My latest poker strategy article, Balance, addresses a pet peeve of mine that I see often in the tournament forums:

Balance is one of the most misunderstood concepts in tournament poker. Many players believe that playing in a balanced way matters only when dealing with players they encounter on a regular basis. In a tournament setting, where they expect to play a few hours at most with a given opponent, they see no reason to worry about balancing their ranges.

This logic gets it backwards. Balance matters more when playing against unknown opponents with unknown tendencies. It is the best way to play when you don’t know what to expect. After examining what exactly balanced play means, this article will consider situations in which it is and is not useful.

Hopefully this article helps to clarify a frequent point of misunderstanding. Please let me know what you think!

2 thoughts on “Balance

  1. I enjoyed it very much. I have literally had this conversation with myself while playing:

    Should I be concerned about balancing my range here? Nah, I’ll never have a similar situation against this same player.

    You made me see how poorly I understood things. Step one is understanding a concept. Step two is knowing when it is applicable.

  2. This is the first thing I’ve ever read about balance. Even though I thought I understood the concept of “Sometimes have to have nuts, sometimes have to have bluffs.” I had never really dug down deep into it.

    Thanks for the article and I’ll have to re-read it a couple more times for me to wrap my head around it.

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