If you want to be a winning poker player you must know how other players think. Players (especially weak and inexperienced ones) often commit themselves to pots, even though they shouldn’t. There are three types of poker commitment:
- Commitment to history.
- Commitment to certain hands.
- Commitment to milestones.
Commitment to History
The players you face at the lower levels are all pretty much the same. Sometimes you can even tell which poker books they have studied. Perhaps a player has read Doyle Brunson’s “Super System” and based his game on this classic. Players of this kind shouldn’t be given any credit pre-flop or on the flop. On the flop we’ll go head to head with bottom two pair against A-J-T on the board. This will be the correct play over 90 % of the time. Other players have read other books and what you need to do is identify which player has read what, and adjust your game to this.
Commitment to Certain Hands
Some hands are harder to let go than others, with AA as the classic example. When you discover a player who is unable to fold a big hand you should try to take maximum advantage of this. Wait for them to hit something and then break it, be that two pair against an over pair, or a flush against a straight, etc. This type of player generally overplays their hands and thus present maximum implied odds. Consequently, you should play many long shot draws when you’re up against a player like this.
Commitment to Milestones
This type of commitment has less to do with money and poker than it does with aesthetics. It comes in many different forms. These are some common examples:
- Tightening up the game when being just above round numbers (200, 250, 400, 1000…), and loosening up when being within one or two plays of reaching a round number.
- Not drawing or calling questionable bets for an amount that would bring their stack below average in a tournament or below the initial buy-in in a cash game.