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Not everyone plays for high stakes. I was recently told about a hand by a recreational little bookmaker that illustrates some of the mistakes that many players make on a regular basis. If you work hard to develop sound strategies that are essentially off the table, you won’t make these mistakes in the game, causing money to flow in your direction.
In the 5×10 No-Limit Cash Hold’em with $17 effective stacks, players tripped for 1st and 2nd place, plus hijack. Our hero decided to raise the level to 35 with 7 7.
If the hero is going to rise, he has to raise much more. By making it 35, he would be called out frequently by all of the exhibitors, causing him to see him flounder with what would normally be an understatement. He may also intermittently receive a bet/three bet by a bidder, forcing him to withdraw.
I much prefer the champ to limp backwards, allowing him to try to flop with a group for the absolute minimum. There is no point in raising, unless…
Another reasonable line is raising the pot to around 85, which usually steals the pot before the flop or results in only one player calling, allowing the champ to play the pot in the center with what will often be the best hand.
To my surprise a bit in these mini games, only the small blind and the floating second.
It’s worth noting that when you limp and someone lifts only a small amount, you should call and see the flop with most of your range. The only hands that can fold logically are unformatted and implied reverse hands like a 6 OK 7but they shouldn’t limp at first.
flop came o s y. Everyone bet on Hero, who bet 75¢ in the $1.35 pot.
As more players see the flop, you should tend to play it more straightforward because there is more likely to be someone attached to the board. Especially when the board contains two high cards, the hero must proceed with caution.
This is a prime example of a place where the champion must either bet or bet a small amount, perhaps another 35¢. By betting on 75, when the champion is called, you can be sure that against a better made hand or a strong draw will do well against sevens. I would check the betting structure on any bet.
Only the little curtain called, and it was 8. The opponent checked and the champion bet $1.50 in the $2.85 pot.
This bet makes absolutely no sense. An opponent can easily have a queen or a 10-9 queen who will never bend. It is also unlikely that the opponent would fold a jack or even an eight (which usually have a straight lot to go with) for this reasonably sized bet.
I don’t see a reason why Hero would turn his hand into a feint, although I suppose he could bet on a big river to try to get the opponent to fold all hands worse than he trips, but even that might be hopeful.
The opponent called, and the river was J. The discount bet at $4.50 in the $6.35 pot.
I generally don’t like the opponent’s advance because it makes it impossible for Hero to cheat, and if you think about the opponent’s range, there should be very few cheats except for K-10. The opponent is almost certain to check his entire range, giving the hero a chance to cheat.
The hero made an easy fold.
While this hand might look standard to some, in my eyes, the Champion set the fire for $2.25. In a 5×10 game, that’s 11.25 big blinds, which is a huge and totally unnecessary loss.
The hero should have instead limped behind him, failed to flop with a group, and ceded fate. Just because your hand is decently strong doesn’t mean you have to pile money into the pot on all betting rounds. Especially if your opponents tend to be call stations, the best game is usually to make a strong hand and then pile your cash when you’re most favored. ♠
Jonathan Little Works Twice WPT Champion with over $7 million in live tournament winnings, bestselling author of 15 poker tutorials, 2019 GPI Poker character of the year. If you want to increase your poker skills and learn how to crush games, check out his coaching site at PokerCoaching.com/cardplayer.