6/19/2006

06-19-06 [poker] - 1

06-19-06 [poker]

Tony G's performance in the International Poker Challenge (IPC) was pretty awesome. The goal in poker is to play better than your opponents and there are two general schools on how to do this - first is you both just play your "A" game, and you try to play better than they can; you think your logic and reading, etc. can beat theirs and you'll win over time. The other school is to make them play worse than their A game. Maybe their A game would beat you, maybe not, but your goal is not to beat their best game, it's to bring down their play by getting in their head. There are two general ways of doing this - one is through table talk & persona, the other is through your own play. Guys like Tony G (and Scotty Nguyen and Phil Helmuth) talk a lot and have a persona that puts opponents on tilt, but they actually play really vanilla basic solid poker. Their goal is to make opponents think they're playing more crazy than they really are and to get opponents to take shots at them with lesser hands. The other way is to tilt them through strange play - by playing in a weird way, you can confuse and disorient people, especially the "table coaches" who get angry when you win a hand that you weren't "supposed to". The strange style on its own may be -EV, but people adjust to it so badly it becomes very +EV. People who do this are Gus Hansen, and Alan Goehring, for example.

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