The idea of the Centre and the challenges it faces

The idea of the Centre and the spin-offs

The next aspect of the idea of centrality is psychological. In the last article, we argued that understanding the idea of centrality is simple. But what exactly does "simple" mean?

There are many different meanings for this word. Let's say that "simple" hands are those that do not require a lot of psychological knowledge to make a decision. We can say that most of them are made automatically.

A location close to the centre is easy, as the opponent will make a decision almost unconsciously. This means that for situations very close to the centre, he will pay little attention. Knowing that he can deal with such situations easily, he will turn his attention elsewhere. Places away from the centre have the opposite effect. As soon as your opponent is in a difficult situation, his conscious attention will be shaken, his autopilot will switch off and he will return to the battlefield.

This is an important psychological place in the game of poker. Knowing where your opponent is focusing his attention while playing is vital. If you can tell where he is concentrating, you can better predict his actions.

We can conclude that in well-known situations (situations close to the centre), the opponent will play on autopilot, and if you can "read" his style of play at the time, this knowledge will be useful. For example, if someone is very fond of doing x-action or has a tendency to do y-action, you are free to expect such an action in a close-to-centre situation, but as soon as an off-centre situation arises, the opponent will immediately change his psychology.

In other words, the player's autopilot is a pre-calculated program. It is a set of algorithms that have been shaped by past events, sessions played, video views. Once the autopilot is activated, the player trusts it. But if one finds oneself in a new, unfamiliar situation, one has to concentrate all one's attention and find a solution using one's knowledge of theory and reasoning. This is only the case when the player is focused on a new hand. Deviating from the usual strategy is likely to throw the opponent off track psychologically.

Places close to the centre and those far from it are processed differently, and this perception will allow us to predict what would otherwise appear to be psychological anomalies.

The idea of the Centre and the challenges it facesLet me illustrate with an example. Imagine you are playing a game against a strong opponent who doesn't really like to fold and usually responds. So far, you have been matching him, showing only good hands in big pots. We can conclude that in close-to-centre situations, he will probably keep his style of answering every time, because that is his automatic game. He has mentally chosen this strategy as working against you. But as soon as you move away from the centre, he will suddenly become hyper-vigilant. You might make a big bet on the river and it will be clear that he will need to rethink the hand he has. If you're paying attention, you'll notice how he's applying all the experience you've had in the game to the fact that so far you've only shown good hands and have a strong image. He will probably think, "This guy only does that when he has something good" and fold. He will just go off his strategy.

Such a drop may seem incomprehensible and unpredictable to someone unfamiliar with the concept, but good players can predict it with incredible accuracy. They might not put it in the same words (or even be able to describe the process itself), but they do it very often.

Finally, the idea of centrality is, at best, a principle to keep in mind. The game is about much more than centrality, and a strategy that only pushes people to places far from the centre will look manic. Rather, the idea of a centre-based approach is simply a way of understanding the dynamics that are caused by adaptation, aggression and comfort. All these elements are important in a changing game.