While playing online poker tournaments you have no doubt taken notice of certain players’ styles of play. These styles could range from loose-passive to tight-aggressive and many variations in between that require a select strategy for counter attack.
You may be familiar with opponent profiles in other ways too. For instance, you can similarly use Phil Hellmuth’s guide that applies creature-like characters to your opponents such as an eagle or an elephant. I have added a profile to this guide as well called the “monkey” – specifically in mind for certain internet players.
The loose-aggressive types of players often come out swinging in the early stages. You can liken these types of players to the type of game many pros like Erik Lindgren, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey love to play in the early stages. They call it “small ball poker” which basically means playing a lot of small sized pots and forcing opponents nearly every opportunity into making tough decisions. While a professional poker player invariably has an edge in the types of hands using this style of play, there isn’t as much an advantage to using it online, especially in the low buy in levels.
In the low limit tournaments, specifically up to about the $20-$30 range, you are still going to run into a lot of players who simply don’t know when to fold. The number of players that will play top pair, middle pair or call draws all in actually dominate the low level buy-ins. Now granted, they are usually the early departed crowd too, but that doesn’t mean all of them are gone. Some wise up enough after an early, lucky run and do in fact place and make the final table.
The point is small ball poker may be played online but you really have to pick your spots and opponents very, very selectively. Some examples of these opportunities may be against very tight players, near the money, and deep in the money. You can always use your tournament indicator poker calculator profiling grid to find know which players to make a move on. Otherwise, you are best to stick with an mzone strategy playing a tight aggressive game, because in the low limits, chips will eventually fall into your seat by virtue of frequent opponent mistakes. (more…)