Once you have decided that the caliber of your opponents allows you to sit down and play profitably, your next step is to evaluate their mistakes and see how you can best take advantage of those mistakes. The most common mistake players make is playing too many hands. In Las Vegas I frequently find this tendency to be the only weakness in some opponents. Everything else about their play is top-notch. Consequently, there is little I can actively do to take advantage of these players' mistakes other than not play as loosely as they do. Yet just playing better starting hands than they do on average is a decent edge. Sometimes I play a very unimaginative game against them, simply to make them think I'm not much of a player. I thereby encourage them to play even more hands. When the night is over, I usually have the money, and they are shaking their heads, wondering how I beat them. Well, I didn't outplay them, just as they suspect, nor did I get lucky. I simply played better openers than they did, and so hen I was in a pot against them, more often than not I ended up with a better hand than theirs.
Often players who play too many hands will make many other mistakes as well. A typical loose player will call too much, not just on the first round but on all rounds. These players are the kind you encounter most often in home games. They play poker only once a week, and they want action. Against such opponents, conservatism and patience pay big dividends. You play your solid cards, and you don't bluff nearly as much as game theory indicates to be correct. There is clearly no value in bluffing when you know you'll be called — except perhaps once or twice early in a session for advertising purposes, to make doubly sure you'll get called later with your legitimate hands.
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