You come across all kinds of opponents on RP, and it helps a lot if you know what they are doing. Sometimes they will help you by showing their cards.
For example a couple days ago in a tournament I put in a preflop raise with 88 and had a caller in the BB, and with a pretty wet board and 2 overcards opponent put in a largish bet on the river, to which I folded, because his play seemed a bit odd, but I had no idea what his game was.
He triumphantly showed a pair of 4s, revealing that he had called the raise with 46o and that he had called a pot sized flop bet with, basically, nothing.
So I took quite a beating on this hand, and he was whisked away to another table. In the meanwhile I rebuilt my stack, and then he returned to my table, now seated immediately to my left. I was in the SB and called an early raise with KJo, and villain also called the raise from BB. Flop comes JJ6. Check, check, shove, fold, call and he turns over a pair of 6s (46 again!). Turn brings my 4th Jack and he is drawing very dead indeed.
One good way of categorising opponents is whether they are glass half full types, or glass half empty types.
I was in the BB with nothing much as two opponents limped in my direction. Both were fairly tight aggressive players, so why are they limping? They want to see a flop with hands that might be monsters with the right flop. The first limper (A) was very tight, and the second limper (B) was on the button and taking advantage of the enhanced odds, having to put in 1BB for a shot at a pot now containing 2 1/2 BB.
I don’t remember what I had, but I decided to try a squeeze play and put in a big raise. Both opponents folded, so I picked up 3 1/2 BB. The opponent in early position showed their cards (66) but I did not reciprocate. I had suspected that this player was trying to see a cheap flop with a small pair, but was unwilling to pay a high price for the honor, and now that he/she had folded, button did not have the odds to call either, so was forced to fold.
However if player A had been a glass half full type player, they would have called any preflop raise to try to see a flop and mine a set, so the play would not have worked. The glass half full player would likely have flat-called a pot sized bet on the flop too, leaving a difficult set up for later streets.
In the hand below we see the glass half full thinking in process again. Tilt a half full glass and see what happens.
There is an early limper, then I limp in from SB with KK, and BB raises to 6BB. This looks like a scared bet to me. BB does not really want to see a flop, so most likely not AA. Early limper folds, and now I shove.
BB INSTANTLY calls. Why? What cards could I hold. As he has TT, the hands he is most likely up against are AA, KK, QQ, or any two overcards to TT. OK, he dominates AT, but would I shove AT?
Having spent an hour building a good stack with a good position in the tournament, why is he willing to call off half his stack when he is 50/50 at best against my range?
Here is what happens,and you will see this a LOT in RP tournaments.
- Opponent has not had a decent hand for a while, but he picks up TT. He is EXCITED. “Right” he thinks, “I am chips-in here, so let’s blow these limpers away as I really don’t want a call in case an A comes on the flop.”
- Unexpectedly SB shoves. “OK, smartypants, you think I am going to be bluffed off my TT. You limped and now you are shoving with a suited ace or something like that? Even if you have AK or AQ I am still favorite.”
- "No, I was not tilting when SB shoved. I was not over excited about getting TT. OK I lost half my stack, but you have to take some risks to win.
Here is also another observation about opponents.
Much has been said about RP rankings based on bankroll status. It is perfectly true that you cannot tell how good a player is based on their number of chips, as they may just have started out, but be the next Kid Poker in the making.
Well, yes, but when you are playing in tournaments that cost 1-million, 2.5-million, and 5-million chips to enter and you see that your opponent s ranked at about #4000, this means that they have committed 20% or more of their bankroll to enter this tournament–maybe even their entire bankroll.
They may be great players, but chances are that they have not regularly made final tables in this set of tournaments over a long period of time, and will be prone to making blunders at key moments, so when you spot these players it can pay off very quickly to study their playing style.
Since it costs, I think, $99 to buy 3 1/2 million chips, are some people really buying play money chips so that they can pay $30 to enter a play money tournament? This cannot be ruled out.