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Psychology

The meaning of psychology, in the poker terms is straightforward. It means getting into your rivals' heads, evaluating how they think, figuring out what they think you think and even ascertaining what they think you think they think. In other words, the psychology of poker is an extension of reading rivals' hands and also an extension of using deception in the way you play your own hand.

For example, you raise from late position with a weak hand before the flop and try to steal the blinds. You are re-raised by the strong player behind you who knows it very well that you are going to steal in this position. His re-raise does not necessarily mean that he has a best hand even though he knows you would try to steal. Accordingly, because your rival may also be bluffing, the right play would be to raise back and then to bet again on fourth and fifth streets.

It leads us to another point. The above play succeeds because you are against a strong player who is quite sensible. A weak player does not have the same thing. As you cannot put a weak player on a hand, you even cannot put him on either thinking.

A complicated Omaha eight or better can go further above this third level. For instance, two small cards flop, a player who is in early position (who raised coming in) bets and a strong player calls. A blank hits on fourth street and the early position bets again. His rival who assumes this player is on a low draw (maybe because he knows this player is going to play high hands) can raise with a top pair. His rival may notice this and raise back, making to represent a strong hand. The original raiser may understand this possibility and call his rival down. When the hand is completed, supposing that the low card does not come, if the original raiser is against a low draw, his call can profit some players. On the contrary, if it turns out that the first bettor actually has a hand, the calls would seem like a sucker play.

At the standard level of Omaha eight or better, the skill to outwit your rival sometimes can extend too many levels where your judgment of making decision may collapse. Conversely, in a normal play against good players, you should usually think at least up to the third level. The first thing to think about is what your rival will have. The second thing would be about what your rival think you have. And third, to think about what your rival thinks you think he has. When you are playing against weak players who may not care to see what you have and who may really do not think about what you think they have, does it not necessarily pay in going through such thoughtful procedures. Against all others, it is important for a successful play as deception is a great aspect of the game.

There are many other crucial ideas that play a very significant role in the psychology of poker. When a rival bets in a situation where he is certain that you will call, he is certainly not poker bluffing. Suppose, you are betting all the way, you again bet when all cards are out and a player raises you. It is very infrequent to see a rival who is competent of raising on the end as a bluff. Likewise, when you raise after all the cards are out and your rival re-raises, you should generally fold unless your hand can beat any legitimate hands with which he may be raising or you have a lock for one side. (Even though you could get quartered your call would still be right because the size of the pot is large.) But you should be careful with those players who know that you are proficient of these folds.

But, it is completely incorrect to fold on fourth street . Aggressive players will raise on fourth street if they hold an average hand that has little potential of making a strong hand. Suppose a draw at the second nut low has picked up a flush draw. The players who have fold when raised in this case are giving up too much. This is correct at the higher limits game, where the games are difficult and such plays are normal to play.

The outcome to this rule which have been discussed is that if your rival bets when there seems to have a fair chance that he will fold, he is most likely bluffing. In other words, if the rival bets in such situation where he believes he might be able to get away with a bluff, you have to consider his calling, even with an average hand.

Suppose no one bets on fourth street and a small pair and two high cards are on board and another small card hits on the river. If any of the rival bets now, and he is kind of player who will pick up the pots with nothing, you should call or raise with a weak hand.

When you decide whether to bet, it is equally essential to determine what your rival think you have. If your rival doubts a strong hand, you should bluff a lot. However, you should not bet a decent hand for value in this situation.

The identical example of this is when you raise on the flop with two small suited cards and then blank hits on fourth poker street . If you check on fourth street but bet again on the river when a third small suited card comes, it is difficult for many rivals to call with less than a flush. Therefore bet your weaker hands at this point.

However, if you know your rival suspects that you are weak, you should not try to bluff because there is a chance that you will get caught. But you should bet your decent hands for value. Suppose, if you and your rival checked on fourth street , you often can bet two pair on the end for value.

Changing your play and also making an incorrect play intentionally are also a part of the psychology of Omaha eight or better because you are forcing your rival to change the thinking of future hands. For instance, before the flop you can infrequently re-raise in a late position players, who may try to steal, when you have hand like deuce-trey for low and two face cards. Suppose your rival looks your hand in the showdown, they will tend to steal less against you in the same situations. You are taking a benefit of the created impression which is paid-off later when you bet with a legitimate re-raising hand.

The similar example of this kind of play is to throw in an extra early raise with a hand that does not really guarantee it to give the illusion of action. For example, suppose before the flop you rarely re-raise with a hand like

and you are going to play this hand. This may cost only a small amount of bet in mathematical expectation but you will profit a large amount of money in future on the following hands.

In Omaha eight or better, there are different other methods which can cause your rivals' play on later hands. Suppose you may want to make a bad call if you think this play will make your rivals from running over you. If you think you have been persuaded to throw your hand on the end twice or thrice in a row, you then should call at the next time with a hand that you usually do not call with. The reason is that you can think your rivals have seen you fold and are quick to bluff you.

Another example to think about future is to check in early position on the flop with a high hand like

and check on fourth street even if you have a flop which you want. You can not only chase someone stealing but this check enables you steal the pot in a later hand when there has been no betting on an early rounds (particularly when any insignificant card comes on the board). You can steal because you have made your rival think that you are been able to check a big hand twice. Therefore, the player with an average hand cannot call the double-sized bet.

Furthermore, you should determine your play based on its advantages that is, on its expectation in a particular situation. In contrast, you may want to do something which is basically incorrect so as to develop an image in the future. Once you have made your rival think the same way, you can take the benefit of that thinking in future.

In conclusion, such kinds of plays will succeed only against those rivals who try to take the benefit of their creativity but who do not realize that you know this and that they should overlook it. Like all other games of poker, Omaha eight or better has a large group of players who want to realize things. As mentioned earlier, you should be able to know how your rival thinks and whether they are thinking the way you want them to think at the same level. If they do think at the higher level you also have to move a step ahead to the extent of that level.

Afterthought

As stated, the main aspects of Omaha eight or better are reading poker hands and psychology. In other words, Omaha eight or better is sophisticated to play at higher limits. Playing certain hand in a certain position is only way to win in poker games. You should know very well about your rivals, how the current hand has been played, how last hands were played, the perception of your rival about you and many more. If you ignore such things, you might win the pot but would never gain an expert position.

Most concepts discussed are strong against decent players that is, players who play in conventional manner and who can realize things at the poker table. The best strategy against worst players would be a straightforward play and against good players, these good ideas will keep you about even with them.

Eventually few players place much importance on the topics so far discussed. They are vital but these are some weapons which an expert has in his Omaha eight or better arsenal. To be an expert, all the ideas and concepts covered including reading hands and psychology should be essentially utilized.

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