After nine years of online poker traffic dropping steadily, we find ourselves in the peculiar situation of being one of the industries to benefit from the coronavirus pandemic.
With over four billion people under lockdown worldwide, it would seem that anybody who has any kind of an interest in poker has been logging on to give it a try again. Recently it was reported that traffic hit a five year high, that really is saying something.
With slightly bigger player pools than what we are used to, the games are going to change quite a bit. For example, you can expect to be running into many more players than usual that you have no history with.
The difference here is that you can expect their mindset to be different than normal after being cooped up all day.
There’s no doubt that when poker players get frustrated they make terrible calls that they wouldn’t usually do under normal circumstances.
For this reason you must be prepared to keep an eye on opponents who are playing out of character. After being stuck staring at the same four walls for the last month they are not going to be the same person.
On the opposite end of the spectrum we will also see players making ridiculous jams with hands that do not warrant it.
Luckily when players get into this mode they usually start doing this in spots where it makes no sense. So, you can at least look to make hero calls in these spots before automatically assuming that because they’re tilting they must be doing it against you.
Triple Barrel Bluffs
This is another great sign that a player is frustrated. Below mid stakes, this line is a lot rarer than you might think. If you see a player you have pegged as a standard reg without aggressive tendencies then pay closer attention.
This is really just a mirror of the over calling player. Frustration has built up and they can’t let the pot go. They don’t care one jot if they have the initiative or not, they’re just not going to let you steal the pot from them with a worse hand and are prepared to lose a big pot just to make sure this doesn’t happen.
If you’re playing many tables it can be difficult to keep track of who has played this line, but do your best and consider using the coloured tag option alongside your HUD.
Blind Vs Blind Dynamics
There is no better place to really get a handle on how an opponent is playing than observing how they play in small blind versus big blind situations.
There are two sides to this, depending on which seat you are in.
Firstly, it is hyper important that you do not fight back too hard when in the small blind due to the positional disadvantage. This really is crucial. Position is king in cash games when stacks are deep.
If you find yourself getting three bet a ton, by all means widen your four bet value range and your calling range, but don’t start calling junk to play a hand out of position in a bloated pot.
Also don’t go bananas four bet bluffing a frustrated player because this is a thin play as it is, don’t start donating EV back to a player who is making all the mistakes himself.
If you are in the big blind and feel a stressed out, frustrated guy is opening into you way too often then you can definitely start calling much wider. Calling ranges for big blind versus small blind opens in 2020 are around 50% anyway.