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Poker strategy essays

Why is Changing Gears in Poker Useful?

By Dean Karl

Changing gears in poker is a very useful skill to master. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it's absolutely vital, if you want to play poker and make a profit at it. Before you can understand why it's so helpful, though, you need to know what it means. Changing gears in poker is very similar to changing gears in a car. It basically just means shifting your thinking to adapt to the situation around you. You see, in a poker game, things are always changing. The chip stack sizes change, chip value changes, people join games, people are eliminated from games, blinds are raised and so on.

Why the gear change? Well, there are two main reasons. One is to capitalize on certain situations. For example, let's say that you're playing Texas Holdem and you are dealt a hand that you would ordinarily fold. However, let's say that you are last to act pre-flop and the only person who has bet is known for bluffing. You might have to change your mind set and play the hand, knowing that information.

Another reason to change gears in poker is to throw off your competition. In other words, predictability is the enemy of any poker player. If your opponents can figure out what you always do in certain situations, they can figure out what to do to properly counter your moves. They'll know when to call you, when to raise you and when to fold to you. In short, they can take all of your chips from you in the blink of an eye.

Also, it's important to change gears based on how you are doing in the poker game and other factors. For example, if you are short stacked, you should protect your chips and tighten your play. If you are deep stacked, though, you can often use your chip stack to bully the other players. By making large bets, you can often steal blinds. If you make those large bets with good cards, you stand an even better chance of taking down chips. After all, even if you're called you could win the hand.

It's also important to adjust for the number and type of players you're up against, too. For example, your odds of winning a hand will change if you are playing against one opponent versus if there are 2 or 3 or more in the pot with you. That's something that you need to factor in. You also need to factor in the skill levels and habits of those players, though. If they're known for bluffing, you might be more likely to stay in the hand.

So, as you can see, there are lots of ways that changing gears can be useful. It's important to have that flexibility when you play poker. If you do, you can be prepared for any situation and be one step ahead of your competition at the tables. If you don't, though, say good-bye to your chip stack.



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