There are many intangibles professional poker players do on a consistent basis. I discussed a few of these in previous blog entries. One I didn’t discuss is looking left. I always look left before deciding to play hand and act on my hand. I always wait for the action to come to me then I look left. I check my hole cards immediately when I am utg, utg+1 and utg+2 and Low Jack. When I am in the blinds, on the button cut off or hj I wait to the action is on me to check my hole cards.
In these situations I look left before looking at my cards. I am able to open up my raising range when I know or suspect my opponents are folding. This does several things.
1.This increases my win rate because I am able steal more blinds. My hand looks much stronger if I raise from the Low Jack with a hand like K8s. I usually wouldn’t open this hand from this position but if I look left and see two opponents folding I know I will probably have position through out the hand. Too many recreational players at all levels tip their hand. I’m sure you guys have seen it or have done it yourself. This is a bad habit to get into. Observant players will use this against you especially as you move up stakes.
2. I enter less pots out of position if I know my opponent will enter the pot with a raise. If I know he is going to limp in I will limp in hands that do well multi way. If I know he is going to raise and I have a strong hand against his range as discussed an a earlier blog entry I will implement the limp re-raise strategy.
3. Players will often tip their hand when you announce raise then look left. This is also very useful information. I do not use this strategy in cash games that often but will begin to implement it more back into my game and make a habit of it. I do this in tourneys more because I take more time with decisions and the chips are much more valuable. One small mistake can cost you the tourney. When facing a bet and you plan is to raise announce raise to the dealer put out the call and wait a second, look left see if any players have tipped there hand. Make the announcement raise throw in the calling chips, look left again and see if any players did not here your announcement because of headphones or other distractions and tip there hand after contemplation of the amount then put in your raising chips.
I hope these few tips will help help you navigate the tables.