Multiple Level Thinking: Levels Of Thought In Poker
Anyone who’s involved in poker games has to remain focused on coming up with the best way to out-think the opposition. This means seeing several steps ahead of where you are – just like you would if you were a champion chess player. This is why players that win real cash have the analytical mind to take a look at situations objectively and then take the right action at the right time. If you can’t put together different things in your mind to view a more detailed picture of how each hand ends up, you will not make a lot of money when you play poker. It’s essential to be able to figure out why opponents are doing what they are doing in a game if you are going to win. If you can use that to determine what your opponent is probably holding, you can make the best decisions for each situation.
Here is a look at some of the different levels of thought that you should apply to poker. In his book “NL Texas Hold’em Theory and Practice,” David Sklansky introduced an idea called “Multiple Level Thinking,” and here are the categories he came up with:
Level 0: No thinking
Level 1: What do I have?
Level 2: What do they have?
Level 3: What do they think I have?
Level 4: What do they think I think they have?
Level 5: What do they think I think they think I have?
Once you get beyond that complexity, you’ve left the vast majority of the poker players in the world behind. However, if you look at those levels, you can probably guess that the newest players to the game are probably at Levels 0 or 1. The very best players in the world can operate at Level 4 and 5 – if not even higher.
Level 0 – these are your newest players (or those who have taken too many drinks from the waitresses).
Level 1 – This is still fairly basic. This includes players who are still getting all of the rules down but are pretty familiar with the different ranks of hands. So they spend most of their time determining the strength of their hand and whether they can win overall. They won’t bluff well because they’ll only be thinking of their own hands instead of considering the hands of others.
Level 2 – This is the most common category. Some experienced players are in here, but they haven’t yet started winning regularly. They will think about what their opponent is likely to have in his hand, but they don’t have enough game knowledge yet to make the right play on the basis of the situation’s strategy or the math involved.
Level 3 – These players start to win more regularly because they are always focusing on what their opponents are thinking, and so they can pick up the right time to bluff and the best amount for a value bet more frequently. The difference between playing at Level 2 and at Level 3 is the difference between winning and losing regularly.
Level 4 – Now things are getting complex. However, the best players will be able to manage these thought processes. It’s less likely to need this to win, but you can win more often if you can get here.
Level 5 – If you come across someone who is this ingenious, you need to pick a different table.
Are you ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables and get all the practice you need before making the transition to legal online poker sites. Click here to check it out.