How To Vary Your Playing Pace In Poker

Posted September 3, 2009 by Andrew in Articles

Poker PaceSince playing styles are so crucial in poker, you really have to vary your playing pace and occasionally throw a wrench into your opponents’ expectations of you by suddenly shifting your strategy.

Here are some ways to avoid being boxed in and categorized…

First of all, pay attention to where you bluff. Let’s say you always, always bluff at the flop. The smarter players will catch on, and start calling you on the flop so that you are forced to reveal your strength on the turn. To avoid this, simply vary where in the pot you typically bluff, switching occasionally so they’ll never know what hand you really have.

Second, vary your pre flop play. Playing things by the book can be disadvantageous to you. Once players realize that you look for the standard small pairs or suited connectors, you should also raise once in a while even if you’ve got a medium hand, especially if you are lucky enough to be in a late position.

Third, you’ve got to pay attention to how much you bet. Never, ever, ever bet based on how much your hand is really worth, but how much your opponent’s hand is worth. New players or technically weak opponents will let you know what their hand is worth by betting its value. However, the masters of the game will bet how much they think you value your hand. Then, you can bluff them out, but only if your bluffing patterns are in themselves not predictable. If you bluff all the time, they’ll call you. So it’s really striking a healthy balance so they’ll never be able to completely read your poker strategy.

Let’s look at some examples. Say, you find yourself with a high full house. Bet hard, because your opponent will probably have a smaller full house. But what do you do with a more ambiguous hand, like if you have a flush and the board is paired? Then the best strategy is to bet about half to around two thirds of the pot, hoping that someone will call. If you bet very hard, you’re likely to push someone who does have a strong hand, like a full house, to call.

Another trick is to lead your opponent—hook, line and sinker. Let’s say someone is raising, and your gut feel is that he isn’t just bluffing. Bet small, and watch him raise. Then re-raise him. This is a particularly powerful mood if you hit a weird straight and you are certain your opponent has a set or two pair.

This kind of game play requires a balance of skill, sensitivity to other people, and panache. You should know the rules, but be willing to break them. You should be able to think two steps ahead of your opponent, while being completely focused on what’s going on at the table at any given instant. You should be able to pull it off with calm and composure, while remembering that at the end of the day, poker is just a game and you should have fun. Tall order? Well that’s what makes the game great.

About the Author


Andrew Keyes is a poker enthusiast, a writer, researcher, speaker, and consultant. You can visit to get poker articles along with winning poker tips, tested poker strategies, the latest poker news, free poker tools, cool poker resources, and more! Visit today and you can download some of the best poker bots for automating your poker play!