How to Beat a Poker Bully
One of the most frustrating opponents you will face on a table is a Poker Bully and Replay has a few of them.
A Poker Bully is a player that throws up big pre-flop bet and then no matter what the flop is they they go big on the flop and turn bets to drive their opponent in to a fold.
That is different than a loose aggressive player because the bully better doesn’t even need to see their cards and they are not trying to beat you with better cards and their entire goal is to scare and bully you into a fold regardless of what cards they have or what is flopped.
The usual reaction of people facing a Poker Bully is to fold even good cards because they know the bully will raise and reraise all bets driving you to the brink of an all in every time and the bully preys on that fear knowing most players are risk averse and will fold.
The bully likes to join tables where players limp in pre-flop bets and the stacks are low and they go for quantity not quality. They don’t care if they get beat a few times when they bully with a bad hand because they make it up and more on the players that fold.
So here is the strategy I use with Poker Bullies:
1- Avoid the impulse to bully the bully. They are not going to be scared off if you raise their bet and if you show strong on the flop they will fold and look for a new sucker or drive up with raise after raise until you are in an all in situation. Remember they are after quantity and they won’t change their style just because you win a hand from them.
2- Check, call and slow play. This is best done from a position to the left or following the Poker Bully so they can’t raise the pre-flop bet again which they like to do.
Check their pre-flop bet and call them on the flop if you hit good cards or a solid two or 3 way possible. Always expect them to raise the flop bet and turn bet. That is their strategy to see if you hit or you are fishing to scare you off.
By slow playing and check and calling you take away the Poker Bullies ability to drive you in to an all in situation until you see enough cards to know if you hold a winner and you will get more money out of the bully in the pot if you decide to go big on the river.
3- You don’t have to change your range of cards and getting too tight with your range will signal the bully to fold when you go head to head and hit the flop. Just play smart cards and let the bully take the lead until the river.
Now playing a Poker Bully has more risks and they will occasionally hit a good hand so you need to have a stack big enough to survive those bets and you should always expect they will bully the bet on the flop and turn before getting in to a heads up with them.
Here is a good article that goes in to more detail on dealing with a Poker Bully: