3 Effective Ways to Play Back Against the Poker Table Bully
These players make life miserable for standard players but get away with their antics because they are seldom challenged.
Those that don't know how to properly play poker against such a player often go on tilt and end up spewing their stack.
Today we will talk about table bullies and the best strategies for combating them.
Characteristics of a Chip Bully
Like real-life bullies, bullies at the poker table tend to have the same characteristics.
First, they usually won't let you see a cheap flop. They tend to raise limpers and many times will three-bet against standard raises.
Next, they are going to constantly put pressure on you on all streets. If you merely call their raises pre-flop, they are going to continuation bet and continue to hammer you until you play back at them or fold.
Chip bullies are also playing a lot more hands than other players. Part of the reason is that they have the chips to do so and the other is that they are getting away with pushing players around.
Playing Back Against the Bully
There are multiple techniques you can use to combat the table bully and each has their advantages and drawbacks.
The first, and most common among inexperienced players, is to wait for a big hand and try to play it fast against the bully in hopes of picking up chips.
Back in the early days of the Poker Boom, this was a solid strategy that worked a large amount of the time.
However, this play works less often now as most players are going to notice your style of play and not pay you off as often.
The next technique often employed is loosening up your game and becoming more of the table maniac.
This strategy can be profitable when you are catching cards but when you are not doing so, it can lead to disaster.
If you choose to be more of a maniac player, you want to be to the left of the chip bully and keep the pre-flop pots smaller. This will give you a chance to see cheaper flops and gives you a better chance of catching.
Another strategy that tends to work much more frequently is deception.
When you play more of a deceptive style, you are looking for spots where you can extract maximum value by letting the bully bet for you.
For example, let's assume you pick up a hand like As-9s and the flop falls something like Ks-Qs-10s. You have flopped the nut flush and you can slow play this hand for maximum value.
Often, a bully will continuation bet on the flop and may even lead out on the turn. This situation works best when your opponent also connects in some meaningful way.
Again, if you are to the left of the chip bully, this works best. Let them continue to bet into you and then you can pounce on them on either the turn or river.
When you pounce will depend on your read and whether you think they will pay off your raise.
Playing against a chip bully is an exercise in patience.
Observe your opponent and determine which strategy will best work against them and then use their aggression against them.
They are going to do a lot of the work for you when you find the right spot. You just have to have the patience to find that spot and not go on tilt.
You know their strategy and once you determine the best way to exploit it, you put yourself in the best spot to stack them.