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Game awareness is everything

📁 articles, Strategy 🕔13.June 2018
Game awareness is everything

It’s easy to develop tunnel vision when playing poker. What does that mean? It means staring so intently at something – your cards, the flop, your stack, whatever – that everything else just blurs away and you ignore everything that you’re not focused on. This is particularly common when playing online poker, because you don’t have the distractions of other people around to pull you out of it.

It sounds like a good thing, right? Being that focused? The problem, though, is that tunnel vision can blind you from noticing key details that can wind up costing you lots of money. Let’s go over a couple of examples.

Watch out for the short stacks

There’s a tendency among online poker players in India to focus on players who have large stacks – either as much as or more than they themselves have. The flip side of that coin is a subconscious relaxation against short-stacked players – maybe it’s the comfort of the knowledge that you’ve got considerably more chips than they do, maybe it’s because you think they’re on a downhill spiral. Either way, this tendency is a known factor but it can also cause you problems if you’re not paying attention.

You see, most short-stacked players know that they’ve got to come out of their shell and start playing a bit more aggressively if they’re going to walk away with anything. However, a lack of chips means that they’ll often resort to frequent shoves as their way of exerting that aggression. This can be bad news for inattentive players who choose to raise with so-so hands (maybe with an eye on stealing the blinds/ante) only to be faced with a shove by a short-stacked player who has position on them. At that point, you’re left with either trying to play a round with a hand you’ve got no business playing with; or folding in embarrassment after essentially giving away chips. Neither is a good position to be in, and that’s why you’ve got to pay attention.

Be wary of players who are leaving

Another example that comes to mind is of a player who’s about to leave the table. Note that this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily short-stacked – maybe they’ve got a cutoff time, maybe they’ve got somewhere else to be. Whatever their reason may be, it’s easy to imagine a situation when they look at their cards and say ‘Maybe one last round…’.

Now, if you aren’t specifically paying attention, that might just sound like a player who’s reluctant to walk away. However, the likelier reality is that they’ve got a very good or even great hand, and they want to get one last big pot before they do. So, unless you’ve got a very good hand yourself, you should let discretion be the better part of valour and fold while you still can.

Hopefully, these two examples will have helped you realize how important it is to be aware of everything happening at the table – whether you’re playing poker online or with others. Good luck, and have fun playing poker at Khelo365!

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