I went to Borgata for the weekend to get in some hours and played two hands that illustrated the principle of inducing big mistakes from your opponent.
The first one was the first hand I had played at the table. The villain is not a good player and we have played a lot together. He doesn’t fold any moderate hand preflop or anything on the flop. He starts with $750 and I cover him. Villain limps, another player limps and a good aggressive player raises to $75 and I reraise to $250 out of the big blind with QQ. The villain calls and the aggressive player folds. Villain has a very wide range of hands(approximately any ace, any two cards 10 or bigger and any pair as well as some other random hands he felt like playing).
The flop comes 955r. There is $600 in the pot and villain has $500 behind. Since I am way ahead of villains range and am not folding, the question is, what can I do to get him to put the rest of his money in the pot? Since this particular villain is unlikely to bet, he just hopes to hit his hand, there isn’t much point in giving him a free card. Shoving all in will get him to call his best hands(pocket pairs,big aces and hands that hit the board), but he will call a smaller bet with those hands anyways. Betting small, allows him to call in hopes of making a hand on the turn and he will likely shove all of the hands he will call all in with. I bet $200 (note that it’s less than the the amount he called preflop) and he thinks a long time before shoving all in with KQ. I called and no King came for him to win the pot.
Just want to do the math quickly. I am ~85%-15% favorite on the flop so if I shove all in and he folds, I win $600 for a profit of $350. If he gets all in on the flop, then I am an 85% favorite in a $1600 pot, for an expected profit of ~$600. The difference between a good play and the best play is ~$250.
The second hand is against a villain($1600) who had recently shown an unwillingness to fold, and a willingness to make huge bluffs in bad situations. The pot is stradddled and villain limps for $20, another player calls and a loose player raises to $110. I decide to reraise with QQ to $325, villain calls and everyone else folds. The flop comes AAJ and villain leads $500. I decide that I have the best hand and will not fold, so now what? If I shove all in for about $750 more, villain will fold all of his bluffs and call all hands that beat me. By calling the flop, I give him a chance to bluff the turn and collect another $775 if I am ahead.
Fortunately, this is exactly what happens, as the villain quickly shoves all in on the turn and I call. He shows 44 and I collect a pot that had an additional $775 from my opponent.
I believe that some of the biggest differences between professionals and amateurs is their ability to make the maximum with their best hands and avoiding situations where they put a lot of money in with little chance of winning.