Some Players Never Change … Which Makes For a Happy New Year

by Lou on December 31, 2007

I was playing online the other day and ran into a player I hadn’t seen in a long time. In fact, it had been so long that his screen name didn’t register with me and it wasn’t until I read the notes I had on him that I was able to remember his unique playing style.

This guy was an almost compulsive reraiser. If someone raised before him and no one cold-called before it was his turn to act, he almost always made it three-bets to go. That was usually enough to get him heads-up with the initial raiser, and if the flop was ragged Mr. Three-bet would either bet if the action was checked to him, or raise if the original raiser came out betting. That was often enough for him to take the pot away from the initial raiser, who—presumably—raised with big cards like A-K or A-Q and missed the flop entirely.

If the initial raiser had a big hand and continued to bet out, Mr. Three-bet tended to call the initial raiser only to toss his hand away without showing it whenever the initial raiser bet out on the river too.

When I remembered how Mr. Three-bet played, I looked for hands where I had something too. Then I made it four bets, which usually got things down to a confrontation between Mr. Three-bet and me.

After I’d won three or four pots from him and showed down a real hand each time, I was able to steal some pots from him too.

Mr. Three-bet has a nice idea going, in that aggression is usually a good thing, but he carries it so far that he is no more than a one-trick pony and I wonder how much money he costs himself by playing this way, and whether he sees the error in his ways, or is simply blind to the fact that his play is transparent to any opponent taking the time to clock him.

He went broke at our table after trying a kamikaze steal by three-betting with 6-5, catching part of the flop, and losing to a guy with an overpair pocket jacks who wasn’t going anywhere regardless of whatever ploy Mr. Three-bet tried.

I wonder if he’s made a New Year’s resolution to play differently in 2008. If I run into him online, I’ll let you know. But the majority of player resolutions to play tighter, play smarter, and not to go on tilt won’t last week. They seldom do. And that’s money in your pocket if you take advantage of it.

Have a terrific year at the poker tables and in life itself too.

Happy New Year and keep flopping aces…

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