Poker Plays 101: Isolation Plays

Isolation plays in poker are aggressive plays used to make all other opponents fold in order to have a match-up with a single opponent. A successful isolation play will make a bluffer's endeavor fail, or eliminate a short-stacked player.

Isolation plays are usually done with superb hands. If one would want to isolate a bluffer, then a made hand would be enough. In order to successfully do an isolation play, one must have a full comprehension of its principles: why it is done, when it is used, and how it is executed.

Once in a while you will encounter over-aggressive players. These players will raise like crazy even with a meager hand. There are three reasons why a player might be over-aggressive: the player is bluffing; the player is short-stacked and is desperate to win chips; or the player lacks poker strategies and just plays aggressively to play aggressively (a 'maniac').

While aggressive plays in poker often evoke a strong hand, it is also often used to mask a weak one. Playing too tight and folding whenever an aggressive player comes around will cost you more than you earn. Thus, you will want to take the risk and go up against that aggressive opponent.

Isolation plays are done whenever you assess that a player is holding an inferior hand and yet is playing aggressively. Any player might call a bluffing player's raise, but that will not insure that they will call off their bluff. Isolation plays are better because its aim is to bring a suspected bluffer onto the showdown.

To perform an isolation play, one must need to play really aggressively and re-raise the suspected bluffer or short-stacked player's raise. Re-raise until the pot odds are unbearable to other players, such that they are forced to fold.

This is where the good thing about isolation plays begins. If the target does not fold, then it will bring you to a showdown. If you play your cards right and have a winnable hand, then congratulations, you have just won off a huge pot from a bluffer or eliminated a player. If the target folds, it is still good: you have either made a bluffer fail or milked a maniac out of their chips.

Always remember to pick the right targets for an isolation play. You would not want to target a player who is over-aggressive because they have a superb drawing hand. And one last thing: keep in mind that the key to a successful isolation play is to be aggressive, aggressive, and more aggressive.