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Tony Murtagh

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The G-Spot - Pleasure Your Poker Profits
7/22/2007 10:20:49 AM

The first in a series of articles from Tony Guerrera.

Adjust Reads From Tight To Loose

No matter what specific variant of poker you’re playing, playing profitable poker is all about mastering the following process:

1. Put your opponents on hand distributions
2. Evaluate your own hand (or put yourself on a hand distribution if you’re playing a game like Blind Man’s Bluff)
3. Predict how your opponents will respond to every possible action you can make
4. Pick the most profitable line of play based on #1-#3

Today, we’ll focus on putting your opponents on hand distributions when you first sit at a table.

Default Distributions
Putting your opponents on hand distributions is all about reading your opponents’ betting patterns and picking off their physical tells. You don’t really have the ability to put your opponents on hand distributions until you’ve carefully observed them play for a few orbits. Does this mean that you should fold the first forty or fifty hands you’re dealt?

Hell no…especially if you’re playing at a shorthanded table or in a tournament. The good news is that you actually have information about players you’ve never seen in your life. Before you even play a single hand, you have all your past poker playing experience to draw upon, meaning that you can assign a default playing profile to each opponent before you see the table play a single hand. This default profile will be the average of all the poker players you typically face.

The more accurate your default profile is, the less trouble you’ll get yourself into during the first orbit or two. However, your default profile is not enough to get you through an entire session or tournament, no matter how good it is. No matter how good your default profile is, you must identify as quickly as possible how each of your opponents deviates from your default playing profile and adjust your play accordingly.

Easier to Accurately Adjust Default Distributions From Tight To Loose
Suppose your default profile assumes that an early position raise means {AT+, 77+}. If you see a player raise with 33 under-the-gun, that one hand gives you sufficient evidence to adjust his early position raising distribution to {AT+, 33+} (and most likely, 22 should also be included). Another opponent shows down AK and JJ after raising from early position. These two poker hands alone do not provide evidence sufficient for trimming this opponent’s early position raising distribution down to {AK, JJ+}. Tightening up hand distribution reads typically requires more data than loosening up hand distribution reads, meaning that it’s usually best to assign default player profiles that err towards being too tight.

By Tony Guerrera

Tony Guerrera is the author of Killer Poker By The Numbers. Visit him online at

Absolute Poker

For more articles visit the Poker Betting Column at The Betting Directory.

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