If you invite some friends over for a game of cards, you’ll want to tread carefully, especially with the new players. You should teach them the game or at least play a little bit less aggressively against them, at least if you don’t want them to get frustrated and quit.
However, if you’re playing online, if you’re at someone else’s game, or if you’re just feeling ruthless, you might prefer to grind these rubes into dust. Let’s go over some easy strategies that you can use to crush new players.
Beware: most of these tips won’t work against a player worth their salt. These strategies will only work against the guy who still needs to play with the hand ranking chart in front of him.
Smelling the Fear
New players are often scared. They don’t want to lose all their chips, and they don’t want to embarrass themselves. Plus, most of their experience with poker probably comes from movies and TV shows where they see royal flushes beating quads, and the like.
All of this translates to a high fold frequency. If they don’t connect with the flop in a big way, then they’ll probably just lay down their hands if we bet into them.
We can especially take advantage of this fact on the river by making a small min bet. Since rookies don’t know about pot-odds, they are just as likely to fold to a tiny bet as a large one. This lets us make a low-risk, high-reward play to try and steal the pot, especially against their busted draws.
Exploit Passive Play
In the same vein, new players are often very passive. They love to call, as it’s a low risk way to stay in a pot and not become embarrassed. This lets us extract maximum value out of our value hands. Premium pairs are much better than normal.
If they do get aggressive, then we can usually just fold. New players rarely get aggro with bad hands, so we can usually put them on a strong range when they start betting and raising. At this point, unless we have a nutted hand or they’re giving us great odds on a call with a draw, then we can comfortably fold.
When playing against new players, it’s all about leveraging the basics. You don’t need to get fancy or try to show off. Just play rock solid poker and the chips will naturally start to gravitate towards you.
One last word of advice: don’t tilt off when you lose a pot to a bad play from a weak opponent. They’re going to get lucky sometimes. Just keep looking to put yourself in good spots and you’ll emerge victorious in the long run.