If you want to sharpen your poker skills and learn to crush games, visit Jonathan Little’s elite training site at PokerCoaching.com/CardPlayer.
I was recently told about a hand in a $500 poker tournament that shows some mistakes some players make on a regular basis.
With the blinds at 300-600, an amateur player with a 33,000 stack entered first place at a nine-player table with an A 10.
While an A-10 hand may seem adequate because it contains two large cards, it is usually best to fold from the early position, because if you encounter any amount of aggressiveness, you are easily dominated.
If you decide to play it, you must raise in order to have a chance to steal the blinds before the flop, and also have the ability to better control the action after the flop.
And he raised the player in second place, who seemed to be playing well, to 2200. Only amateurs invited.
At this point, folding might be the best game. If you think about the hands a second-down player has to raise from a weak first-down position, the vast majority of the pitcher’s range is dominated by the amateur’s A-10. Playing with dominant hands from off center in a high bowl requires trouble.
A permutation came 10 8, giving the higher pair to amateurs. That’s lucky! The Amateur 2500 led in the pot of 5300.
On boards that favor the preloader, you don’t have to have a leading range because on average you’ll be decently behind. This flop should be better for pre-combination because the bowler should have all the best aces and big pairs in his range while the amateur should only have 8-8 and A-10 (assuming the amateur will limp/call these hands).
The player in second place called 2,500 bets. The role was for Jand the amateurs bet 5,500 in the pot of 10,300.
If you decide to top the flop, continuing to bet on the spin is fine. It’s kind of hard to be called out by KK and QQ, but AK and AQ will never fold.
When trying to extract value, it is important to know which hands can realistically connect. If your opponent’s marginal hands (such as KK and QQ) will fall back to any bonus bet on the spin or river, you should ignore them and focus instead on getting the maximum value from the next best hands (top pairs), which you will likely call your bet greater than 5500.
With that in mind, I would have bet 8000, which would have left the amateur with a nice remaining stack of 21300 with the stake being 26300. Especially when you’re a base value bet, when you can bet more money on the spin so you have a little less remaining stack size From the bet size heading into the river, you should. By betting a little more on the spin, you stand a much better chance of getting an extra bet on the river.
Given that the opponent’s range is almost completely marginal and is worse than the amateur’s hands, the amateur must bet because if he checks, his opponent will check behind most of the time. When determining the amount of bet, you must choose the amount that can be called by most of your opponent’s hand range.
So, how many AKs and AQs will he invoke? Some players will only ask for a small bet, fearing they will be defeated, while other players will call any bet because they are unable to fold a top pair with a super kicker. While it’s almost impossible for an amateur to cheat in this situation, I think it makes more sense to go all in against a generic player in a $500 buy-in tournament.
Luckily for the amateur, his opponent made contact with him and then ripped him, giving the amateur a full double.
While the amateur got a double this time, more often than not, his opponent will have a hand that simply folds into the flop lead, resulting in the amateur winning almost nothing. Just because the play works this time around doesn’t mean it’s the right play on average. ♠
Jonathan Little runs twice WPT Champion with Over $7 Million in Live Tournament Profits, Author of 15 Best Selling Poker Tutorial Books, 2019 GPI Poker Person of the Year. If you want to sharpen your poker skills and learn how to crush games, check out his training site at PokerCoaching.com/cardplayer.