Other mistakes to look for

As we saw in the first section of this page, some otherwise excellent players are incapable of adjusting to different structures. Therefore, you may sometimes decide to sit down in a game with them specifically because you know they are playing on unfamiliar turf. You take advantage of their weakness by playing more correctly, according to the structure, than they do.
One of my favorites types of players is the one who never bluffs, you have a tremendous advantage over these players because you just about always know where you’re at. Against most player you have to call with a marginal hand since you usually have two ways of winning – either by improving to the best hand or by having them beat when they’re bluffing. However, you can assume that players who never bluff have hands when they bet, and you only call when your hand has a fair chance of beating theirs or when you’re getting good enough pot odds to chase. You never need to consider calling on the chance that they may be bluffing. Even players who bluff much less frequently than they should offer you a big advantage, especially when you make plays to stop the few bluffs they might be tempted to try against you.

Over a period of time, you can save a tremendous number of bets by not having to call such players. At the same time, you are likely to make money from them since you only play against them with a legitimate hand that has a reasonable chance of beating theirs. Ironically, though, against such players you face the psychologically, upsetting fact that you only profit from their mistakes when you fold and lose the pot to them. Your profit comes from having lost less to them than you would have lost to players whose legitimate hands you might have paid off. This is an example of the poker principle that any bet saved means more money earned at the end of the session and at the end of the year.

Sometimes the only weakness I can discern in opponents is that they will never check-raise bluff. Even this relatively small flaw gives me an edge. Knowing that these opponents always have good hands allows me to fold hands I might otherwise have called with when I do get check-raised. Anytime I can do this I save money, and these savings add up in the long run. Other players will never make any kind of bluffs raise; against them I can save even more money since I always know they have good hands when they raise.

Occasionally you encounter players who never check-rise. You advantage of this major mistake by betting more hands after they check than you would against other players who have checked. Since these players don’t check-raise, you know they are checking because they have only fair hands at bets. You are actually in a better position than you would be when a hands is checked to you in a non-check-raising game, because in these games a players will occasionally check a good hand in to induce you to bet a weaker hand. The players who never check-raise will hardly be so cute; when they check, it’s because their hands are not worth betting.

Players who bluff much more than they should give you a tremendous opportunity for a profitable session. You should do everything you can to induce them to bluff even more and then in Las Vegas who bluffs much to much. I never bet in to that player because he will usually fold. Instead I check, and he will almost automatically bet; then, depending upon my hand, I either call or raise. It’s true that by playing against him this way, I give him many chances for a free card, but that risk is more than compensated for by the times he just keeps on bluffing at the pot.

(Thought players who bluff to much can produce a profitable session for you, they are also much more dangerous than players who never bluff, especially if you are on any kind of limited bankroll. To take advantage of these players’ mistakes, you must induce bluffs and nearly always call them, even when you have a mediocre hand. Obviously players who bluff too much get their share of good hands like the rest of us. When they get more than their share, you will tend to pay them off when you wouldn’t pay off others. Therefore, up to a point, were I on a limited bankroll, I would prefer my opponents to be tight, nonbluffing players rather than wild, bluffing players.)

There are endless kinds of mistakes you can detect in your opponents’ play, and when you detect them, there is always a way to take advantage of them. Following is a list of the most common mistakes poker players make, accompanied by the best strategies to use to take advantage of the mistakes.

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