Multiple Level Thinking
Alright so I was browsing 2+2 yesterday and I was reading some threads in the High Stakes NL section and one thread really got me thinking about multiple level thinking. It was a hand someone posted that they played against CTS, one of the top online NL players, at 25$-50$. Basically the perceived fish at the table raised it in the CO and Hero (hand poster) 3Bet the fish with K4s from the button. CTS was on the BB and then 4Bet. The poster's question was wondering about whether 5Bet bluffing
would be profitable as CTS knows that he's 3Betting light to isolate the fish and will be 4Betting light most likely. It ended up that Hero did 5Bet shove all in. The thing that really struck me though was that CTS snap called him with AJo!
Hero basically got outlevelled by CTS (CTS was thinking on the level above Hero) CTS knew that Hero would think that that CTS would perceive hero's 3Bet as isolating the fish and therefore 4Bet a much wider range. CTS then knew that hero would likely respond to this by 5Bet bluffing a wide range and therefore snap-called with AJo (which I still can't beleive)
Now obviously at the levels most of us our playing, low-micro stakes, this kind of levelling will only get you into trouble. The reason is that it is only possible to think on a level one above your opponent. If your opponent is thinking on level n then you can only think on the level n+1.
For example, say your playing 2NL against a complete donk. He's probably only thinking about what he has. (The zeroth level) Therefore the only think you can think about is what does he have. (The first level) You can't think about what does he think you have because he's not thinking about what you have. (This would be the second level) It is very rare that at micro stakes you would ever think above the second level as most players are not thinking above the first level.
Multiple level thinking is extremely powerful tool and outlevelling your opponent is basically what the nosebleed games are all about. At lower stakes it can still be extremely useful as long as your not thinking on a level that is too high for a particular opponent as this will get you into loads of trouble.
I'd love to hear what other posters think on this subject.