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I agree with you that novices are difficult to play because of the constant calling. These players are often called calling stations because whatever the bet, you will be called and made an honest player.
However, I disagree that in a game of honest players it is a level playing field, where the person with the best cards wins.
The better poker player should always win, even more so than in a dishonest game as the play will be much more predictable.
If we assume that two players receive exactly the same cards on the night and the same number of winning hands you could assume it will be a tie.
However, it is the player with the best strategy, who has the best 'pot management' skills, who makes his poker hands pay most, who should win.
It all comes down to a calculated approach to the size of your bet in any circumstance.
To summise, the skilled player wins more money on the same hands, not through luck, but because of a deliberate strategy.
If novices cannot be bluffed then dont even try, its like throwing your money away. You are right to play tight.
Your strategy should be based on probability and pot odds. These two concepts are rarely applied in poker, as it takes a bit of effort, but in a novice game this type of knowledge will pay.
I can recommend a book that goes into a bit more detail but for now this information may help.
Pot Odds vs Card odds
The ratio of the current size of the pot divided by the size of the next potential bet, from the point of view of the player about to make the bet.
The lower the pot odds facing a call, the more likely it is that folding will be the correct play
The higher the pot odds facing a call, the more likely it is that calling is the correct play
Pot odds are really just another way of looking at expectation. It compares the amount of money in the pot to the amount of money you would have put in to continue playing. It helps answer the eternal question in poker strategy: "Is it worth it to continue in this hand?"
To answer that, you always have to have a sense of card odds. Lets say the pot contains $100 and you need to put in $10 to continue playing. The pot odds are 10 - 1. If you have a better chance of winning than that, it's worth calling. When the card odds are better than the pot odds, it makes good poker strategy sense to get out. Have a 25-1 chance of getting that inside straight? Time to fold.
A bad online poker strategy is to play too many hands.
As part of your poker strategy, you can use the concept of pot odds to guide your bluffing. An occasional, not-too-costly "discovered bluff" (one that doesnt work) may also help you win bigger pots in later hands. Players may think you are a 'bluffer' and stay in when you actually do have a good hand.