Jan 16 2010

Connecting the Dots

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Poker players are known for their inability to let a hand go. Once you play a hand you should try to put it behind you, but sometimes a little recollection will force you to realize that you may have made the incorrect play. Common sense is one of the biggest weapons that any poker player can have. If you are able to combine a little bit of common sense with some critical thinking you will have a huge edge on the vast majority of your opponents.

Poker is not a ridiculously complicated game, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. Poker is, however, extremely complex. There is a very big difference between complicated and complex. The word complicated implies that something is hard to understand or do, but complex just means that it will take some time to understand. Poker players tend to make a complex situation into a complicated one. This is definitely one of the most widespread flaws amongst poker players. Some players try to out-think their opponents so much that they end up confusing themselves.

“I know you don’t have an ace”

There is no reason that you have to give up on a bluff if it doesn’t work right away. Many poker players are going to bluff players who they think are trying to bluff. There is a certain amount of meta game (battle of the minds) going on when one player bluffs and another player bluffs them back, but it is definitely not so complicated that it can’t be understood. This is when you have to go ahead and connect the dots. This is also why poker is very much a game based on common sense. It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots just as it doesn’t take a genius to make some solid plays that seem complicated at the surface,

Take this hand as an example. The hero opens in middle position to $8 at 1/2 with two random cards, none of them being an ace. The player directly to his left and an early position player make the call. The flop is A x x, with the x’s representing random irrelevant cards. Remember that a lot of cards aren’t going to have a heavy bearing on how the hand is playing out, no matter how much weight you might be giving them. In this situation the ace is the only relevant card. Everyone checks the flop as we head to the turn.

The pot is $27 as the turn brings another small card. The early position player checks and our hero fires out $22. The player to the hero’s left, our villain, raises to $62. The early position player throws away his hand and we are left to contemplate the hand. The hero insta folds, but was that the correct move? Probably not. Think about what types of hands the villain would raise the turn with. A set or two pair are the only likely hands that raise in that spot. The villain mutters “I know you don’t have an ace” after we fold and it all makes sense. He probably had nothing at all. What we should have done is either re raise his raise of out lead bet or call and check raise the river. Calling and betting the river wouldn’t be a great idea because the villain could then raise us again and it will cost us the most money when we are wrong. If the hero had connected the dots instead of insta folding there is a good chance that they could have taken down the pot.

Comments Off - Click Here to Speak Up