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Rocks at the Poker Table

This article will focus on how to spot and defeat any rock at the poker table. First, I will define a "rock" as a poker player who plays very few starting hands, yet plays aggressive when he/she decides to play a pot. I was recently playing in a NL 5 - 10 poker game at a local club. After about an hour, I had a pretty decent read on everybody at the table. There was one player who really stood out to me. It was a young guy and he hardly played a hand. He sat there and as this article was created in my mind that night, so was an ultimate strategy against rock players. He was not only going to be my victim that night he was also going to be my guinea pig, my study guide for how the mind of a "rock" poker player works.

I noticed many things about this guy that were sure signs for anyone who was paying attention, that this guy was a TIGHT PLAYER. The first thing you obviously notice is that they do not play a lot of starting hands. They usually fold, in fact almost always fold unless they are in the blinds or have a strong hand. The second thing I noticed is that this guy kept counting and rearranging his chips every 2 seconds like he was losing them or something. Like seriously man, you haven't played a pot in half an hour why in the world are you still counting your chips - they haven't moved! A third thing I found while studying this guy was that he slouched every hand... except for when he had a strong hand! In fact this guy was such a rock that I would call him a robot because he perked up everytime he found 10 10 or up. Now I have to admit, this was a pretty strong NL table and there were also a couple of drunks donating. With that being said, I had to laugh when even the drunk guys folded every time this rock tried to come in with a raise. That leads me into the next section of this article, how to easily handle any rock poker player once you have identified them.

Now that you know what to look for in a rock we can proceed on how to handle them. Like I just mentioned, I could barely help myself from laughing at this guy every time he entered a pot. I knew he had something strong it was written all over his face. The fact is - when these rocks enter the pot, they have the goods. If you see high cards on the flop, you can be pretty sure they have got a piece of it or already have a high pocket pair. Just fold pre-flop. Yes I said it and since it is the drop dead only way to play against rocks I'll say it again - Just fold pre-flop. Unless you have AA, AK-AQs, KK, or QQ you are most definitely beat. So just fold. The funniest thing about this particular guy was, that everyone knew it and folded pre-flop when ever he entered with a raise. It was truly amusing as this guy got peeved and started playing crap hands. But this is where I noticed a new tell of our friend the guinea pig, he would still erect his posture when holding strong hands but when he tried to limp in with crap to throw us off he remained hunched over the table and his drink. At this point you just play off of the rock's tells. You've got to remember that tight poker players are usually tight because they don't like losing money and they like poker to be a mechanical grind slowly increasing their bankroll. Throw them off one or two hands and a rock turns into something their not - a loose or just frustrated poker player - one that you can take advantage of the rest of the session.

To sum up this strategy guide against rock poker players, firstly you have to identify the tight rocks at your table. This can be done by their appearance, the number of hands they play, how they play them, and even how they stack their chips or hold themselves. Once you have identified them and what kind of strong hands they play, you get out of their way unless you have a premium hand yourself. Proceed to play them like a puppet until they get off their game and take advantage of them the rest of the night.

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Kyle Healey is the proud webmaster of

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