the low-limits.

Occasionally they will outgrow the game. A player who learns how to consistently beat the low-limits will sometimes be forced to stay there for financial reasons. Many players at this point cashout profits to pay bills, or to keep themselves from risking too much at higher levels. Don't play many pots with this guy.

Why are they playing? This one is easy. Most of these players want to make money playing poker, whether as a side income or full time - they want the cash.

How to beat them

If you are one of these players, just think about how you play. You generally play a more tight/aggressive game, and so do they.

Play them when you have a big hand, or have a big implied value hand that you might be able to get paid from. They can be bluffed from time to time, just make sure your story adds up. They may be able to calculate pot odds, keep them from chasing their flushes and open-ended straight draws. Make an occasional slow-play when you have a nut hand, but don't ever check the river expecting them to bet.

Remember that these aren't the same donkeys that fill most of the other seats at your table. If they are predictable in their betting patterns, use it against them. If they typically check when they have nothing, fire at them and steal those pots. Be more inclined to believe them when they are betting. The simple fact that they are in the hand to begin with suggests that they are at least more likely to hold a real hand.

Now, when you sit and play, you can take with you the understanding of what an uphill battle you are fighting. Hopefully you will sit down with a frame of mind so that you can try understand what is going on and how the solid players think. And the better you can understand what they don't understand about themselves, the better you can defend yourself.

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