Jekyll/Hyde Factor

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Delik James | Poker Articles, Poker Strategy

Hey there, I’m the new guy.

I’m not much for introductions and the truth is that your here for the best game on earth, so let’s not waste any time; let’s talk some poker…more specifically, table image.

I find that it’s a funny thing about these labels we attach to ourselves with such impermeable closeness that they become a permanent part of our identity. I’ve found in my travels that it is very important to know the distinct differences between them, (as well as their hybrids i.e. tight/aggressive, loose/passive), but moreso, it is important to not tattoo just one individual player-type or even some choice combination of player-type on your poker physique.

Each time I sit in at a table, be it cash game or tourney – I have no idea what kind of player I’m going to be.

I liken sitting at a poker table, especially in a tournament, to being on death row. A bunch of people – all shifty-eyed and twitchy. Some will smile to your face, while thinking of felting you before you can blink an eye. Some will just flat out growl at you. So here we have this interesting bunch stuck in the same small space together, nose to nose, just working to keep their time from running out. Doing all they can, every appeal if you will, to just double-up and go on. These ever changing, unexpected situations and personalities will all need to be treated differently.

I am bothered by the player that always seem to take a 50/100 blind to an All-In Bet by the flop every hand for half an hour. In this situation I just happen to be the tightest, most solid player you have ever seen. I’m going to be folding 99% of my starting hands.

Eventually though, one of two things will happen:
The aforementioned jackass just will bust out due to the law of averages and drift into the poker afterworld.. OR – I’ll run into AA, KK, or AKs and it will be me – personally selling the ticket to the aforementioned jackass, to go off to the aforementioned poker afterworld! Still, knowing that my decisions have been limited to such a small scope – I have a lot of free time on my hands. Perhaps now would be a perfect time to work on my Tells.

In Comparison, I played a tournament a week ago in which I was anything but tight. At a nice little live sit and go, forty players or so with a starting stack of 2k for a $100 buy-in. It was a Thursday night and I noticed immediately that a large majority of the players had come right from work. With drinks in hand they gabbed about politics and weather patterns. And you know what? They were really having fun.

Me too after all – they wouldn’t even defend a blind with the worry of getting kicked out of the little gabfest. I found that a ¾ to pot size bet would move them off everything. Additionally, when I was beat I knew it – quick and with low chip casualties. Throughout the first few levels of play I slowly ate up a large percentage of the each of my opponents stacks. Eliminating only 3 of 8 while leaving 5 others in all-in / fold situations. Now, as I sit back and change back over to tighter play – I’ll wait for the short stacks to knock out and move me into a money position very shortly. I’ll grab a few blinds with my newly formed tight image and take down some big pots with premium hands when the times are right.

Next stop final table… with a whole new scenario and more characters to meet.

Wishing you Big Flops and Bigger Pots,

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4 Comments to Jekyll/Hyde Factor

September 5, 2008

I totally agree that table image is key to your success. The problem I see that is too many players (myself included) tend to step up to a table with the idea of portraying a certain image (today I will play tight) even before knowing the others at your table. This usually sets you up for failure. Even though your table image is a good thing to keep track of, you should always consider the others at your table and play according to their image in order to gain their chips. (ex. if opponent is tight, play loose and vice-versa).

Welcome to the group!

Delik James
September 5, 2008

Thanks for the comment, it’s great to be a part of the team!

September 5, 2008

I’m never that bothered with table images when I play tournaments. Most of the time you get moved around so much that it doesn’t really make a difference. In other situations however, I think you can use table images as a great tool to kill your opponents:-)

Delik James
September 6, 2008

For tourneys, size is a factor for sure. A big tournament with dozens of tables requires many more important focuses to fill your time, but it can be effective at the final table (when things tend to get more psychological) if your playing a small sit-n-go for example or 50-75 person tourney.

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