What Is an ABC Poker Player?
An ABC poker player is a poker player who plays good hands in the way you’d expect her to play them. In other words, she folds bad cards and bets and raises with good cards. ABC poker is unimaginative and workmanlike. ABC poker players are often grinders. In most lower limit online poker games, ABC poker is a winning style. But it’s not the only winning style of poker, and it doesn’t work nearly as well when playing higher stakes games or when playing live poker.
Imagine playing poker with someone who shows your their cards at the beginning of each hand. Do you think you’d have an advantage against such an opponent? If you don’t see how you’d have an advantage in poker if you know what cards your opponent is holding every time, then you should give up the game forever right now.
No ABC player is so predictable that you’ll always know what kind of hand he has. But you can more easily put an ABC poker player on a range of hands. And being 90% certain that a player will only play a hand that’s better than 85% of all the hands possible gives you an advantage.
You’ll know when to fold. If your hand isn’t good enough to beat the range of hands that this predictable opponent has, then folding becomes a positive move. ABC players don’t bluff.
You’ll also know when to bet or raise. If your predictable opponent acts timid, then you can raise her off a hand and win a pot without a showdown, even if you don’t have good cards.
If you’re an ABC player, and you want to STOP being an ABC player, how do you it?
You have to inject some unpredictable behavior into your player. Maybe pick a couple of hand types that you bluff with preflop even though they’re not up to your usual stringent requirements. For example, suppose you decide that black suited connectors, 78 and 89, are your bluffing hands. Draw out on someone with those and win a big pot and your opponents will be more likely to give you action next time you raise with pocket kings.
You can even do some advertising. Raise with 78 suited preflop, and if you win the pot uncontested, show your cards. You’ll develop a reputation and get more action that way, but you’ve restricted the number of hands you’ll make a move with enough that your still not destroying your EV.
ABC poker players aren’t bad players. In fact, they’re often good players. They’re not GREAT players though. Great poker requires imagination and risk taking. Respect the ABC poker players you play against, but if you have ABC tendencies, work on changing your style so that you’re less predictable and more imaginative. You’ll win more money in the long run if you’re opponents are less able to pin you down.