Just like in life, every decision you make is framed by the circumstances. What might be the right decision at one time, would be the completely wrong decision another time. That is why it is so important to take context into account. For example, would I knowingly drink a glass full of awful tasting liquid? Generally not, but when my stomach is upset, I take Alka Seltzer and if I were getting a CAT scan, I would drink the barium sulfate necessary so that the test would work.
One of my greatest strengths is being able to adapt to different and new situations and being able to get to the best solution, even if it is via a route I have never traveled before. In poker, it’s very important to be open to all possibilities and to be able to change your decisions in order to incorporate new information. The easiest players to beat are the ones who play only their own hand, who look down and say, “I have TT and that’s a good hand and I don’t care what the action is in front of me, I am playing it!”
Here are 4 hands from the past 2 weeks that I have played in a way that I have never played them before. I won’t go into too much detail about my thought process in each hand, but if you email me, I will discuss them further.
1. $10/$10 with $3,000 effective stacks. A bad player opens to $40 UTG, I 3 bet from MP with KK to $130. The SB, who plays a ton of hands and is very aggressive (and is also very good) 4 bets me to $460. Knowing that this is not a spot for him to be messing around, I decide to fold.
2. $10/$10 with $1900 effective stacks. A bad player who does ridiculous things limps UTG, UTG+1 raises to $50, someone calls, I call in MP with AQo, 3 other people call and UTG makes it $350. I make it $1200 and he calls. The flop comes T52 and he folds for his last $700. Note that in the last hand I folded KK preflop and here I (effectively) get it allin with AQo.
3. $2/$5 $300 effective stacks. A loose, bad player limps UTG and I check 65o out of the BB. The flop comes 5s3s2c. I lead out for $15 and he calls. The turn is a J. I lead for $40 and he calls. The river is a K. I check and he bets $50 and I call. There are few hands he bets on the river for value, and he was nice enough to give me a good price to call.
4. $10/$20 $3000 effective stacks. A loose bad player with $3000 limps, I raise to $90 with 66. The SB($1000) who has been reraising over half his hands and shoving allin frequently reraises me to $400. I decide to put him allin for his $1000.
These 4 hands seem to be all over the map, but the important thing to learn is that there is no “always.” You should have standard action that you take, but have no attachment to the standard when the scenario changes.