Phil Gordon on Following Patterns

Gordon:    One of the key skills of a poker player is to recognize your opponent’s betting patterns and then come up with the strategy to exploit it.  For instance, some players, you know, if they open the pot for a raise, they will always or nearly always follow that up with a between after, you know, at their earliest opportunity.  Other poker players, their pattern might be if they have a good hand they between and if they have a weak hand they check.  Others are exactly the opposite, so identifying those patterns obviously gives you a way to exploit those patterns to your advantage.  If you know your opponent is weak or you suspect that they’re weak, then you can [combat it].  If you suspect that they’re strong, then you get out of the way.  In business it’s pretty much the same.  You know, you’re looking at your competition and you’re noticing, for instance, where your opponents are weak and where they’re strong, where they’re applying their resources and where are they not.  You know, you would never try to enter a market in business where Microsoft is investing $200 million, but if Microsoft isn’t investing money or, you know, you can see an exploitable hole in other people’s business plans and that might be a place that you put some resources.

Phil Gordon describes ways to study your opponent’s behavior.