How to Adjust for Regulars

One of the adjustments that you’re going to have to make when you move up from the micro stakes to the small stakes is how you play against regulars. Now, you probably had some regulars in your micro stakes games. There’s plenty of them in the $6 to $10 range.

However, most of them aren’t very good.

The guys that are playing the $15 to $30 range are better, some more than others. And each one of them will have their own playing styles, ranges and strategies that you’ll have to adjust to.

This article will give you tips on how to do that.

Start With Your Own Range in the Beginning

The first thing that I suggest doing when trying to adjust for regulars is treat each regular as if they played just like you. There are two reasons for this:

  • It gives you something to work from. Assuming you’re good, and that your opponent is good, using your ranges and playing styles shouldn’t be that –EV in a worse case scenario.
  • It’ll help you to remember the things they do differently. If you know that you shove 25% in the cutoff with 9 big blinds, and your opponent shoves 35%, then it’ll be easier  for you to remember.

It’s not a perfect solution. But it’s better than just guessing or not trying to adjust to your opponents at all. It shouldn’t take long either to figure out their true ranges if you’re playing regularly (and they are too).

Take Notes

Once you have an idea of what your opponent’s ranges are, then you should take notes. Use a color system to label how good the regulars are, then include any ranges or plays that stand out as odd, especially coming from a seemingly good player.

I also like to copy/paste their Sharkscope stats. The amount of money a player makes can tell you a lot about how good or bad they are, which can give you some insight as to how they play.

Abuse Regs in Key Spots

Another adjustment that you should make against regulars is taking advantage of the fact that they know how to play well. That means sometimes making thin calls in some situations, or abusing them in others.

For example, one spot where you might call your opponent light is during a go play. If your opponent has a short stack and flats you, making it obvious that they’re going to shove any flop, you can justify making a light call. They’re going to miss the flop 2/3 of the time, and even if they have a pair, if you have over cards you could easily make the call and not be far behind on the flop, especially given how good the odds will probably be.

Reshove spots will be like this too. Many regs are good enough to make the plays, but they are not good enough to adjust to you adjusting to them. In English, what I mean is that if you look to the future and know that your opponent will reshove on you if you open, then you can adjust your range to opening hands you’re willing to call against their reshove range. Your opponent won’t likely adjust to your new range, and will shove a hand like JTo. You then snap call them off with KT and crush them, all the while they’re cursing you in the chat box.

And in situations like on the bubble, you can reshove on your opponents rather wide knowing that they know they’re not supposed to call. And if they’re good enough to reshove on you, you can defy ICM and call with a slightly wider range knowing that your opponent can shove with any two cards. Depending on your stack size and who the rest of the players at your table are, this can be a good opportunity to knock the 2nd best player at the table out, all but guaranteeing a first place finish for you.

Keep in Mind Not All Regs Are Good

Something very important to remember is that not all regs are good players. There are bad regs. They have the very basics down, but they do odd things like shove way too wide or make horrible calls on the bubble.

Against these players you want to treat them very much like they’re fish. Don’t give them more credit than they deserve, otherwise you’ll find yourself screaming at the computer wondering why they didn’t fold on the bubble or why they iso’d you with J8s.

Once you figure out how to adjust for regs, the game is going to get much more profitable for you. You won’t have to guess and make bad plays against regulars, and other than a few select players, you should be able to crush your opponents for a nice profit.