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  • The Art of Reaction by Derric "SixPeppers" Haynie

    After studying poker thoroughly for the past 7+ years I feel I have mastered the concept of reacting instantly and correctly adjusting to any strategy set forth by my opponents. While NLHE is obviously my strongest game, the concept of taking information in, processing it to determine its meaning, and then implementing a strategy to counter the strategy behind the information, is the same throughout all poker games (and many other games as well). Reacting is very common in a poker game, but people talk about reacting much more than they actually react. When playing live poker you will often hear things like if you keep raising my blind or if you 3bet me one more time These are often empty threats made by players who are either not willing to adjust, or incapable of it. It is better to just pay attention, take notes, and adjust (without saying anything).

    I often see people that are new to poker watching videos and trying to copy strategies or use charts to determine what hands to play from where. This is a good start to being a great poker player, but in the end you need to tell yourself what hands to play based on the information you receive and the situations unfolding around you at the poker table. A beginning player will often sit down at a poker table with a generic strategy that doesnt change much, regardless of a 3bet happy reg to their left, or a huge fish to their right. This strategy will win you money at the lower stakes, but in a tough game, or as you move up the stakes, you will have a hard time beating the rake without dynamically reacting to the opponent-specific information presented to you at each instance of play.

    On your first hand of poker vs. a completely random table of opponents there is a non exploitable range that you can raise with from each seat and show a profit. This is the hand chart range, it describes a setting in which all players are playing perfectly. As you start to notice non-perfect plays, like limping, passiveness, overplaying/underplaying hands, 3betting with unusually high frequencies, playing too many or few hands, etc. you need to start adjusting from a non exploitable strategy to an exploiting strategy. By the end of a session you should be playing each opponent differently and exploiting any and all mistakes at every turn. You should know which players are horrible, which players are good, and which players may be adjusting to what they see at the table as well (thats when the tricky part of adjusting to their adjustments occurs, later on down the road leading to game theory and Pareto optimal play).
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Art of Reaction by Derric "SixPeppers" Haynie started by Brian View original post