How to take over your home poker league

TO BECOME THE BEST, YOU MUST GO THROUGH HIM

Out of pure, unadulterated spite I raised the ante!!  I made a prop bet, pitting myself against our poker league’s dominant player… and friend…“Luke Brox” (fictional name used to protect the sanity of all parties involved).  After calling out Luke, I challenged him and his dynasty as our league’s undisputed greatest; the player with the most points in the last 6 legs of our 32-player league’s season will win the spoils.

If we polled all the league members on who is most likely to win the bet, the results would probably be unanimous.  Some might even say that I have bitten off more than I can chew.  Based on previous league results, Luke is an overwhelming favorite to win this bet.  We all joke about how lucky Luke is at poker, but everyone knows he has earned his tremendous results via fine play and great poker instincts.  Facing a monumental challenge that I take extremely seriously, I have decided to break down Luke’s game and work out my game plan.

Before I go on with my analysis, you might be wondering why I have brought you into this conversation.   The reasons why I have decided to blog about HOW I PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE RULER OF THE LEWISVILLE POKER TOUR are twofold:

1) I think every home poker league has its version of a “Luke Brox”.  The “Luke Brox” of your home poker league probably shares very similar traits with the one in mine.

2) “Luke Brox” is strong but definitely beatable.  Like any poker player he has exploitable tendencies.

Defining HIS Strengths

1) Luke relies heavily on deception at the table. He generally projects a very aggressive image yet plays fairly passively.  He manages all this while still being capable of changing gears when necessary.

2) He plays a very strong psychological game.  He knows how to benefit from confrontation at the table and knows when to retreat to appear almost uninterested in the table action.

3) Luke quietly gathers tons of information on his opponents.  He insists on knowing what cards his opponents mucked  and he is quite good at using this information to profile them.

4) He competes incessantly.  Luke is massively competitive although he projects a non competitive attitude – this is yet another one of the many smokescreens he uses quite well.

5) He intuitively understands poker strategy without giving it any thought, his instincts are often bang on.

His Exploitable Traits

1) Luke doesn’t rely on the “mathematical” aspects of poker. For example,  he has no idea about ICM, he doesn’t consider things like implied odds and has never once been preoccupied with the concept of balancing his ranges.

2) He plays “rushes”.  How well he is fairing very recently affects his play.  Look for him playing loosely after winning a bit pot or two and tight when he is running badly.

3) Luke doesn’t keep track of stack sizes at the table very well.

4) He is very superstitious at the table; this tends to throw off his judgment at times.

5) Luke plays too loosely with a big stack and overvalues “being able to afford the call”.

6) He tends to fall into discernable patterns in bet sizing,  table mannerisms (verbal and nonverbal tells) and decision making.

The Final Analysis – Exploiting These Tendencies

Now that we know Luke’s profile, we need a plan to play him optimally.  Although Luke presents a tough challenge, we have an edge against him if we stick to the following plan:

1) Don’t be fooled by the “crazy, liable to do anything” image he projects.  He has very discernable tendencies/patterns.

2) Avoid fancy play syndrome; sound fundamentals carry a huge part of your edge against Luke.

3) Vary your play.  Luke is very observant and relies on recall in key hands.  Make sure to balance your ranges.  For instance, if you like to over bet shove as a bluff, make sure to do so as a value bet once in a while.

4) Stay focused, Luke plays mind games; see through them and keep your eyes on the prize.  When Luke acts tilted and uninterested he is not.  When he acts strong, he knows this looks weak.  Pay attention to his antics, they give off a lot of information.

5) Keep an eye open for verbal/nonverbal tells.  Luke plays very emotionally and talks and reacts a lot at the table.  While filtering out the smokescreens, be observant; Luke gives away valuable information once you know what to look for.  For instance, while playing a series of heads up matches with him, I found my “Luke” has a tendency to place his hands very close to his cards when he has made a big bet with a strong hand and is awaiting a call or a fold.  Look for these types of nonverbal clues and exploit them.

Time To Play Cards

It’s time to finally overthrow “Luke” as the dominant player in your league.  Being the more knowledgeable player, you can outplay Luke as long as you stay focused on your strategic edges.  Make sure to taunt him early and often on your way to victory.  A victory chant is encouraged.  I like reminding Luke and anyone within earshot that THE CHAMP IS HERE as frequently as possible without getting myself punched out.  It is a slippery slope but one that is manageable.

