Everybody speaks of “balance” these days in no limit Texas hold’em and it is true that more players these days try to balance their actions than ever before. However it is often the case that money is made by being unbalanced than being balanced……let me explain.
At the end of the day then you are trying to exploit mistakes from your opponents in no limit Texas hold’em poker. Making money is all about exploiting errors and if there are no errors to exploit then you are going to struggle to make money playing online. So the next step is to look for a mistake and then exploit it.
So just what type of mistake does your opponent make in no limit Texas hold’em? Well in order to exploit a mistake then you need to move away from being balanced. Let us say that it was folded around to you on the button and you raised with 100% of your range. Clearly this range is unbalanced as we cannot have a strong hand all the time.
However what if our opponent folded 90% of their hands? We would win 1.5bb no less than nine times out of ten for an immediate profit of 13.5bb. If we raised to say 3.5bb then even if we immediately gave up 100% of the time on the 10% of the hands in which our opponent calls or re-raises then we show a profit of 10bb over these ten hands for 1bb per hand.
In this instance then we have had to become grossly unbalanced ourselves to exploit a gross imbalance on behalf of our opponents who were folding too much. Likewise for example if our opponent calls our raise and then folded to a c-bet 75% of the time! This makes c-betting profitable and we can c-bet more often against this type of opponent in no limit Texas hold’em more than we could anyone else. It is when your opponents are balanced that we have a problem.
As a rule then lower level players tend not to balance their ranges and their actions as well as higher level players and this gives us the chance to exploit them. Let us say for example that a player raises too much to attack our blinds. In this instance then it becomes correct to unbalance our actions to exploit their imbalance. As a rule then it is a very good philosophy in online no limit Texas hold’em to wait and see if your opponents show obvious signs of an imbalance before you go down the route of becoming imbalanced yourself.
For example if it is folded around to you in a no limit Texas hold’em ring game and you have the 7-2o on the button. If you raised with this hand on the first hand of the session then you would be unbalancing your game needlessly. This simply creates a needless situation for your opponents to exploit you and that is a situation that you really do not need to put yourself in until the timing is just right.