How to Adjust to Your Opponents

How to Adjust to Your Opponents

Day 2 of the European Poker Tour in Malta went as well as the first one.

Not only was it my birthday (which I celebrated with an incredible breakfast at the Intercontinental hotel, and again with dinner at a traditional Maltese restaurant), but I was given a gift early on in Day 2 that gave me the chip lead over the field…. again!

The first two hours were a true test of patience: I opened once and played zero flops.

That definitely wasn’t my game plan coming into the day (especially as the chip leader at the table), but to succeed at poker one must adjust to the circumstances in real time, even in the most extreme of conditions.

Aside from being pathetically card dead, the players were being far too aggressive. There was no need to get fancy, and I had plenty of chips to wait around for an excellent opportunity. Why settle for anything less when you don’t have to?

03My big moment came the first hand after the break.

A hyper aggressive player opened under the gun to 2,800 on 600/1200. I 3-bet the button to 7,400 with AA and he 4-bet me to 18,900.

With 120,000 effective stacks I’d normally advocate flat calling here, to trap him, protect my range, disguise my hand.

But all that goes out the window when your read says he’s got a hand, and you know he’s simply not going to fold it.

When I made it 32,000 he didn’t take long before shoving.

My AA held against his AK, and I was the chip leader with over 240,000 and double the average.

PNscreenIt’s easy to chalk this one up as a standard cooler.

Truth be told I strongly dislike 4 betting AK in his spot for many reasons: my image, the way the table had been playing, us having no history, the fact that it just wasn’t the ‘spot’ one waits for to get out of line.

Adapting is a must!

It’s an expensive reminder of how one must know, understand and adapt to their image, and that of their opponents. In some respects I resonate with his logic: “I’ve been loose all day and I finally have a hand. Now I’ll reraise him, and he’ll never believe me!”

But your image only takes you as far as someone is willing to adjust to it.

I hadn’t made a single move all day (of course, he could be leveling himself into thinking that I’m waiting for this moment to do so), and my ‘adjustment’ was to wait patiently for him to get out of line. It may sound trivial, but if I find the best option simply I’m not going to look for a complicated one.

chips01I keep asking myself, what was his plan when 4-betting?

Is he hoping I call with worse? 5-bet bluff?

Both seem desperate.

His readjustment it seems, should have been to observe that I was waiting to bust him, just flat call preflop, and check-fold the 654 board that came.

Sure, some of the time he may bluffed off the hand and given up equity, but that’s what you do vs. great players out of position when you’re deep stacked; you wait for a better spot.

Because if you don’t, there may not be another one.


I’ll start Day 3 tomorrow in 26th place with 216,500 in chips. 895 players entered, 198 remain, 127 make the money. But if I’m being honest, there’s only one spot that matters.

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