8-30-05 [poker]Preflop strategies. I think that complex information hiding strategies like Abdul's are foolish. They're only necessary if you're playing the same style all the time, and playing against the same people so that the can build up a read on you. Instead, I like to play a few different strategies, and change between them. Each one is pretty deterministic, but you can't tell what I'm doing because you don't know what strategy I'm playing with any particular hand. The strategies are, roughly :
1. Basic solid play. Like Harrington or Sklansky, etc. but without bothering to hide information. eg. raise with high pairs, limp with suited connectors or low pairs, etc. This is how I usually play when I first sit down before I get a read on the table.
2. Always raising. If the table is very tight/weak I'll play an always-raising strategy. In this strategy I never limp, even with the speculative hands like suited connectors. I play this only when people are folding so much preflop or postflop that I always want to be in the lead. Usually I'll only play this for a little while, because people will start playing back, and then I have to go into a trapping mode.
3. Trapping. Against people who are frequently raising my limps, aggressive players, etc. I go into a trapping strategy. In this mode I'll limp with a lot of good hands hoping for a raise so I can come over the top. I'll stop playing speculative hands and go into a high-card mode. I'm expecting I could play a big pot any time I come into the pot. This mode is very tight except when there are good opportunites to steal or limp cheaply.