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How to Read Cards: Within Bayesian Theory

In Texas Hold’em, re-raising before the flop is a powerful weapon. When you are reraised by your opponent before the flop,
you need to consider the range of hole cards your opponent may use to do so.
Most players fall into one of the three categories below.

The first is absolute NITs. These players tend to re-raise with only AA or KK. For Ace King and QueenQueen,
and all weaker hands, they are reluctant to re-raise.

Followed by tighter re-raisers. These players tend to raise with AceAce to JackJack and Ace King again.
They sometimes add TT and AQ to this hole range as well.

Finally, there are looser re-raisers. This type of player raises again with AA to TT, AK and QQ,
but they also occasionally re-raise with weaker hands depending on the situation,
and often re-raise bluffs.

These are the three categories of pre-flop raisers we are considering:

Super tight NIT: Only Ace Ace and King King.

Tight: Ace Ace-, Ace King, sometimes TT and Ace Queen

Pine: Ace Ace-TT, Ace, Ace Queen, often bluffs, and sometimes weaker hands raise again for value.

How often does each type of player re-raise?

In Texas Hold’em, there are 1,326 hole combinations. Super NIT only uses 12 re-raises (6 combinations of Ace Ace and 6 combinations of King King).
In other words, Super NT will raise again only 1% of the time.

Tight players will re-raise with 40 of the 1326 combinations and sometimes re-raise with the other 22 combinations. This is about 4% of the time.

The loose player will raise again with 62 combinations. They will re-raise with weaker hands as appropriate, and will bluff to balance their re-raise range. All things considered, the loose player may raise 10% of the time.

Now our job is to categorize the players to see if he belongs to the super NIT, it is tight, or a loose reraiser. We sat at the table and played the first lap.
Two players, Limp, we raised 2 positions before the button. The player at the button raises again.

The simplest answer to this question is that of the three categories, loose players reraise the most, so the opponent is most likely a loose player.
Most players answer this question implicitly, but this is wrong. This conclusion is wrong because it ignores the relative possibilities between these three player types among all players.

I often hear poker players talking about strangers. “I haven’t played with him before and don’t know anything about him.” This is not true.
You have some general information about all your opponents, including even players you have never seen him play before.

Suppose you play $ 1- $ 2 in a local poker room. There is an unknown player at the table. Even if there is no other information, you know at least that he is a $ 1- $ 2 player.
According to the overall situation, the players of $ 1- $ 2 play very differently from the players of $ 10- $ 20. For any stranger in the world,
you can use your overall knowledge of $ 1- $ 2 players to judge.

My experience with $ 1- $ 2 players in Las Vegas is that they are almost certainly super NIT or very tight re-raisers. Loose re-raisers are rare at this level.
A rough guess is that only about 2% of all players are loose re-raisers. The basis for my estimate is that, thinking about how many sessions I played with strangers,
I met a loose re-raiser. I play about 5-6 times before I meet a loose raiser.

I guess Super NIT and tight players each account for about half of the remaining 98%.

Therefore, before seeing an opponent playing cards, I would think that he is a super tight probability is 49%, a tight re-raiser is 49%, and a loose re-raiser is 2 %.

Now, the opponent raises as soon as he comes up. How should I adjust this possibility?

We need a mathematical tool called the “Bayesian formula”. I will only tell you the answer. If you want to know how this answer came to you, you can google for “Bayesian inference” for details. The new possibilities are:

Super NIT: 18%

Tight: 74%

Pine: 7.5%

So far, we have seen that after the opponent raises once more, he is most likely a tight re-raiser. His hole range is likely to be AA, AK or AQ (because he is in the button position,
I think he might raise again with a more marginal card in the hole range).

Seeing a re-raise raises the probability that your opponent is a loose re-raiser from 2% to 7.5%. But even so, it is still the least likely of the three categories.
A loose re-raiser is rare in a $ 1- $ 2 game. A re-raise is not enough to make me reconsider his classification.
Suppose we played for a long time. The player did not raise again a few times, and then reraised again.
Would we consider him a loose re-raiser now? No. If we use mathematics, he is still most likely to belong to the tight re-raiser. However,
loose re-raisers will replace NIT and become the second most likely.

What is the reason for this? Through a small number of observations, the opponent is almost always more likely to be a common player type.
He just got a few unusual cards, not a rare player type. Playing around with various junk cards. After being re-raised several times, people tend to get angry and overreact.
When you get angry next time, think about this, you should know from a mathematical point of view,
the most likely situation is that your opponent is just good luck in a row, only to get a few big pairs.

If you study the process of Bayesian inference, you can make more accurate estimates,
whether at the poker table or in other aspects of life.

The next time you play, choose an opponent. You can choose whatever you want, but it is best to choose a player who looks like he will be playing this game for a long time.

Make several assumptions about this player’s play. You can make assumptions based on this player’s appearance,
or you can watch him play a few hands first to get a first impression. After making several assumptions, estimate the likelihood that these assumptions hold.
Remember to consider whether the assumptions you make are common or rare.

Then observe every move this opponent has on the table and determine if each move supports your hypothesis.
At the same time, determine whether each action has a strong or weak influence on the conclusion.
The impact of the fold before the flop had a weak effect on the conclusion, while seeing the opponent all in bluffs on the river had a strong effect on the conclusion.
Continue to make observations, and at the end of this session, determine whether your initial assumptions are correct.

At first you can ignore all other players. This target player may need your full attention. If you can record all this information in your head,
it means that you are very powerful, and you may actually need to take some notes.
Taking notes with your phone can make you look less weird, but you can also use paper for notes.

After doing this exercise a few times, you are likely to be surprised at what you have achieved. Humans are easy to make mistakes,
and one of our common mistakes is to tend to observe only those phenomena that meet their own assumptions.
In other words, if you think someone is loose, you might not even notice that he didn’t play a hand for a whole lap. By observing all the subtle actions of an opponent,
you will be able to accurately grasp his gameplay.

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