I’ve had a number of occasions over the years where I’ve been playing someone at relatively low ranks (maybe in the tens of thousands), and then comment to the player, “wow, you seem surprisingly strong”, and then a few months later they are in the top 10. I’ve got no simple formula to explain how I recognized that strength, but at the same time, reflecting on what left me feeling these players were unusually strong led me to a few realizations:
- they seem to fold easily: they might take an aggressive line, you raise, and without even thinking, poof, they toss the hand
- they call a lot: they are not afraid of calling in difficult, marginal spots
- they check a lot: you might be sure another bet is coming on the turn or the river, and then, the echoing silence is all that comes
- they raise a lot: you already knew that part
In short, there is a certain balance to their play.
Let me know if others have thoughts on how they are able to recognize a strong opponent.