Make sure you never check when you sit at a poker table. November 9th, 2008 at 2:49 pm , I began this blog entry discussing several odds topics.
One of the topics was the calculation of the odds of catching your card to win a hand when your opponent doesn’t have anything, thus not only beating the house, but beating the poker tournament as well. reader post after reader provided variations on this theme.
In poker tournaments the players are given a list of starting hand requirements. some of which are quite detailed, and can seem a bit confusing to the beginning player. I’ll let you figure out some of the Hand Selection questions yourself. How much do you want to invest initially? What starting hand situations are the most profitable?
“Can I steal the blinds?”
If you’re in late position and no one contests the pot the blinds naturally fall to you. You can stretch your hand here in many ways. If you have a small or medium pair you can call a small raise, or you can limp in if you feel no one else has cards that could beat your hand. It’s a risk, but if you hit your hand you’ll likely end up with the blinds.
“What should I do with 7-3 offsuit?”
If you caught your Ace or King and your opponent has nothing, you should call to see the flop. You should fold if your opponent reraises, but some people like to keep going, so I recommend playing it out, checking the next card, and betting your pair against the next. You’re folding if you think your hand is beaten, but you will be out of position on later streets, so you can’t really call a bet here. If you’re later in the alas, this could be a good time to go to war with your hand.
“Should I call the raise on the button?”
This is a tough spot to be in, but if you can call the raise in position, and see the flop, you’ll win some pots that you would have no business winning. If your pair isn’t good enough to win, you should fold, but this isn’t a hand you should fold in early position, because you want to see if your longshot has a chance to improve.
If you called the raise, the small blind folds, and the big blind checks. Of course, you can now see the flop. If you hit your longshot, you should bet, or raise, unless your opponent just called a raise. Often they will have a better hand, and will raise you, but this is a trap you need to avoid. If your opponent just called the blind, great, you’ve justiced out on your blind, unless he played all of the pot from the small blind.
If you’re in the situation of being raised by your opponent, without enough chips on the table to call a standard raise, what do you do? Call? If he’s a loose-aggressive player, sure, but he probably has a pair of T’s. Throw out a reasonable raise of 2.5x the big blind, so you can get him to fold his hand. If he raises you, you will have to act with 3x the big blind, and given the early stages of the game, even with AQ and AKs, I would to see a flop before I made this decision. That said, if he played a made hand, like 1010, I would be scary and would not want to get knocked out on the flop.
In some other situations, like being late in a pokerboya tournament when you have a large stack, you can be more inclined to protect your chips. In any hand they have AK or AQ, you’re a 57% favorite. Of more value, when you’re the one in a raised pot, you’re the 87% favorite. Of the two possibilities, you have the better hand. Betting into a raised pot, you’re only about a 50% favorite. If it’s folded to you, you’re the less favorite, but you still have a chance. Against a loose-aggressive player, you’ll win about the same size of pot.