Your Turn

What do you think?  Does “Luke Brox” describe anyone in your league?  If so, what are your thoughts on how to beat him? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments.


6 Comments

  1. Well Jeff actually took a few minutes to think about this and wasn’t sure if I would post in case of offending anyone which I have no intent of doing, but sometimes what people read rather than hear how it was intended to sound can be taken out of context. You take the time to post these blog’s and ask for feedback, so here I go and hopefully it doesn’t come across as offensive to anyone in particular.

    The prop bet comes as no surprise, it would actually be weird if there were no prop bets made at an LPT Event. Do I think you bit off more than you can chew…no not at all. If you play real solid poker and keep your mind to the task, you can beat anyone. As far as your gameplan, always good to have something in mind. Personally for me I try not to think about it a whole lot prior to an Event. A game plan can get chucked out the window 2 hands into the tournament. We have had the same core of people in the league for as long as I have been in the league (5 years)I like to see who is at my table and where they are positioned. I like to think I have picked up on some people’s tendencies and how they may play hands against me. I will use math in most of my play, BUT I will ride the WAVE or RUSH when it is going NO matter what 2 cards I have. I would be full of it if I told you I didn’t need any luck along the way and sometimes that rush provides alot of luck to help with one’s chip stack. If we or I was that good, that I didn’t any luck to help my poker game, I think I would be trying to make Poker my main source of income!

    Now for describing Luke Brox’s strengths and weaknesses…..(little touchy for me,but you guys joke and mess around with each other all the time and it usually seems all good fun)I would like to know what MY CUT is on your prop bet??? I noticed that your prop bet turned into WE when talking about how to exploit Luke’s tendencie’s..haha got you there didn’t I?? I personally keep other players tendencies to myself, prefer not to tip them off on something I may have picked up. Also prefer no one else knowing, I am trying to eliminate 32-33 other players and I am way too competitive to help someone else out. Man I have been playing 5 years in this league and no NL Holdem Event win YET!!!! I consider myself a solid poker player and I really enjoy the people and the level of poker play in this league. Some really good solid players that you can try and mind *@ck and players that go for fun and hit their hot streak, but definitely a level of play that can only help my overall Poker game. I just hope when I do win my 1 st Event I don’t look like an idiot celebrating!! lol It will be an exciting accomplishment for me personally!!

    Luke will more than likely use everything you noted here and MINDF@CK you and us! So THANKS alot Jeff. LOL

    Try and cut ole Luke some slack man, think he is alright with most, but does get a bit uncomfortable occasionally.

    and do I feel stupid now after blabbing on, just noticed 2 replies were LOL, could have saved myself a bunch of time there. ;0)

    also hope no offense here, think of me discussing this at the LPT with a beer in my hand and a smile on my face!
    Bob Smith recently posted..How to take over your home poker league

    • First off Bob, thank you very much for the comment. I appreciate you taking the time to do so. I was serious about wanting feedback.

      I don’t think “Luke” minds this post at all, he is pretty open about “how he plays” and everything in this post we have discussed before…

      As far as the “we” part of the post; part of the post was about how most home leagues out there have a “Luke Brox” type of player in it, I figured this article would be a fun way to try and break down the play of Luke and try and exploit his play. I didn’t mean it was the whole LPT versus our Luke…

      As far as LPT wins go, I think you are knocking on the door, I am confident it will come sooner than later.

      Thanks again for the comment Bob, keep them coming!!!

  2. Good stuff.

    “Keep an eye open for verbal/nonverbal tells. Luke plays very emotionally and talks and reacts a lot at the table. While filtering out the smokescreens, be observant; Luke gives away valuable information once you know what to look for. For instance, while playing a series of heads up matches with him, I found my “Luke” has a tendency to place his hands very close to his cards when he has made a big bet with a strong hand and is awaiting a call or a fold. Look for these types of nonverbal clues and exploit them.”

    AMEN!

    Home game players are awesome at giving out poker tells. And since we often play against the same players over and over again, it’s a great skill to master.

    Thanks
    Nicolas recently posted..13 Revealing Body Language Hand Gestures

  3. Mathew Baynton

    It is really wonderful of you to share this piece of information with your readers about the game of online poker which is becoming very famous these days. I love to bet in poker every once in a while and I am sure going to use the tips which you mentioned in your post in my next games. I also own one exclusive poker site for all the interested poker players who can play any variant of their choice on my website which offers secure and save environment.

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