Players who literally play any two cards are divided into three types of players and you need to be aware of the differences between these players. The frequency at which you see these variations depends on the stakes you are playing. Typically you will only see ATC 1 & 2 at small and mid stakes.
- ATC 1 (No grasp of hand strength) – The first group of players who play any two cards really has no solid grasp of hand strength, position, or why to play certain hands in some situations and not others. These players are typical also called “fish” because they’ll put in too much money with weak hands and pay off against dominated hands. These are players you should like playing with, but you need to be aware that if you miss the flop, they may have hit it and they may also call you down with any piece of it. So you don’t typically want to bluff players in this category unless you see them folding a lot to a second bet (or third). You do however want to value bet your made hands against them as they will nearly always pay off with weaker hands or dominated hands.
- ATC 2 (Some grasp of hand strength) – You’ll see a lot of these players primarily in short-handed games, but they do also show up in full ring games. These players will play any two cards, but they typically won’t invest too much into the pot unless they have a good hand after the flop. They’ll commonly call raises with a hand such as K6o on the button (note this is different than CRW – see above) with the intention of either bluffing you out of the pot OR nailing a big hand hoping to bust you with your large pocket pair. These players will be very visible because they’ll be involved in a lot of pots, and they’ll usually be fairly aggressive. If they have some grasp of hand strength, then they are getting involved in a lot of pots for a reason, and that reason is usually because they believe they can bluff you out of the pot, or bust you with their unusual T4o hand. These opponents can be more dangerous, but a lot of times they will still go too far with a top pair hand thinking you’re bluffing (even though you have a better kicker then they do). You want to bet into them when you have a strong hand and hope they don’t believe you and make a move in the wrong spot. Make your bets big and strong against these opponents, because they tend to not believe people betting into them. You really don’t need to slowplay against these opponents.
- ATC 3 (Good grasp of hand strength) – These opponents are almost non-existent at small stakes, you will sometimes see them at 50NL/100NL and above at 6-max. This player can legitimately be called a solid LAG (loose-aggressive) player. They play nearly any two cards because they know how to read situations well and win a lot of hands even when they have the worst hand. They can also read well when they have a good second best hand and minimize their losses. Playing this style requires excellent hand reading and making a lot of difficult decisions. For these reasons you’ll typically run into a lot of people that are of the latter two types of ATCs described. Some will be ATCs that have some concept of hand strength that think they are good LAG players, but really they aren’t.
So when taking notes make sure you know what type of ATC you are facing. Make the appropriate additional note. When you are playing against an ATC 1, you know this opponent is just basically “fishy” (bad player). When you are against ATC 2, this player tends to be more on the aggressive side. They are usually in a lot of pots because they are impatient and are “action junkies.” If you happen to be unlucky enough to see an ATC 3, just try and stay out of pots with them unless you have a good hand or until you’ve developed your post flop skill to a high level.
In the above example both you and your opponent started with effective stacks of 100 BBs in a full ring cash game. Everyone folded to you in middle position and you raised 3.5x the BB with AcQc. The action folded to the button who called the raise and the blinds folded.
You look at your notes and you notice that you put down that your opponent was an ATC 2. You don’t have any other notes beyond that and you’ve only played 8 rotations with this opponent. The flop comes: 7c3dTc and you make a ¾ size pot bet with your nut flush draw and two over cards. Your opponent then mini-raises you on the flop and you call the raise. The turn comes the 6c giving you the 2nd nuts. Do you slow down? No, you should continue to bet this hand aggressively against this type of opponent. It’s very likely that they may try and represent the flush by raising your bet. You don’t however want to bet too aggressively in THIS particular situation. A half size pot bet will invite a possible raise which is what you want. Give your aggressive opponent a little room to hang themselves, but don’t get fancy and check. Just continue to bet into these opponents.
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