Rock – A player with an extremely tight and conservative style of play.
A risk adverse player who only plays premium hands and tends to avoid marginal situations is sometimes referred to as a “rock.” A rock
is the polar opposite of a “maniac.” A maniac is a
player who is capable of playing any two cards from any position, and who often bets, bluffs, and raises with marginal holdings.
Because they tend to have better hand selection and are more risk adverse, rocks tend to do better in the games over the long run than
the maniacs. Maniacs, on the other hand, are more prone to large swings on any given day, both up and down, and frequently either win
big or lose big.
While rocks tend to play better than maniacs, “rock” is not synonymous with
“shark,” even though many sharks play fairly tight,
and many rocks play fairly well. Regardless of your opponent’s style of play, you can beat them if you can outplay them. This is done by
using logic and game theory to come up with a winning strategy and winning tactical approach.
Your strategic approach to the game begins before you even sit down, with game selection and seat selection. When you have multiple
games to choose from, you want to try to choose the game with the greatest potential for profit. If there are too many rocks in the
game, there won’t be much action. The pots will tend to be small, and the potential for profit may also be small. The best games will
either have a mix of rocks and maniacs or be mostly maniacs, and these are the games you should try to select. There are some
advantages to playing against rocks, if you understand how to play correctly against them. They are generally very predictable, easy
to bluff, and easy to avoid paying off.
When selecting a game, you should always consider the specific seat or seats that will be available to you in each game, if possible.
The approaches and skill levels of the players on both your left and your right can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.
Conventional wisdom is that you generally want to keep the maniacs on your immediate right and the rocks on your left. If you’re not
sure of who is who, find a nice rock to lean on (sit directly to the right of the tightest player possible). The reasoning behind this
is straightforward. If you keep the maniacs to your right, you will have a positional advantage over them. You will be able to see
their action before deciding on whether or not to get involved yourself. You will be able to punish them when they speed, and bluff at
them when you feel they are weak, possibly bluffing out the rock behind you in the process.
You want to keep the rocks acting after you for many reasons. First of all, they are predictable. You are not likely to get played at
very often, and since they are ABC players, it is
often pretty easy to put them on a hand, or at least on a range of hands. Another reason to keep the rocks on your left is that they
muck frequently, and forfeit their positional
advantage easily, leaving you to assume their position. This makes it easy for you to win the
button by default or to buy that position with a
raise. The opportunity to use the raise to your advantage increases when you also have a maniac on your immediate right, because they
will often bet trash in front of you.
Many rocks pride themselves on their tight, disciplined play. They are often proud to show you a pocket pair of aces or the nut full
house. Many of them are dangerous, especially if they are betting or raising. But their pride can lead to their downfall. If they only
play super premium hands, and rarely or never bluff, it often becomes obvious during the play of the hand exactly how strong they are.
Though they may play tighter before the flop than their opponents (including yourself), and will therefore start with a better hand
more often, they are still beatable. If you can tell what they are holding by their betting patterns, you can bluff them when they are
weak and avoid paying them off when they are strong. Playing this way takes a certain amount of skill and discipline, as you will have
begun to play the player in addition to playing the hand. Many rocks who do not have success with their playing styles do not have a
good understanding of this dynamic.
Usage: The Rock Raised, Rock Tight, Table Full Of Rocks
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