For episode #9, Red Chip Poker co-founder Doug Hull takes the hosting reigns from SplitSuit.
Doug dives into the topic of how unstudied players think about poker — something he probed in depth in a 2-part video series (available for PRO members).
Doug took a 30-year veteran of poker who had never studied the game, set him up with a $50 bankroll, and discussed his decisions while playing 50NL online at WSOP.com.
Unstudied players have “huge misconceptions about the game of poker that are predictable.” And in poker, predictable means profit.
Unstudied Players Aren’t Profit-Driven
Doug says: “If there was one big takeaway from this experiment, it’s that unstudied players are not there to make a profit.”
What are they driven by? The desire to win pots.
Fragmented Pre-Flop Range
Doug found his unstudied player to exhibit three primary pre-flop behaviors:
- Limping – These players often will limp any 2 remotely playable cards.
- Min-Raises and Min-3-Bets – “Sweetening the pot” with decent but speculative hands like 77 or KQs.
- Massive Pre-Flop Raises with QQ+ – These players are very emotionally attached to winning the pot with the best hand pre-flop.
No Thought Of…
There are a lot of things unstudied players don’t really consider doing, and knowing what they don’t do will benefit your bankroll:
- They don’t semi-bluff 3-bet pre-flop. They have a hand.
- They don’t squeeze, nor do they realize when they’re getting squeezed.
- Positional awareness is not something they are thinking about. They are playing their hand.
- They are never considering 3-betting lite as a defense. A 3-bet out of the blinds means they have a hand.
- Implied odds, pot odds, relative value… these are not concepts that are generally in their repertoire.
A big disconnect with reality many of these players has is the tendency to believe raises represent players bullying people. They tend to assume the worst of aggressive actions. He’ll call the “bully” pre-flop, with no plan on how to act post-flop.
What adjustments are good against an unstudied player? 3-betting lite and tightening up pre-flop are great starts.
Another disjointed and specific concept: Unstudied players will massively overvalue middle pair if the flop checks through.
Unstudied players take lines that studied players will have trouble wrapping their heads around. That’s because their plans aren’t plans at all — just incoherent, vague ideas about how to win a pot, or fold before they lose their shirt.