Why You Should Not Follow Poker Strategy Guides Religiously

Beginning players often take poker strategy guides as if it is a sacred scripture. They have a tendency to follow them religiously. Oftentimes, these have astounding results, since the guides does account for the more common situations. However, following poker strategy guides word-for-word will sometimes have a disastrous effect, especially if the situation is a bad one for the strategy.

Let us take that very true and very powerful poker maxim: in order to have a great chance of winning in poker, one must play only a few hands in an aggressive manner. Most of the poker strategies that you will read use this as guiding principle.

The aforementioned poker maxim is very effective, so it is no wonder that it is used. However, being tight but aggressive is not a good poker strategy all the time.

Let us take a game where most players have read and are following the tight-but-aggressive play. Most probably, the game will crawl at a snail's pace, since most players will be folding frequently. The common action on the board is for a player to play aggressive with a strong hand, and that those with weak ones fold.

In this situation, would it be good for you to maintain a tight play? Think about it: if you constantly place a bet only on your good hands, then you will be so predictable that opponents will often fold against you. This means that most of the time, what you will gain are just the blinds.

The best option is to mix a little loose play: play aggressive with weak hands a few times instead. Since there is a great chance that players will see you as a threat, then bluffing becomes more effective.

Another example: most bluffing guides tell you that you should bluff only when in the late position, and when there are only a few players left. This is another wise and legitimate advice, since bluffing will most likely fail if there are several players yet to act or remain in hand.

However, if what most opponents believe is that the late position is the most suitable place for bluffing, then a bluffer in the late position could easily be spotted. Any player in the middle or early position will call and raise to an aggressive late position player, since they will suspect that the late player is just bluffing.

Always keep in mind that poker strategy guides are just guides. That means its there to start you off in using poker strategy in your games. The rest is up to you: practice and gather more experience in poker, and become flexible enough to adjust your strategy as what the situation needs.


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