One of the more interesting creatures to inhabit our planet is the chameleon. You know the one, able to change the color of his skin to adapt to his surroundings, and by doing so, saving said skin. This little feller is trying to convey a lesson to all poker players, all gamblers really if we’re bright enough to see it, that being, in order to survive you must be able to change when the situation warrants it.
I deal blackjack for a living and am constantly amazed at peoples inability to adapt in certain situations. A prime example is the group of people I see on a regular basis, that are convinced that they can beat the game by playing something called “basic strategy”. They seem to be certain that if they can find that elusive table where all seven players are following the same rules, they cannot lose. Right. Thats why we offer 105 blackjack tables and cheerfully hand out the guideline cards for the strategy that will bring the casino to it’s knees. So utterly brainwashed are these people that they will do the strangest things. I inadvertently exposed my hole card the other night, flashing the ace that went with the six I had up, giving me seventeen and we stand on soft seventeen in Niagara. When I got to spot five, the player, a devout follower of BS (funny how the initials come up that way), absolutely refused to hit his losing fifteen, saying he wouldn’t have hit if I hadn’t exposed my ace, and that it would ruin the rest of the shoe if he did now. I should have asked him if he ever played poker and where.
I see the same kind of behaviour at the ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล poker tables. They’ve done their homework. They know decent starting cards from bad and their discipline is flawless. You will never see them turn over anything less than AK, well, perhaps AQ if it’s suited, and they moan the loudest as big pair with top kicker gets beat hand after hand in the 3-6 game they sat down in. Why do they lose? They have failed to notice what surroundings they have settled into and, literally, have no clue as to why they are giving away money on a consistent basis. The game they have learned is fine for no limit, high limit, or very tight low limit games, but in the styles of hands that are most prevalent in lower limit games, with anywhere from six to ten callers, they haven’t much of a chance. The problem, as I see it, is that these players have only developed the first few levels of skill required to be a poker player. Anyone can be taught to play nothing less than premium cards, to fold when they don’t hit, and to raise when they do. To reach the next level, some deceipt, some flexibility is absolutely necessary. Where can you develop these skills without costing yourself money ? I’d suggest playing on the net, perhaps at pokerpages, making it a point to start playing those marginal hands and trying to steal the odd pot.
To learn the art of poker, yes, in it’s finest form it’s an art, you must learn how to manipulate the table, to keep your opponents guessing what you actually may have, and to maximize your returns by throwing in the odd bluff. I feel sorry for these people that have never experienced the thrill of watching everyone fold on an out and out bluff. You must be absolutely aware of everything going on in the game you’re in. Evaluate every situation on it’s own merit. I’m not advocating a no-foldem style in every game, but there are no cards that are an automatic fold. Any two cards, in the right situation, are playable. If you don’t agree with that statement, I refer you to Doyle Brunson. In my own experience I have a perfect example.
While on the puck (yes, I’m Canadian and I know it’s the “button”), playing in a very loose 10/20 game in Scarborough, I looked down at my cards to see 5/8 staring back. “Fold” I thought to myself and prepared to do just that until it was my turn to act. Nine callers forced me to rethink my position and I raised, thinking I might need a free turn card. Two re-raises behind me and my turn to act again with $380 in the pot. My twenty bucks made it an even $400 before the flop of 555. Pocket aces, kings and jacks helped make it the biggest pot I’ve ever had the pleasure of raking in. Do I regularly play 5/8? No, but my ability to adapt to a specific situation was the deciding factor in the win. I know far too many players that would have folded without giving it a second thought. Do yourself a favour, at least give it that second thought. If you don’t, you’ll end up like the chameleon that lost his ability to change. He was eaten alive.