If you have any questions or see any grammatical mistakes (blame steam's lack of spellcheck) feel free to leave a comment. This guide will be updated appropriately.
The most important thing about Poker Night 2 (and poker in general) is knowing your opponents. Learn their playstyles, play to their weaknesses, and take the pot.
Hard headed and deceptively smart, Brock is going to be one of the hardest players you will face. Brock is not afraid to bet, and when he does, he bets big. If you're going out on a bluff, make sure you have enough money to pad your loss. Don't count on an easy win if you're going head to head, mano a mano, toe to toe. Go ahead, take it from him.
More talk than walk, Claptrap is both foolish and unusually tiresome, even when losing. If you're having trouble against Claptrap, you're doing something wrong, as he's one of the least threatening characters. Imagine a coin that always lands on its side when it's flipped, and you've got a pretty good idea of Claptrap's strategy.
More difficult to describe than the others, Ash either bats a 0.000 or a 1.000. His tactics rely on fooling you into thinking he has an amazing hand, when it may be completely worthless. If you find yourself going all-in against Ash, don't be surprised if you win. Likewise, don't cry if you lose. Don't bet on him having a good hand (pun intended).
You do not want to be 1 on 1 against Sam. He will whittle you down to the point of going all-in, at which point, well... let's just say the cards aren't stacked in your favor. Sam plays carefully and decisively, and rarely slips up. If he manages to pull ahead, prepare for a long, strenuous match. Keep your trichromatic receptors on him at all times.
Last but not least, your dealer for the night will be GLaDOS. Just as witty and [un]friendly as ever, don't let yourself get backed into a corner by her remarks. Though not an opponent, you can find yourself being mentally bombarded with comments that get you questioning your own play. Don't let it get to your head. (the Neurotoxin, that is)
Characters In-Depth and Strategies
Remember that certain elements of the game may be different between players, and what may seem true for one player may not be entirely true for another.
The main idea between the four character is that Brock is similar to Sam, and Claptrap is similar to Ash.
While being a difficult opponent, he does not have a very good poker face. Often times you will see him scratch his ear, contemplate for several seconds on what to do, sometimes even slam the table.
If you see him scratching his ear, don't always expect him to have a decent hand. He may bet slightly above the minimum amount, trying to lure you in, or just go all-in. This does not mean you should call his bet, but you should not call it if you're net-worth is less than his. Always have cards that at least have a chance of taking a win against this tell.
If he remarks on you making a bad move, it's best to believe him.
The best time to hit Brock is when you know he has a good hand while at the same time you have one as well. Fight fire with fire, and don't think for a second that he will bet big on a bluff. Always have something to back up your bets against Brock.
His downside is very much his hubris, so try to play offensively when he is as well. If you can place his tells with his cards, he becomes much easier to read, and can thus lead to you playing more carefully against him.
Doesn't give away money easily
Often bets big when he has the cards to back it up
Fairly consistent strategy
Not being very smart, Claptrap is the weakest link of the group. When he does show some signs of intelligence, it's best to chalk it up to coincidence.
When playing against Claptrap, it's very hard to work off his tells. He does not seem to have any clear strategy beyond betting when he feels like it, so never assume he has a good or bad hand, even if he explicitly states as such.
Here's something you can try against Claptrap -- If you have a pretty good hand and have more money than him, bet exactly how much he currently has, and you will have a good chance of taking him out. I have been in this situation a few times and he has called my bet and lost the match.
The main thing you have to worry about is Claptrap getting money. If he wins some early pots, it can put him way in the lead. Because of his unpredictable nature, he can bet a lot several times in a row, leaving you with little to work with.
Take your chances when you have a decent hand, and don't be fooled by his innocent nature. Even though he can be stupid, he can just as easily seem smart.
No obvious tells
Easy to take out at the start
Can bet and lose large amounts frequently
Doesn't fold before significant losses
Ash seems to be the most inconsistent character between "The Player" (you and me). Some people say he is the hardest character, while others, me included, say he is one of the easiest. Sometimes he pulls an all-in and wins right away, while other times he loses so quickly that you forget he was even in the tournament.
