Fear

t1riel

t1riel

Legend
I noticed lately that one of the most important factors in poker is fear. Fear that you might lose a lot of chips or have your Pocket Aces cracked.
Now, I'm a tight/conservative player. I tend to only play quality hands regardles of position or pot odds. Many of the poker players I play with know this. I strike fear in them when I raise. They fear I have a monster hand. Now, most cases they are correct. Even if they do call to see a flop, I will make another big bet. This will give them the message that I hit something and unless they have a draw or a pair, they fold in aggravation. There is nothing wrong with how I play. Is there? People call me a "mouse" or a "rock" like it's the worst way to play. But is it really? (Seriously, I'm asking you).

Now, clearly I can use this to my advantage. Take pots down with any two cards providing they have mediocre-marginal hands at best. The problem is, I fear to make bluffs becuase I want to plac ehigh in the tournament and not lose a lot of chips. I know this is my biggest problem in my play.

The point I'm trying to make is you can't be afraid. Sure, everyone wants to place high. But, there is a difference between placing high and winning. Someone who is afraid and plays super tight places high most of the time. Someone who isn't afraid to call with nothing or raise with nothing wins tournaments.

I should practice what I preach. It's one of the cases where you know what you should do but you're afraid to do it. Basically, be fearless and makes your opponents fear you. But you should also play smart. That's what I'm trying to do to make myself a better player. You should too if you haven't already.
 
Egon Towst

Egon Towst

Cardschat Elite
Sooo true.

In recent weeks, I`ve placed 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th in various MTTs, but I haven`t won one and I`m sure this is the problem. I need to take that extra little risk in the right place.

Problem is, how to identify the right place ? Pick the wrong one and you`re history. It`s a knife-edge.
 
romanooz

romanooz

Guest
in some online MTTs you are moved from table to table so that a certain ballance of player nr / table is maintained.so when you do a bluf is important that you know that you've created an image table of monster-hand-kind-of-player , a difficult thing to do in an online MTT... if people on your table are tight % of bluff succes are definetly higher!
 
Stefanicov

Stefanicov

Legend
I find playing the situation more than the cards work very well at FTs so you get a loose image so when you do get monsters u get paid very nicely:D
 
Irexes

Irexes

Legend
I think there's a couple of ways to approach making bets that are either bluffs or continuation bets on a missed flop or semi-bluffs.

The first is to treat them as a risk fraught with danger, the kind of thing that gets the adrenaline pumping. I think that for a tight player (or rock) who views bluffing as a trait of the loose or poor player it can feel a bit naughty and "not the right move".

The other way is to treat bluffing, c bets and semi-bluffs with the same detached analysis of the odds that you would treat any other bet or call. Simplistically, if a pot is 5000 and I make a stab at it with a bluff of 2500 (with no likely outs) I want to win at least once for every two I lose in order to make it a good bet. Of course it's not the exact science that calculating whether to call a bet by calculating your outs can be, but it reduces a bluff to just another way of playing the odds instead of the swashbuckling and fear-inducing move it can otherwise be.

If you are able to treat bluffs the second way then it becomes a case of waiting for the opportune circumstances for the bluff before making a move that in the long run is +EV. This also makes it easier to cope with when doesn't work, in the same way as if you call a bet correctly chasing a flush and it doesn't hit, then you know that in the long run it will pay off.

When fear is a factor I think it can often result in the "I really ought to be making a move right now, I better bluff" approach which is a lot less scientific and quite rightly a lot more scary.

I've become a lot more aggressive later in MTTs in the last 6 months and have more often had a decent stack approaching the final table, rather than creeping along a hoping for a surge at the right time. Approaching bluffing and being aggressive with a different mindset has been a big factor. I've also got to say that reading Zen and the Art of Poker was a massive help in adopting this approach.
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
^ Nicely put.

The simple solution to the problem is 'play lots of hands'. The more experienced you are, the easier you will find it to distance yourself from emotions at the poker table and concentrate on making the 'right' play. It's difficult to teach the ability to distance oneself from emotion at the table - it's the sort of thing that relies heavily on actual experience. I have Zen and the Art of Poker on my 'to read' list despite this though. >_>

Funnily enough I also think multitabling helps me in this regard. I don't really have time to 'fear' or be worried about the play I am making when I have 4 other tables which need attention too - I just focus on making what I believe to be the correct play (of course with so many tables up sometimes my decision will be incorrect, but as long as I can retain my edge on everyone else I'm relatively happy). Of course, multitabling isn't for everyone though.

Despite what I just said about experience being crucial, reading my inane ramblings on bluffing might help a little too. There is potentially a lot less fear involved if you study the reasons behind why you may want to bluff (and thus can more easily deduce if you are making a 'good' decision in taking a stab at the pot).
 
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medeiros13

medeiros13

Rock Star
Nice topic T1riel! To address your question, is there anything wrong with playing extremely TAG. In my opinion, yes there is. The biggest reason is that if you don't get cards to fight back, the LAG players are just going to beat you senseless. In fact, I can remember watching on of those Learn Poker from the Pros episodes where that was the exact topic. Howard Lederer was talking about times where he just gets beaten down by LAG players if he doesn't take a stand or doesn't get cards.

I was actually helped out (and I've said this before :) ) by reading a lot of Chuck's posts. The biggest benefit I got from him is to not be afraid of raising a good hand. I've won a lot of hands PF by just raising 3x BB with something like AQ etc. Previously, I used to only raise pocket pairs and I'd never get any action.

Now, if you're comfortable with your play style (which is fine) my question to you would be what are your betting patterns? The reason I ask is because if you typically like to bet half pot when you have a made hand to build the pot, you should use that to your advantage when you decide to bluff. If the OP is observant, he'll put you on a big hand and fold it out to you. For you, that normal bet shouldn't make you squeamish should your bluff attempt not work.
 
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