As a regular online player, I get to see thousands of hands being played out in a relatively short period of time. Players come and go with frightening regularity but, despite this constant shifting of personnel, many patterns remain unchanged. You can take advantage of predictable players on-line and you should make sure you do if a profit is your goal. The cards alone are not enough. Your reading of opponents is also vital.
One such pattern I see time and again is an opponent repeatedly slow-playing a hand he feels is a winner. In some circumstances this is a valid approach but a large number of players fall into a predictable pattern of doing this every time they hit a hand. This is often accompanied by the opposite tendency of the same player to over-bet poor hands, usually in a misguided attempt to bluff.
Consequently, you can read these players to your advantage. If you have a decent looking hand after the flop in a No Limit Hold Em cash game, you might decide to raise the betting by several times the big blind. If you get a caller, you must start thinking ahead because this could get expensive! Why is this player calling?
Does he have a draw? That will depend on the texture of the flop. If there are no obvious draws of note then the caller is either making a poor decision by calling in hope, or he has possibly something made that could threaten you and is slow-playing rather than re-raising. If the caller is a player you have marked down as a serial slow-player, then you need to mark him out as a danger.
On the turn, your man checks so you bet out strongly again to test his resolve. If he calls again, you begin to suspect the worst. You know he is not particularly a good player and that he has a tendency to be irrational when he realises he is losing. Rather than bet on the river, you might check here and see what he does. If he bets, it might be cheap enough to see his cards. Often, this is cheaper than betting out only to be re-raised. Remember that you have read him for a strong hand and not a missed draw so there is not much point being stubborn and trying to push him off the hand, especially as your own hand is of decent quality and may just win on the showdown. Don’t let greed cost you money
A good player will use tools such as the slow-play and the bluff re-raise on certain occasions but not frequently. A good player mixes up his game, sometimes acting weak with a strong hand, sometimes vice versa, but mostly by being conventional by raising the stakes with strength. That is because the on-line tables are teeming with predictable players who will usually pay him off.
By all means slow-play, but keep it occasional and keep your opponents second-guessing you. Let them be the ones who telegraph their cards to you.