The Multiple Level Thinking
Being able to figure out why your opponent is playing in a certain way is an essential skill for any poker player. The multi-level thinking is one of the key strategies to beat our opponents.
The levels of thinking in poker
To understand what your opponent might have in hand is not easy, but this is related to the ability to think on different levels. “Think for levels” is a concept by David Sklansky, explained in the book Theory and Practice NL Holdem. This is the definition of the first 6 levels of thinking:
Level 0: I know nothing about poker
Level 1: that card in my hand
Level 2: what cards he is holding my opponent
Level 3: What does my opponent think I have
Level 4: What does my opponent think I think he has
Level 5: What does my opponent think I think he thinks that I have
And it is good to stop here, because very few players are able to think at higher levels, besides the fact that it is becoming very difficult to give a definition of the various levels. The reason simply poor players with level 0 or level 1, while the most prepared players can think of from level 4 up.
It is not difficult to learn this level of thinking, because the people who fall into this category or not at all know the rules of the game or are playing drunk.
This level comprises all players who have just learned the rules of the game and do not have a clear idea about starting hand, so will be focused on understanding what really strong their hand. Players who think only of one level, they will almost never be able to make a bluff, because they do not think about what might be holding their opponent.
Contains players who already have some experience of the game, but that are not yet successful. These players will evaluate the hand of their opponent, but probably will not yet be able to adopt the correct strategies for different situations.
In the third level of thinking are enclosed in the first winning players. These players always think the thoughts of their opponents, so they can more easily find opportunities to orchestrate a bluff or to make a value bet. The difference that exists between a player who thinks of Level 2 and Level 3 one who thinks is the one that exists between a loser and a winner.
This is where things start to get a little ‘complicated, but still even if a player is able to think at this level, it is unlikely that this ability to use, because there are many other players who can think like him.
It is particularly difficult to try to define this level, but one thing is certain: if you realize that the table is a player who can think with this level, then you should immediately abandon the game.
What does it mean to think about levels?
Knowing all levels of thinking is very important because it allows players not to play wrong against various types of opponents (tag, nit, fish, etc.). It is useless to think of level 3 if your opponent thinks of level 0, because there is no need to consider what your opponent thinks of you, when he has no idea of the cards in his hand. In this case it is over thinking. To beat any type of player, you just have to think at a higher level, not two or three, only one. Obviously it is not easy to classify your opponents, but over time you’ll be able to make judgments by analyzing the way they play.