Manipulating your opponent into making an error

If you are playing against very aggressive opponents and they have shown a propensity to attack you with aggression then you are often better off allowing them to keep the lead. For example let us say that an aggressive player likes to raise from late position in cash games at say 888poker and they do this almost every time that it gets folded to them.

You are in the big blind with a mediocre holding of Q-J. Now against the wide range of your opponent then your hand is doing pretty well. So you know that your opponent is raising with a wide range but what are you going to do about it?

Well you could do one of two things. You could for example play straight back at your opponent by three betting them. Another strategy could be to call and then look to allow them to bet weaker hands post flop. Like for example if the flop comes Q-9-4 rainbow.

Here you are well ahead of your opponents range and you can simply check. They will certainly make a c-bet in this situation and you can simply check-call. These lines can get a little bit hairy because you are escalating the pot with a mediocre holding.

However this is exactly what your opponent wants you to think and do and they want you to be fearful and fold these mediocre hands. Because of the fact that you will be asked to call with hands that you may not have otherwise called with then you are going to run into situations where your opponents hit strong hands when you think that they are weak.

Like for example if they raise with 100% of their range from the button. You call with Q-J and the flop comes Q-6-4. You check-call the flop and the turn is the 2h.

You check-call again but this time they have made a straight with 5d-3c. These results are frustrating but this is exactly why the loose-aggressive style can be difficult to combat. You really shouldn’t be afraid of that and allow your opponent to go down the line that loses them the most money.

Often this is the line that involves the most financial risk as well but as the famous saying goes…….no pain and no gain. Do not forget of course that you are playing against thinking opponents and this has to be factored into the equation.

So if you call pre-flop and then check-call the flop all the time with made hands then your astute opponents are going to catch onto that line. They will either start checking the turn back when they have nothing and thus allowing themselves to catch cards on later streets or they can continue the betting when they have flopped a strong hand that is well ahead of your flop check-calling range.

So against thinking opponents then you want to play back and allow them to either keep the lead or let them have it pre-flop by three betting.

Remember though that you need to play back at your opponents in different ways. But you need to make sure that you are not falling into identifiable patterns yourself. Have you ever watched a poker hand played between two top players that ended up all in with both players having weak holdings?

This more than likely happened because of the fact that both of them were thinking on multiple levels with each one being totally aware that the other player had a weak holding. The final call at the end was to do with the fact that the caller was getting roughly correct odds to call.

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