Recently I have been reading some very good chess books mainly because I had such a love of the game a few years ago.
These days because of my love of poker and the fact that I now know what to study then I am seeing chess in a completely new light! It has all come too late of course to enable me to become a serious chess player on the tournament circuit.
Just like in all sports and games, there are many very good technical players at the lower levels that the chess public have never heard of.
The Big Snooker Boom
I recall years ago when I used to play snooker how some of the best local amateurs were knocking in centuries for fun and scoring maximums in practice on a regular basis. This just underlined how far one had to go to be an established professional on television.
It takes years of dedication to reach the top in anything but it is a process that is hindered by life getting in the way for most people. In poker then it is similar to chess in that when your opponents are superior in quality then you need to be creative to gain an edge.
However just how do we go about being creative and in what areas do we need to be so? I believe that against solid opponents then we at least need to do certain things differently to what they do but we first need to learn what it is that they do.
POKER FACT: For example folding junk hands in all positions is something that everybody does and so we cannot gain an edge folding junk.
Secondly we probably cannot gain much of an edge with our very strong hands because everybody wins with their strong hands.
What Do Our Poker Opponents Do
However this isn’t as clear cut as folding junk because of the fact that a stronger player should be able to hand read better and therefore extract more value from their strong holdings. The areas where we can gain from deviating away from our opponents is in perceived ranges.
- If our range is different to what our opponent perceives it to be then we gain. An example could be if you say polarised your range in early position in a full ring cash game. This was explained in David Sklanskys’ “Fundamental Theorem of Poker”in his excellent book “The Theory of Poker”.
Instead of raising with 7% of hands that included dominated hands like A-J, K-Q and K-J you folded these hands but raised with hands that you could easily get away from instead like Q-10s, 8-8 and 10-9s.
This simply replaces one type of hand with another while still maintaining the premium hands like AA-QQ, A-K and A-Qs. This means that players will call you with weaker holdings and will fold to c-bets on boards like A-9-6 when you have Q-10s fearing that you have the big ace.
Meanwhile if you are 3/bet pre-flop and you have the low part of your new manufactured range then your fold is easy and straight forward.