word type: poker slang
- A term referred to a way of playing poker "by the book" without any sophistication and in a straightforward manner.
ABC Poker is typically played by a player who outranks a complete novice. They know to raise 3x the Big Blind, about blind structure, when to shove when short stacked and other elementary play. ABC Poker is not, however, a complement to be given and generally is associated with a player that can be exploited through aggression.
Five years ago, ABC poker was undoubtedly a winning strategy, and even today - if you find the right game - it can certainly be profitable. However, in most tournaments and cash games these days, playing ABC poker will leave you break-even or worse. Want to know if you're playing ABC poker? Here are some basic tell-tale signs that your game is stagnant:
Set Opening Range: If you have a set opening range and don't even vary it based on position, you're playing way too tight. You might think that opening a range of TT-AA and AQ+ is profitable, but to a keen eye it will be painfully obviously and thus make you extremely easy to play against. To remedy this, play more hands when the action is folded to you in late position. At the very least, you'll be harder to read when you become more active.
Obvious Flop Play: If you find yourself only making continuation-bets on flops that you hit hard and merely checking when you miss, again, you're going to very easy to exploit. Most opponents will notice this trend and simply bet when you check and fold when you bet. To shake this habit, try c-betting a higher percentage of boards and experiment with checking the flop to bet or raise the turn. The key is to shed the predictable image that comes with playing ABC poker, and varying your flop play will certainly help.
Not Range Balancing: Perhaps the biggest problem with playing ABC poker is that you play the same hands, the same way, in all of the same situations. For example: if you always three-bet with AA preflop, check-raise when you flop a set out of position, and check-fold when you miss the flop, you aren't balancing you're range and are essentially telling your opponents exactly how you play. To fix this, you need to play the same range of hands differently. It's more complicated than flatting with aces preflop - and certainly don't start doing this every time if it works once - but it's a good place to start changing up your game.