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Great hand but you still need to know how to play

Whenever you sit down at the poker table, you should always be trying to outsmart and out-think your opponents.

Last updated: 08.10.2017
Poker | Sports Social Blog

Whenever you sit down at the poker table, you should always be trying to outsmart and out-think your opponents by keeping one step ahead of them at all times. It is for this reason that people with the ability to clearly think through situations and act upon them have the ability to do well at the poker table.

The Poker metagame is not about the cards, the size of the bets or the stack sizes. The poker metagame is more of a “thinking man's poker”, where you consider the potential results of your actions and the general gameplay to help you make the most profitable decisions at the table.

We have noticed a number of common mental game issues, Some of these are easier to fix than others. Below are the 10 psychological traps in a game of Poker:

Ignoring tilt


Fearing failure

Fearing success

Lacking focus

Lacking goals

Ego issues

Getting bullied

Bankroll issues

Low confidence

The Levels of Thinking:

Working out what your opponent may be holding is not easy, and it relies on your ability to think on a number of different levels. "Multiple Level Thinking" is a concept that defines the different levels of thought that a poker player can occupy:

Level 0: No thinking.

Level 1: What do I have?

Level 2: What do they have?

Level 3: What do they think I have?

Level 4: What do they think I think they have?

Level 5: What do they think I think they think I have?

Level 0 isn't really much of a level, but I have thrown it in there to describe players who have no idea about the rules of the game, or players who are playing poker drunk and have no idea about what they are doing.

Level 1 is again pretty basic, and will mainly apply to players who have just got to grips with the rules of the game and are just about aware of the different hand ranks that apply to the game of poker. Therefore they will spend the majority of their time trying to figure out how strong their hand is, and thus if they have much of an opportunity to win the hand. Level 1 players will have difficulty bluffing, as their bluffs will be made regardless of what they think their opponent may be holding.

Level 2 is the category that most poker players will fall in to, as it encapsulates the players who have had some experience in the game but are probably not quite yet winning players. These players will consider what their opponent will be holding, but probably do not quite yet have enough knowledge of the game to make plays based on mathematics or the correct strategy for each situation.

Level 3 players will be winning players as they are always actively thinking about the thoughts of the other poker players around them, and so they are more aware of optimum situations for bluffing and can make more accurate value bets. The difference between a level 2 and 3 players is the rough difference between that of a losing player and a winning player.

Level 4 is where things start to get tricky, but the more advanced players will be able to grasp hold of the thought processes at this level and use it to their advantage. However, even if a player is able to think at this level it is unlikely that they will ever need to use this ability, as there are not many players who will able to think at the same level as them.

Level 5 is where things start to get ridiculous, and I don't think there is much use in me going through it. I had a hard enough time writing it down, so I'm not sure how good my explanation would be if I tried. But if you ever come across someone playing at this level, my advice would be to leave the table as quickly as possible ;)

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