Similar to Claptrap, Ash has a rather random play-style which can make him difficult to beat. Unlike Claptrap however, Ash's randomness is more related to his cards, not when he bets. Because of these random elements, his tells are not very convincing, so don't bother playing based on his reactions. Always play against Ash based on his and your own money.
If he doesn't fold early, there's a fairly good chance that he has a hand that could easily beat yours. Because of his "wait to play" strategy, he can be in the game for a long period of time, not amassing or really losing any money.
If you're having trouble beating Ash, don't double up when he bets. This means don't re-raise him after he has a made a bet, especially if it's around $4000 or more. He will almost always bet more, go all-in, or at least call your amount. He will only fold afterwards if he has a truely bad hand.
You should also avoid calling his all-ins, even if he only has $10,000 and you're leading with $50,000. Don't give him the opportunity of catching up. Assume that his hand will always beat yours unless you have a royal flush.
Don't take your chance with a bad hand against Ash unless you have more money than him, but continue to avoid his all-ins. Always make sure you have decent cards, as bluffing is not very effective.
Check the information and images in the Tips section below titled Don't Always Expect Smart Plays for an example of Ash's strategy.
Inconsistent betting with varied hands
Tricky and sometimes irrelevant tells
Can lose quickly against the AI
Doesn't make very much progress
Loses big or not at all
A strong and resilient character, it can be very hard to beat Sam. If you manage take him out early on, consider yourself lucky.
Watch for Sam to put his head on the table or have his hat jump a bit. If his head is on the table and he doesn't fold, it's best to assume he's bluffing. If his hat hops, don't continue to play unless your confident in your hand.
Sam also doesn't bluff very often, and when he does, he will usually take the pot with his outrageous bets. While re-raising his bets can sometimes be a viable strategy, having a bad hand while doing so isn't advised.
Personally, I have played against Sam all the way down to max blinds (4000-8000) twice, first time winning and the second time losing. You cannot lose your cool when playing against Sam.
The best thing to do is check often, and bet small. If you bet large amounts at a time, he will usually match your bet. Keep in mind that Max is in the background, and can actually influence Sam's play.
If Max tells Sam to bet and he goes through with it, don't be afraid to play as well. Sam may very well have a terrible hand and is only playing to appease Max. This does not happen that frequently, but it can make the difference between a win and a loss.
The most important thing to remember when facing Sam is to never let him take the lead. If he gets a foothold, he can grab the reins and take a quick victory against you, even if you are playing well.
Doesn't back down when he's bluffing
Only goes all-in with a good hand
Max has influence over him
Lacks some confidence when other people are bluffing
Doesn't always bet as much as he should
Don't Constantly go All-In
This is something I see other people saying to do in order to win. You will not win by going all-in every hand. You should only go all-in when your current amount of chips is more than the other people going all-in, or when you have a hand that you know will have a 50% or greater chance of winning. Don't leave it up to luck by going all-in before the river if it will cost you the match.
Make Small Bets with a Good Hand
If you know for a fact you're going to win a hand, don't just go all-in. Play small and work your way up to larger amounts. If you bet nearly all your money at the flop, everyone may fold instantly. It's best to bet small amounts to "reel them in" so you can finally bet a lot at the river (the 5th and final card) and either take a substantially larger amount, or make everyone fold regardless, thus securing your pot with greater authority.
Don't Fold under Pressure
Just because you may have a pair of 2's does not mean you are going to lose the round. Note the image below.
Sam decided to go all-in because he had fairly strong cards even though he had no pairs at the end of the river. Even if the 3rd 2 had not shown up, I still would have taken the win. Low cards do not mean you don't have a chance of taking the pot, but don't expect to win if the flop, turn, and river have enough cards to secure a straight, flush, or even 3 to 4 of a kind hand for another player.
