Overview of different levels of poker

Adapting to the level on which one’s opponent is thinking is a significant factor which helps a player in winning a game of poker. Though poker players understand that this theory is very true, they have a hard time putting it to practice. These levels of thinking have high influence one’s play. Levels of thinking mean the depth with which a player thinks about a situation and the factors that he or she is considering.

These levels can be explained below:

Level 1 thinker – These players usually think about absolute rather than focusing on their relative hand strengths. These players do not think much about situational factors like what hands are possible or what hands their opponents have. These players just bet, call, raise or fold depending on where their holding falls. With the strength of their hand, these players commensurate the size of their bet and the timing of their decisions.

Level 2 thinkers – These players try to get a read on their opponent’s holdings and then they play their own hand according to that. If such players bluff, this is because they know their suspect is beat and not because they have throughout displayed strong holding on earlier streets. When such players bet for value on the river, it is due to the fact that they know their hand is strong compared to the board and also to their opponent’s hands rather than being relative to the range that they themselves have represented.

Level 3 players – Such players are conscious of both what they have represented and what they have. They try to play their hand based on how they think their hand is perceived by their opponents. Such players are generally more aware of the situation and can also make accurate value bets.

Level 4 thinkers – Such players are very tricky opponents. They get inside the head of their opponent and think about their play according to the information that they have about their opponent’s hand and also according to the information they have given their opponent’s about their hand.  Advanced players will be able to grasp hold of the thought process of their opponents at this level and use it to their benefit. There are very few players who can think at this level.

Knowing the different levels of thought helps a player from playing incorrectly against the different types of players. One’s objective should be only to think at a level higher at which one’s opponent is thinking and not more than that. Better players adapt quickly, but if a player isn’t figured out correctly, then a weaker opponent can also be just as tricky.


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