Why does poker require you to think through every decision?
Is there a feeling of doom when you are faced with a decision of whether to bet, raise or fold? If you are like me, you could be forgiven for thinking yes, a bit. I was once in a sit and go tournament when I misread an A-Q and thought I had the best possible hand. Flushed red, I realised there was a lot of money in the pot and I had flopped two pair. Not good, especially when you considered at that point that my opponent had about as many chips as I did.
So, two deep, I waited for my pocket Q’s to do some work. They didn’t, though not because of some evil scheme, but simply that no one bet, so there was no rush. In poker you have to dig deep if you want to get cash from the nuts.
All of a sudden I had a curious thought, did the poker nuts require me to battle 4-7 suited hands for 3 hours ( At one! ) to secure a $30k payday?
That is highly unlikely, but that’s what thoughts like these usually are – trying to justify a bad play, or justify a good mechanical play. In short, justifies any kind of bad play, against any kind of opponent, at any level of poker.
Once you have engaged in this thought then it’s easy to form the opposite conclusion for example:
So really, was my call justified by the Dewapoker nuts?
The poker nuts require aggression, so I should have been betting aggressively preflop with my small suited cards. That’s what semi-bluffing is all about – to try and make a hand, by inducing other players to implied more money into the pot than you really have.
However, my opponents were acting exactly the opposite, meaning that I may have actually misread them.Given that I had no information at all, aggressive bets could have been a mistake. I could have raised the pot and still gotten called bets on the flop and turn – amare scenario.
However that is all in the past, because I hit the poker nuts very soon after that hand.
So what was my headline here? Predictable Preflop Play helped me to make a straightforward decision out of curiosity. I either called or did not call on the flop. Either way, the turns were looking pretty slow for an old timer like KQo ( somewhere to which I did not have an overpair ) so I called.
The turn was 2h. There was still no sign of the scare card and my opponents bets to me a bit strongly. All the weight was on 2h not being an ace and I had to push hard to save the hand for the tournament. It was a good decision to go to pot heads up with 2h and unless the cards changed I had plenty of outs to win.
The river was a 5h and I was finally able to decipher my loose opponents move. They were either preflop Victorians or dry mouth express.
I could have raised on the flop instead of checking and called an all in on the turn. It was a good value decision with an acceptable risk. A bit of slow play usually works well.
If you want to save chips and wind up in the money, preflop aggression is a great strategy. Just make sure that you know the moves and the opponents well enough to brand them before you choice.