So you’ve read part 1 of our guide to poker success by taking care of non-poker aspects of your life,
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In almost every poker scene in a movie or on television, you’ll see somebody – usually a more experienced player, usually the ‘bad guy’ of the piece – try to intimidate the person we’re meant to be rooting for. Whether it’s through aggressive body language or dismissive trash-talking, the protagonist is inevitably confronted with some kind of intimidation.
Where there’s smoke, there’s usually a fire – this is a component of fictional poker scenes because it often occurs in real-life poker as well. So how can you deal with this sort of behaviour by an opponent? We’ve got a few pointers that can help you out!
When you’re at a table with one or more players who are trying to intimidate you, they will almost always try to mess with your folding habits. You see, they’ll try to get you to equate folding with giving up or giving in – a lesser defeat of sorts. The reason they’re trying to do this is to trick you into hot-headed play and make you push back with hands you’ve got no business staying in with. Stay cool and fold when it makes sense to – they might jeer and trash-talk you, but that’s far less costly than what the alternative might’ve been.
Dealing with shoves
Here’s the thing – you’ve got to deal with shoves by players who are trying to intimidate you much the same as you should deal with shoves at any time. Which also happens to be the way you should handle any decision you make at a poker table, which is all a long-winded way of saying – stop and think about it for a minute!
It’s a rare situation in poker that won’t become a good deal clearer if you give it a little thought. What are your opponent’s possible hands? Do they really have something, or are they counting on you turning tail? Also, don’t forget the previous point – better to fold and lost the pot than bet and lose your stack.
Inevitably, this sort of playstyle comes with a very confrontational and aggressive manner at the tables. You’re going to need to get used to table talk – the standard euphemism for any and all kinds of verbal interaction at a poker table – sooner or later, and, although this could be a baptism of fire, it’s also a valuable learning experience. Just remember – as long as you don’t let your opponents get under your skin, you’ll also keep them out of your head.
Hopefully, these tips will give you enough inspiration that you can hold on your own against opponents who try to intimidate you. Fortune favours the brave, remember, so get out there and play!