There are two main reasons for adjusting play, both are equally important. The first is to adjust based on your table image or past betting habits. The second is to adapt to the circumstances you cannot control.
Some important reasons to adjust play would be you have
- raised many hands and nobody has seen your cards.
- not played many hands.
- been caught bluffing.
- or slow playing.
There could be many reasons to adjust these are just a few. The main reasons to adjust are to get a big hand paid off or to steal. But the most important consideration whenever changing your style should be to keep your opponents readable.
It is better to get a bit less action on hands than to constantly have to guess whether an opponent is trying to outplay you. Try to avoid it at all costs by adjusting properly.
For example, if I have not played a hand for a while. I will raise with a marginal hand knowing that I will likely pick up the blinds or be in a good position to steal the pot on the flop. If I am raised I can be pretty sure they have a real hand and not trying to outplay me.
On the other hand if I've been getting good cards and raising hand after hand. And nobody has seen my cards. I would not raise with a mediocre hand like AJ now. Since I may get played back at and will have no idea what they really have. Of course there are many possible scenarios. With practice it becomes very easy, just try to use your best judgment. And never show your cards!
Circumstances that cannot be controlled are
- Blinds have gone up in a tournament.
- A game has become short handed.
- A game has gone from short handed to a full table.
- How many players are seeing a flop.
- What kind of players are at the table (wild or passive).
In these situations it is necessary to change starting hand criteria. If it is short handed play a few more hands than normal. If there are many players at the table be more selective. But as long as many players are seeing the flop hands like 22-77 become playable and so do hands like 76 or J10 suited.
If there are wild loose aggressive players do a bit more trapping and slow playing. If it is passive, be prepared to bet your own hand and so on.