Impact of Game Flow on Your Decision Making – Top Tips by Upswing Poker
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Poker is a game heavily based on math and calculations that should be your main baseline when making decisions.
But it is also a game played by human beings with all of their emotions, flaws, and insecurities.
Things can change at the poker tables quite quickly. A calling station can tighten up after seeing one too many nuts at the showdown.
An overly aggressive maniac may take a chill pill for a little while once people stop folding to their bets and adjust to their tendencies.
So, how much should recent history you have with players at the table influence your decision-making process in poker?
This is the question of something referred to as the game flow, and it’s exactly what we’ll focus on in this article.
Understanding the Game Flow
One of the biggest appeals of poker is simultaneously one of the biggest challenges for the players. It is a game of incomplete information.
Every time you need to make a decision, you’ll want to utilize as much info as you have at your disposal to (hopefully) make the right one.
The game flow, which understands the recent history at the table and any individual history players have between them, can be very important in this process.
A very good example of this is when you know a player is upset about being bluffed off the best hand recently.
This player is likely to call you down with a wider range of hands simply because they don’t want to be bluffed again.
Knowing this, you’ll want to avoid bluffing against this particular player and instead expand your value betting range.
However, like any other piece of poker strategy, you should be very careful about the value of the information you (think) you have.
Seek for Reliable Info & Make Reasonable Adjustments
One of the biggest traps of relying on the game flow information is assuming you know what your opponents will do because you believe they feel or think a certain way.
For example, if you’re an aggressive player who 3-bets a lot and has been caught with a few weak hands, should you change your game plan?
The fact of the matter is that most players won’t notice these things and, more importantly, will not adjust accordingly even when they do notice them.
As long as you don’t have a clear reason to make changes to your strategy, you shouldn’t do it based on any unsubstantiated assumptions.
The second important point is that even when the adjustments are warranted, you shouldn’t go wild with them.
Start by making small tweaks if you think they are warranted. For example, if you think people are starting to change their play against you because you’ve been very aggressive, tone it down a bit and remove a few hands from your bluffing combos.
Be careful about making any extreme adjustments unless you have really reliable info to justify such actions.
The game flow can be an important factor in your decision-making process. It all depends on the type of games you play and how well you know your opponents.
However, like with everything else, you should be careful not to let it influence your strategy too much. Making small adjustments as you go and testing the waters is the best way to go about it!
If you want to know more about the subject of the game flow and how to incorporate your observations into the wider strategy plan, check out the full Upswing article!