Amateur Slots continues its poker strategy articles, this time taking a look at the meta game.
Texas Hold ‘Em poker is a game of two sides, for the individual player. On one hand, much of how you will be treated for the duration of the game depends entirely on the impression you give others of what you have in your hand.
As a result, much of the concepts from Game Theory are applicable – including Nash Equilibria, along with a genuine metagame. These concepts will not be spoken about in great details on today, but we may go further into this in the future.
However, it is difficult to win a poker tournament without any actual cards, right?
Annette Obrestad, the celebrated Norwegian poker player, once won a $4 180-person sit-and-go, without once looking at her cards – objectively due to her extreme understanding of the meta game. The now-famous video shows how the pro put masking tape over her computer screen where her hole cards would normally have shown and continue to stomp sharks and fish alike.
Having won her first bracelet just before her 19th birthday, Annette was blasted into the limelight with a number of appearances on popular TV shows and events. She claims never have to deposited a penny in her online poker accounts – preferring, instead, to build her bankroll from the freerolls.
This remarkable piece of poker history is relevant to this article for a number of reasons – even if they might not seem so obvious now.
Obrestad, a multimillion-pound winning player and, most importantly, a WSOP bracelet winner, claims to have played the experiment to prove the importance of position and strategy.
However, perhaps most importantly, Obrestad was capable of providing an insight into how poker players understand the relationship between her opponent’s hand range and their actions on the table.
By reading this interaction – the only one she was able to see as an opposing player – Obrestad was clearly capable of determining whether or not her opponent was likely to fold to a raise.
Strategy, by definition, is a much wider umbrella term than any one piece of knowledge of understanding and will, of course, be more widely. But it is understanding this core “meta game” that feats of Obrestrad’s heights can be recreated.
Playing a lot of poker will give any player a better understanding of the meta game – but it is doing so mindfully that will be most beneficial. Take understanding away from the relationships between what a player does and the subsequent information you receive.
The best way to do this is to categorise the players you’re facing. If you play across a number of levels, remember the actions of each of the players within those boundaries.
At this stage of the game, it’s simply a matter of playing more hands and getting more information. Read between the lines and understand the whys.