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Poker School

Causing confusion at the poker table

Confusion reigns

If you can confuse the life out of your opponents, you’ve got a good chance of throwing them off their game. Money matters and your average poker player wants to know they’re on to a sure thing before the commit to the pot. If you can tip them into a world of uncertainty, you can disrupt their thinking and bring them down a peg or two.

A lack of information or conflicting information causes doubt and doubt is the enemy of the poker table. Upsetting a player’s internal ‘script’, their expectations of how situations will play out, is the perfect way to create doubt. Leaving your move until the last second will mean your opponent expects a fold, so jump in with a re-raise bluff. The time pressure on the other player will leave them scrambling to make a choice and prompt them to fold, handing you the pot.

Of course, this isn’t guaranteed so make sure you weigh up all the information you’ve gathered on the players at the table.

Go random

There’s a theory that raising by the same amount every time helps hide what’s in your hand. However, if you go completely random, you’ll likely have more of an edge over your opponents. Humans are terrible at random, so get something to help you. Generate a random sequence of raises in advance of playing with a random number generator, or rely on something ever-changing to tell you how much to raise by (like the second hand of your watch, for example).

Mixed signals

Sending out conflicting messages, whether subtle or outrageous, can unsettle your opponents. When you sit down at a Sit & Go, try opening with a ‘be kind to me, I’m new’ message. Even if no-one believes you, you’ve planted a seed that you just might be a new player. Or try taking a smaller stack to a cash game than you might normally. Playing like an inexperienced or irrational player at the beginning of your game will make your opponents susceptible to a squeeze play or more advanced tactics.