Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

Random Thoughts On Mimicry In Online Poker Games

One of the things I love about poker is that psychology is vital to winning. There are many situations from hand-reading, through to stack pressure and inducing tilt where mind-games are a key factor. At the same time there are many more subtle uses of psychology, and the ‘Mimicry’ idea which I’m exploring here comes directly from completely different phenomenon.

Most people will mark themselves as ‘above average’.

Above average in smartness, an above average driver, better looking than average and so on… Right the way through to feeling that they are above average in their poker skills (natural ability and in comparison to their current opponents).

mimicry idea for online poker gamesMost people think that whatever their way of playing is, it is the ‘right’ way – as practiced by above average people like themselves.

This is where my idea for mimicry comes in.

Let’s pick a simple example and you find an opponent who always likes to check, then mini re-raise his draws when out of position, you know the type, they instantly double the size of the continuation bet (click-back).

Forget whether this is a good move on different flops for a moment. I want to focus on the fact that this player genuinely thinks this is the right or best way to play a drawing hand here.

As long as he thinks you are at least a competent player, it follows that if he sees you make the same ‘click back’ move – his assumption will be that you are doing this with a draw. He ‘knows’ that this is how ‘good’ players like him play them after all.

Now, if you did have a draw out of position against this player then you would be turning your hand face-up…. Always dangerous with chips behind. However if you instead had a strong made hand, then ‘mimicking’ his strategy for a draw might be just what you needed to get him to try and push you off of it with a huge re-raise.

I will need to test this idea in some different situations before declaring it part of my armory. I would also need to find situations in which the potential advantage of mimicking my opponent’s way of playing something outweighed the immediate advantage of playing the hand in other ways.

These days the math of poker is getting so well known that little edges like this are becoming more important.

Here are some more (as yet untested) ideas:

  • If your opponent likes to check and call with a flopped set, then you might lead out against that particular player – since he is more likely to discount the set from your range.
  • Against a player who donk bets a from the blinds with weak hands (2nd pair and so on), you might make that same play with a strong hand.
  • If someone time banks when super-strong, you can time-bank a little with your draws.

I’m sure there are many more… at the moment this is just on the drawing board, this random idea was created on the metro on my way to work this morning. If you have any ideas along these lines I’d be happy to hear about them.

GL at the tables, Mark

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