Jun 14 2010

What is a Cooler in Poker

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

poker coolerWhen Daniel Negreanu lost a massive pot to Gus Hansen on High Stakes Poker with a full house vs. quads, he was quoted as saying, “What a cooler.” But, what is a cooler? In that hand, an argument could be made for folding the full house. His hand was not the second nuts, and it was reasonably possible that Hansen had a better full house, or even quads. It hurts, a lot, to fold a big hand, but don’t let coolers be an excuse. A hand like KK v AA all in pre flop is a cooler. Calling your stack off with QQ on an 89T board vs. TT is not a cooler. There are many situations where a cooler should be a fold.

“Oh Well”

Another line from Negreanu, in that same High Stakes Poker episode, was, “Oh well, if I lose it’s a cooler…if I lose it’s a cooler.” So, what was Daniel really doing at that time? He was convincing himself to call and giving himself a reason to not feel bad about a mediocre call. Never give yourself an “excuse” for calling. This is never going to be a profitable move. The only thing this helps is your opponent when they have you crushed.

No-Limit Hold’em, $1.00 BB (6 handed) @ Party Poker

Button ($71.10)

SB ($131.05)

Hero (BB) ($150.60)

UTG ($102.50)

MP ($236.40)

CO ($229.45)

Preflop: Hero is BB with 7s, 9h

3 folds, Button calls $1, 1 fold, Hero checks

Pre flop is a rather boring situation. We have an “ok” connector, but nothing special. Being in the big blind, we are more than happy to check and see a flop without any further investment.

Flop: ($2.50) 9s, 8s, 10d (2 players)

Hero checks, Button checks

The flop is pretty good for our hand, all things considered. We have middle pair and an open ended straight draw, even if it is the weaker end. No point in betting at this tiny pot, however, so we check to the button, who also elects to check.

Turn: ($2.50) 6s (2 players)

Hero bets $3, Button calls $3

The turn is the best card in the deck. Not only does the 6s give us a straight, but it gives us a straight that is very unlikely to be beaten (as a J would be beaten by any Q and ties us with another 7.) Beyond this, we know have an open ended straight flush draw. We have to bet out here in an attempt to build the pot in case we hit a big river card.

River: ($8.50) 10s (2 players)

Hero bets $15, Button raises to $40, Hero raises to $146.60 (All-In), Button calls $27.10 (All-In)

The river card is beautiful. We hit our straight flush. The pot was small, so we make an unusually big bet. This is for value from the As (maybe the Ks) and full houses, and to potentially disguise our hand as a poor bluff. Though we would have been happy with a call, the button actually raises our over bet. This should give us a small scare, as Js Qs is a possible hand for our opponent and would have us dead. With that said, it is very, very unlikely that our opponent has this hand. He could have a big full house, the As, or even a bluff. We have no choice but to shove. He thinks for a little and calls with quad tens. Is this a cooler for our opponent? Yes, to an extent, but he most likely wins the hand with a pre flop raise and could have saved money by calling our river bet or folding to our re raise all in.

Total pot: $142.70 | Rake: $3


Button had 10c, 10h (four of a kind, tens).

Hero had 7s, 9h (straight flush, ten high).

Outcome: Hero won $139.70

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