'Beating Up on Weak Players'

by Daniel Negreanu

If someone describes your playing style as weak, let's just say you're in lots of trouble. In fact, its the weak players that are the ones you should focus on when you are at the poker table. Rather than duke it out with the strong, fierce, aggressive players you'll risk less, and win more in the long run against the weak, timid, passive players.

In order to pound on the weak players properly, the first thing you'll need to do is identify them. There are generally a few clues that you can look for that while not always totally accurate, could be clues nonetheless:

1) How they dress. If someone dresses extremely conservatively they will generally play poker that way! If they dress loudly they'll more than likely play more aggressive or flamboyantly.

2) How they talk. This is in line with the previous clue. If they are quiet or timid in the way they talk, chances are that's how they'll play poker.

Again, conversely, if you a dealing with an aggressive talker they are more than likely aggressive players.

3) Do they raise before the flop or just call? If they like to limp in on a regular basis, you might be dealing with a weak player.

4) Do they like to bet, or check and call? Aggressive players are bettors while weak players tend to check, or just call others bets.

So once you've identified the weak player, it's time to strategize against them. Playing against weak players is without a doubt, the easiest type of opponent to face. In fact, your cards often don't even matter since they play so predictably!

The key principal to think about is to basically pound them like an anvil repeatedly until they stick up for themselves. Almost like what a bully at school would be like who wants your lunch money. If they keep giving it up, you keep taking it.

When you have position on a weak player it makes it that much easier so you really want to look for opportunities to get a weak player "heads up."

How do you do that? Well when a weak player limps into a pot you try to isolate him with a decent sized raise to knock everyone out but you and the weak player. If the player is extremely weak, it doesn't even matter is you have a 2-7 in your hand! You really aren't playing your hand anyway, you are playing the player.

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So if you are able to get the weak player heads up with position, you'll know let his actions dictate what you should do. If the weak player bets the

flop you can pretty sure he has a good hand. So, if you don't flop a very good hand now would be a very good time to fold.

If the weak player checks the flop, then you should bet regardless of what you have. The only time you may want to check is if you flopped the nuts and want to give him a free card. Otherwise, you should always bet the flop and look to win the pot right there.

Again, if your weak opponent check-raises you, run and hide! Unless of course you flopped a strong hand yourself.

The tricky decision comes when the weak player decides to just call which he will often do. At that point, you have to make a game time decision as to whether your opponent flopped a drawing hand or a made hand.

Since your opponent is weak they won't give you much information about their hand by the way they play it. Generally, a weak player will check and call with both a made hand like top pair, or a flush draw.

So, as a general rule you should proceed cautiously if a weak player calls you on the flop. If you have a good hand by all means bet, but if you are bluffing I would lean towards checking on the turn card since the weak player has shown some interest.

There is an old adage in poker that I think sums up that last point, "If you bluff a bad player you then become one." Stay aggressive against the weak players but don't get caught running without the ball when they show interest in the flop.


Additional Articles:
-Beating Up on Weak Players
-Go Big or Go Home
-Conditional Probability

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-Sit-and-Go Strategy
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