Punishing Tight(er) Players (Part 2: In for the Kill)
Having covered general bullying in Part One, now we turn to digging a hole big enough to catch these players for the maximum payout. After continued bullying, raising both their limps and their attempts at pre-flop raising, we should be succeeding as time goes by in ruffling their feathers. Note that sometimes this strategy results in intimidating a player to such an extent that they withdraw into severe passivity or even stop playing altogether – this is by no means a disaster because we’ve managed to steal their money along the way.
At some point, most likely after venturing as far as the flop (and paying for the privilege by calling our [re]raise) and being bet into, they will be really struggling with the fact that we can’t have caught enough of the flop every time. It’s only human nature for the constant bullying to have a cumulatively negative effect and, inevitably, there comes a point at which they’ll snap or, quite feasibly, decide to punish us.
As we gain experience we learn to recognise this tipping point, and at this stage we need to adjust our strategy so that at the next opportunity (and subsequent spots thereafter, should they not bite – during which time we’re still collecting their money) we raise with a big hand. In the meantime it’s worth stepping back a little when they limp and raise so as to add to the tension while narrowing down our range…
Ultimately we’re hoping that the two worlds that are the opposition’s frustration (and consequent poor decision making) and our finding strong hole cards collide in an all-in situation. This might arise via our reraising pre-flop, betting to their check and them pushing all-in, or a raising war pre-flop.
Of course this won’t always work – and there’s no guarantee we’ll win the big pot – but such a strategy against the right kind of player can be profitable over time regardless of whether it reaps maximum reward.
Good luck at the tables!
Angus Dunnington (AngusD at the tables)
32Red Poker Ambassador