Simplify or complicate?


Games like NLHE are as simple or as complex as you want them to be. You can buy in for a short stack strategy or a deep stack strategy and each buy in level has its own level of complexity attached to it. There are also differences in game strategy as well. For example if it has been folded around to your opponent in the cut-off seat and they raise and you have a playable hand in the button position then you have two playable options.

The first option and one that simplifies things immensely is to 3/bet. This allows you to read situations better when your opponent 4/bets you and you can simply 3/bet-fold with most of your range when that happens. Also it is a simpler option because your hand reading skills don’t come into play like they do when you see flops, turns and rivers. The better deep stacked players look to complicate things and they like to see flops, turns and rivers for that very reason.

So what is the best course of action for a poker player that plays in NLHE cash games…… is it to simplify or to complicate things? Well that isn’t a straight forward question to answer because a lot depends on your own skill level and that of your opponents. If you are a novice poker player then you are betting off choosing simple strategies and doing them correctly than choosing complex lines and getting them wrong.

So the question of whether you should complicate or not is hugely dependent on your skill level and that of your opponents. While this sounds overly simplistic in nature, it is actually the correct way to proceed for the overwhelming majority of players that play poker and the overwhelming number of cases. Complexity only works if you have a true understanding of that complexity and all that it entails.

If you don’t and you try to enter complex situations before your skill level has had a chance to catch up then you are entering into a world of hurt. Likewise if you use a simplified strategy when in actual fact your skill level indicates that you could in fact do far better with a complex strategy. This means that your earnings may not be as high as what they would have been but you are at least still making money.

One mistake still makes money while the other is potentially disastrous. If every single poker player on the planet attempted complexity then millions of players the world over would lose their shirts overnight. Online poker at the end of the day is about survival and not losing money straight away for novice players and that is the key objective for millions of players. So at the outset of a poker career with limited experience and skill then simple systems are much better than complex ones and this is something that isn’t coached or explained anywhere near as much by poker coaches as what it should be.