Poker will never be predictable, no matter how much effort you put into improving your online poker skills. Of course, that’s a big part of why the game is so exciting and boasts over 50 million players in the US alone!
As all gamblers who play poker know, the game is about so much more than just the cards you’re dealt and the unpredictability of this particular aspect of the game. It also revolves around your people-reading skills and ability to adapt your poker tournament strategy according to the type of players you’re going up against at the table. The good news is that most beginner and intermediate players play their cards in such a way that it’s possible to figure out their “tells.” But what happens when you’re faced with a player who tends to play aggressively, wildly, and unpredictably regardless of the cards they’re holding? Read on to find out how to adjust your gameplay approach to increase your chances of one-upping this type of player and snagging the pot.
How to Spot an Unpredictable, “Wild” Poker Player
There’s a difference between an experienced player who changes up their strategy as they go, making it tough for you to put a finger on how they make their decisions, and a player who dives ferociously into the game without taking time to analyze their cards or compare their odds. This type of player plays very loose, rarely folds and doesn’t bat an eye when making frequent wild bluffs despite having absolutely nothing to back it up.
Unfortunately, these untamed antics can often lead to the player getting the better of their opponents, all of whom are desperately trying to find a pattern to their behavior. The reality is that there usually isn’t a pattern to find.
The Best Strategy for Beating Out a “Wild” Player
First and foremost, it’s vital not to allow a reckless opponent to throw you off. Keep your head in the game, be patient and make peace with the fact that you’re not going to “figure them out.” All that you can really do is play your own hands to the best of your ability.
Many poker pros insist that the best course of action when going up against an especially loose gambler is to take an approach to your gameplay that is in direct opposition to theirs. Play things tight and proceed only with hands that you feel fairly confident will put you in good standing to rake in a win.
Throwing caution to the wind and playing just as unpredictably and loosely as your challenger will only lead to a battle of egos, often resulting in both players forgetting to put their poker skills to good use and relying on the luck of the draw to beat out their opponent.
Finding the Balance Between Wild and Unpredictable Play
Once you’ve challenged a “wild” gambler at the poker table – whether or not you came out on top – you’ll realize just how infuriating the experience can be and, as such, you’ll probably want to take action to ensure that your own playing style won’t be viewed in a similar light in the future. So, how do you walk the fine line between playing with total reckless abandon and playing more strategically to avoid coming across as “too predictable” in your decisions?
The answer is quite simple: always think before you act! Keep this rule of thumb in mind while also:
- Mixing up your continuation bets and your raising range.
- Not making the same types of decisions too quickly or too slowly (such as raising immediately when you’re dealt good cards.)
- Not raising the same amount depending on the strength of your hands.
- Barreling with a wider range.
Optimizing Your Poker Skills
There’s no better way to become an unpredictable player and to successfully adjust your poker tournament strategy as needed than by working on optimizing your poker skills. Luckily, there are many opportunities to do this and see a boost in your win rate. You’ll want to practice as much as possible by playing poker games online. If you have a limited bankroll, enjoy a balance between playing online poker for money and playing friendly games with friends and relatives.
Along with playing online casino games for practice, you could also look into hiring a poker coach, signing up to take a poker course and reading books about poker (just make sure they’re penned by respected table game professionals with notable track records!)
It’s also worthwhile to use the various learning tools at your disposal, such as poker analysis software and poker solvers, keeping in mind that some online casinos don’t allow for real-time assistance (RTA) tools when taking part in tournaments.
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