If you find yourself being trampled and losing pot after pot, start betting larger amounts at the flop. First, make sure no one has made any noticeable tells and hasn't made a significant bet. When it's your turn, bet half or more of your current wallet. This is not recommended for mid to late game, but it can be a decent strategy at the start of a match. Don't be afraid to take an early lead.
Know when to Play if you're Low on $$$
If you only have $5,000 left while everyone else has 3-4 times more than you, do not just go all-in because it seems like you have no chance. If you win a pot against 3 other players when you go all-in with $5,000, you will already be back up to $20,000. Having less money can sometimes be beneficial, as the rest of the table may feel as if they have nothing to lose by calling your bet. Check your cards, make your bet when you have a good hand, and reap the rewards.
On a Losing Streak? Check, don't Bet
Betting small amounts every turn can lose you the game pretty quickly. If you find yourself losing match after match, sometimes it's best to just check, and fold when a bet is made. This way when you get a hand that is fairly strong, you can start to bet and gain money, while losing little to nothing. Sometimes that straight or flush you're waiting for just won't come to fruition, so try playing only when you have a hand at the flop. Don't hesitate to refer back to the poker hands chart if you're having problems.
I have not gone over drinks at all in this guide, but buying drinks can actually change the difficulty of the game fairly substantially. If you buy Brock and Sam a drink, ignoring Claptrap and Ash, this can make them more likely to fight against each other, rather than you having to rely on taking them out. This may prolong the game, but it is a viable strategy if you are trying to win the unlockables.
Consult the images below for how to buy drinks. The mouse pointer's location is where you should click.
Don't Always Expect Smart Plays
This is an extremely important topic as it can potentially define the swing of a game. Just because you might expect the AI to do something commonsensical, they may not.
The match below had a triple 10 flop, with one player most likely holding the fourth 10.
Now it would be safe to assume that at least one of them were holding the 10 because all 3 characters went all-in. The next picture shows the results of the round.
Ash went all-in with a 7 and a 9. I was holding a Queen and a 9, so there was no reason for me to continue calling any bets. The AI seems to not recognize that three of the same cards at the flop is an extremely dangerous set of cards to bet on since any other player could have possessed a 10.
The most likely scenario would be that Ash was going all-in for the potential straight, and may also have been attempting to bluff. Brock, having two Jacks, had a miniscule chance of getting a four of a kind, but it was a better call to play his hand since he started with a full house, and would have beaten the rest of the table if they were bluffing. The problem however is that a four of a kind handily beats a straight, and only just beats a full house.
So remember, don't always expect the AI to play how you or other players would.
Tricks & Secrets
New Dialogue with Full Sets
If you are using the default chips, cards, and table, you will get a lot of the same recycled dialogue. Buying an entire set will create new conversations related to the unlockables, and will also change the aesthetic of the room, creating an interesting new look and livening up the experience.
Try changing a set during a match rather than at the start of a tournament. You'll get a cool little cutscene with some more dialogue which doesn't appear when just starting a regular tournament. There are a few cutscenes per set, so try it more than once. Not sure if they meant for it to work this way, but it does regardless.
Sit Idle for a Bit
Another way to get some new dialogue is by sitting idle in a full set room. With the default room, most of the time you will get remarks asking you to hurry up or that they're getting bored waiting, but on a complete set room (not positive if this is important), you can get some fairly lengthy conversations that aren't brought up while playing.
Lose and Watch
You can lose a match and then watch the AI play by pressing the Watch Match button after you're busted out. This can be helpful to further learn about their styles. Though it may take some time, watching the AI takes the burden of trying to win off your hands, so you can better focus on how they play.
Turn Back Time
One last trick you can try is leaving the game during a hand. If you accidentally went all-in and lost, press alt+f4 before the tournament ends. You can then go back into the game and continue at the beginning of that turn. This means you can essentially go back to the game when losing a hand indefinitely. This does not mean you should continuously do this to win, but it can sometimes be helpful for starting players or some of those difficult bounties.
Thanks for Reading
I hope this guide was of some use to you. If you have any questions or notice any errors, feel free to leave a comment or a rating as you see fit. I will do my best to reply to questions.