At times, taking short break from poker game helps

May 7, 2013 3:00 AM

We’re only human. How long can you sit at the poker table without taking a break? There will come a time when you decide a short respite from the game would be in your best interests.

It may be to go to the restroom. Perhaps you need to get some fresh air. Take a short walk outdoors. Clear the cobwebs from your brain. Ponder about the game. Consider any mistake you may have made and resolve not to repeat it.

Question: Should I change my seat? That player just behind me is too aggressive; he keeps raising whenever I call to see the flop. Perhaps your stomach is telling you it’s time for your dinner. Yes, there are many reasons you will take breaks from the game during the course of a poker session.

The worst and best time: I have seen players get up from the table to take a break right after their blinds. They pay and play the blinds, usually losing, of course. I thought everyone knew the big blind is the least desirable position at which to play. And then, just after playing the big blind, they get up and leave the table. That’s got to be the worst time to take a break!

On the other hand, the button is the very best position in which to play. You are last to declare in every round of betting except preflop. You can see what your opponents do – bet, raise or fold – before you must act.

It’s much easier to make good decisions when you have that information. How many are staying to see the flop? Has anyone raised? If so, what kind of player is he: tight, loose, aggressive, tricky? Having all that information, it’s so much easier to decide whether to fold or call.

Perhaps a raise from a late position would be in your best interests to steal the pot; if any opponents do call, you have put a scare into them. That, too, is to your advantage. On the button or the cut-off seat, if everyone has checked to you a bet might very well gain the pot for you. Sure, it’s a bluff; and bluffs often do succeed even in low-limit games (especially if you use the Esther Bluff, reinforced with the Richard B. Reverse Tell).

So, it should be quite obvious the worst time to take your break from the game is just after playing the blinds. And the best time is when you have just completed playing from the button position. Never miss the opportunity to play from the button.

My reaction: I would be lying to you if I said I was not pleased to see opponents take breaks while they are in late positions. For one thing, it strongly suggests these players are almost certain to be PokerPigeons. They lack poker skills and are more likely to move their chips into my stacks. It gives me a bit of an advantage in the game. And it gives me more confidence. That’s a plus, too.

After such a PokerPigeon returns to the game, I make it a special point to carefully study his play. I want to know how he plays his cards. Is he tight or loose, passive or aggressive, deceptive? Is he a “calling-station” or timid? Now I am better prepared to destroy that “enemy” – all because he took his break from the button.

Self-confidence: Combine that bit of information with the fact he is a PokerPigeon and my confidence shoots way up when I find myself in a pot with him. Self-confidence plays a big role in winning. It’s like when I am well ahead in a session, I have even more confidence in my bluffs as well as my “reads” of my opponents.

And I win more.

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