The game of poker has gone through a major evolution over the last six or seven years since online poker became so popular. The online game has most certainly created a new style of player that is much different than the traditional old professional that most of the poker media reflects. Most poker strategy available to players was created by the old pros, and the top players had used these tactics for decades until the recent change in the game. Today’s top online player plays a game that’s more aggressive and counts on fold equity more than the style employed by the old pros. Debate on whether this new style of player is an evolved game, or just hyper-aggression that’s been around forever, is one of the hottest topics in poker forums today.
The online style of play may be the best way to play online, but few online players are dominating the big live events. The traditional strategies of playing poker still seem to be the most effective in live action settings, despite the success of some new age style players. Playing Texas holdem like an old pro can be learned by just about any player who’s willing to put forth the effort to study and learn. Play is based on sound mathematical decisions and deciphering tells through experienced situational recognition. Online poker players don’t have as much of their decision making based on physical tells, so forcing the action in chosen situations can give them an edge that’s lost in the online game.
Playing like an old pro means that you’re more interested in playing while in favorable positions with at least medium-strength hands. You bet your hand for value and only look to slow-play monster hands. When it comes to draws, old pros look to get proper odds on their draws so that staying in the hand is the right decision. Bluffing at pots is usually reserved for situations where it seems that no one else is interested in the hand, or a physical tell that your opponent is weak enters the picture of the hand somehow.
Playing poker like an old pro is usually the best way to play the game. You’ll be getting your chips in the middle with the best of it in most situations and you won’t be taking too many chances, counting on fold equity to build your chip stack. What style is the best is dependant on the table that you’re playing at, but in the long run of a career it will be more profitable to get your chips in with proper odds than it will be to run maniac in most of the sessions you play.
The major downfall that playing holdem like an old pro presents is that you’ll be predictable to many opponents. New age poker players understand the old style of the game and operate with that knowledge, using it against the old style players. This is effective when an old style player tries to play online, but in the live game the new style player had better have a good poker face when they’re forcing the action because the old pro will pick them off every time if they don’t.