There are two schools of thought when it comes to poker – the traditionalists and the new school. The traditionalists believe in playing tight, waiting for the right hand, and then betting big. The new school players are more aggressive, often playing a lot of hands and going all-in more frequently. Which style is better? That’s up to you!
In recent years poker has really taken off, with players from all around the world competing online and in-person. With so many players, it’s important to have a strong understanding of the different strategies used. Traditional poker strategy is often seen as more conservative and relies on discipline. The goal is to be patient, wait for good cards, and bet big when they come around. This style takes time to master, but can pay off big in the long run.
The new school strategy is more aggressive, with players often going all-in and bluffing more frequently. This style can be very effective when used judiciously, but it can also lead to disaster if not managed properly. The key here is to understand your opponents and their tendencies in order to make sound decisions.
Let’s take a look at the pros and this new school poker strategy. Someone who took the poker world by storm this past year was Michael Addamo. Addamo started his poker career in 2012 and won his first WSOP bracelet in 2016. Addamo brought a new style of poker to the tables, as his strategy was unmatched. Many poker pros such as Daniel Negreanu have spoken on Addamo and his abilities. Addamo puts immense pressure on players in big spots, which takes even the pros out of their comfort zones. He has been described as being very unpredictable and intense to play against. Professional players such as Negreanu mentioned being clueless about what his betting patterns were and that he had never encountered aggression like his.
Addamo’s unorthodox poker strategies took the industry by storm. He was doing what anyone in poker would tell you not to do, all the solvers in the world would say he was wrong (but hey, AI isn’t always right). Rather, Addamo was exploiting other players tendencies and using their own skills and knowledge against them. Let’s look at an example of a hand he played against Daniel Negreanu knocking his out of a tournament.
Negreanu was on the button (the table position with the most power and leverage), with a hand of Ah and Kd (a very good hand). Negreanu raised $5,000, Addamo calls on the big blind. We’ll keep Addamos hand undisclosed so you can understand why this hand was unorthodox.
The flop is 9d, 7h, 5c. Negreanu doesn’t have much here, they both check. The turn card is As, and Addamo checks, while Negreanu bets half the pot making the total pot $10,000.
Now comes the unorthodox moves – Addamo raised Negreanu to $36,000 (a massive raise for what’s on the board). This throws Negreanu off, he is confused about what Addamo has, so he calls the bet, making the pot $78,500.
The river comes, it’s a 5h. Addamo then goes all in and bets $275,000, making the total pot $293,500. In theory there should never be a hand that can do that with this board. This then taking Negreanu out of his comfort zone and testing his poker knowledge. Negreanu thinks this is an aggressive bluff and makes the call.
What does Addamo hold? 6c and 8s, giving him a straight and winning the $508,500 pot and knocking Negreanu out of the tournament. How did he do it? Addamo took the risk of assuming Negreanu would think he was bluffing. This aggressive poker strategy is new to the game and took some of the greatest players by surprise.
Addamo is now a four-time winning WSOP Bracelet holder and has a total live earning of $20,844,399. He has been able to make a name for himself in the poker scene by utilizing his new style of poker strategies and tactics.
Overall, it is evident that players are bringing new strategies to the game which can be used to take players out of their comfort zone. Traditional strategies such as patience and discipline still hold true, but new age players like Addamo are bringing a new level of skill and aggression to the game.