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Adapting to Change

by Nick Heather |  Published: Mar 01, 2011


It seems like these days the game is changing almost daily. With all the training sites and tracking software, even the bad players are picking spots to three-bet light and adapt better to being isolated and outplayed post-flop.
In general, in the past couple of years, the game has gotten a lot tougher. Here’s some thoughts on how to stay somewhat ahead of the curve.
Avoiding Rules
It seems nearly all regulars in the multi-table tournament community who have had some form of success obey rules such as not raise-folding with 20 big blinds or less, not three-bet folding with 30 big blinds or less, not flat-calling an open with 30 big blinds or less (apart from with big trapping hands). Obviously these rules were made because they were part of a winning strategy, but these days in order to best the higher stakes I think it’s a must to step outside of the rules barrier and try some new things, such as
three-betting with stack sizes less than 30 big blinds with the intention of folding against good thinking regulars. Also flatting opens and three-bets with a wide range of stack sizes is important.
Experimenting With Bet-Sizing
I think preflop sticking to the standard times 2 or 2.5 raising once antes kick in is pretty good. I think min-raising is good in the later stages when stack sizes get shallower as long as it’s successful against your opponents. One thing I’ve been trying recently is continuation-betting (c-bet) tiny with or without hands. I’ve had mixed results with it but it can be very effective when you do have a hand as it will induce raises and floats.
One thing which has always been important is getting your bet-sizing right on the flop and turn in order to have a stack size left to shove the river. When bluffing recently I’ve been experimenting with betting smaller on the turn than usual in order to set up a bigger river shove as I think it gets more folds. If you bet half-pot on the turn and river I think you have more of a chance of being called than if you you bet 1/4 pot on the turn and close to full pot river.
Clicking it Back
The term “clicking it back” means raising someones bet the minimum amount. It can be used successfully both pre and post-flop. I think it’s very effective as stack sizes get shallower and shallower preflop as it allows you to three, four, and five-bet more than you would making a standard raise.
Post-flop I think it works well in spots where you c-bet a flop or turn and get raised when you think there’s a large possibility they are bluffing, as when you click it back it looks very strong and you risk the smallest amount possible in doing so.
With the ever-changing game and ever-improving players it’s important to mix it up and try adapt as best you can. ♠

Nick Heather finished fourth in a $1,000 no-limit hold’em tournament at the World Series of Poker 2010. He plays and blogs at