Jumat, 28 September 2012

Advanced Betting Techniques in Texas Hold'Em Poker - Part 3 of 3

Winning poker comes down to being able to squeeze a profit out of marginal situations. The object is not to win every hand played, but to win every hand you play. The best way to do this is to out bet your opponents. Every bet made should have a purpose. Either it is made to induce a weaker hand to fold, or it is made to maximize the winnings on the hand.

Since there are many opportunities to outplay your opponents, you have to know which opponents you can outplay. It is difficult to finesse weak players. The slow play often backfires because one of the loose limpers will hit a hand. The bluff does not work, since these players call with any two cards. The following sections demonstrate many of the advanced aspects of the game and how best to play them.

Selective Aggression

Showing selective aggression by taking the lead in betting can win many pots. This is true from early position or after other players check to you in middle or late position. A strong raise under the gun from a tight player usually represents a strong hand, as does a re-raise from late position. One can use these bets to increase the pot size with a strong hand or to take down the pot with a semi-bluff when holding a big drawing hand.

Fallacy of Pot Commitment

Many poker advocates espouse that at a certain point in a betting round the amount of chips you have already put in the pot requires that all of your remaining chips should follow. Sometimes, even if the pot or implied odds warrant an All In bet, it is not the right move. If you put your opponent on a hand that you feel you cannot beat, fold- no matter how many chips you have invested-so you may live on to fight another day (or at least another hand).

Learning to Let Go

Never become so married to a hand that you cannot lay it down. You have to pay attention to the community cards as they fall. You have to watch the betting patterns of the players and see how they correspond to previous hands. Most players use a slow play at one time or another. Due to this, a premium starting hand can fall to a better one. They also fall to limpers or big blinds that hit miracle flops or mediocre hands that improve tremendously on the flop.

The majority of the money you lose does not come from folding pre-flop hands that hit big. Instead, it comes from keeping the second-best hand and paying off the best hand at the river. Getting married to a hand that was initially strong is a critical error when playing Hold'em. There is an old adage in 7-Card Stud that says you should fold as soon as your hand is not the best on the table. In Hold'em, unlike 7-Stud, you cannot see what cards the other players have, so it is not possible to fold as soon as you are beat. You can try to avoid having the second-best hand by folding hands that may lose pre-flop. If someone in early position puts in a strong raise, fold that Qs-Jh or low pair. You can reasonably assume the raiser is holding Ace-King, Ace-Queen, King-Ten or now has a high pair.

You should throw your hand away the minute you know you cannot win. To continue to call or raise because your hand was very strong early is highly unprofitable. Constantly watch the board and modify your decision to hold or fold as each new card appears and as each player reacts to the board with their actions or inactions. If you cannot learn to let go-even those pocket Aces-you can lose a large number of chips over the course of a gaming session or during a tournament.

When you are not sure where you stand with your hand, it is alright to fold. Even if your opponent is known as a blind stealer or often bluffs, keeping a weak hand is never the right move. Continuing on when you are not sure you have the best hand is often costly, in both chips and emotions. Of course, if you are planning to bluff, keep the hand and attack if you sense weakness.

Putting on the Brakes

One thing that is important to winning poker is recognizing when to put on the brakes. No-limit poker is all about aggression, but not knowing when to exercise caution is costly. The betting strategies above are when, at each street, you feel you have the dominant hand. Trying to gauge the strength of another player's hand with a check or a call is the correct play when you are no longer confident of having top hand. The check is also an inexpensive move when changing gears or altering your table image.

Do Not Get Greedy

If you have strong hand, keep watching the board for flush and straight draws and, if noted, put on the brakes. A pocket pair of Eights or Kc-Qc loses value with Ks-8s-Qh-10c-6s on the board. Flopping a set or two pair is hard to lay down, so just limiting your desire to raise and re-raise or go All In can save many chips if your opponent hits.

Being a Table Bully

There is a difference between getting greedy and over-betting your hand and purposely controlling the action when you have a larger stack. This is most common in tournament play, where players develop large-stacks of chips, but is also prevalent in no-limit ring games. Any time your stack is larger than the other players at the table, you can become a table bully. The purpose is to use your chip stack to force other players out of a hand with the threat of their losing it all. This is an effective way to steal blinds and force medium to good hands to fold without challenging your hand.

Daniel L. Cox is the editor of Poker Insider Magazine, an e-zine dedicated to poker. He is also the award-winning author of "Winning Blue-Collar Hold'em: How to Play Low-limit Ring Games and Small Buy-in Tournaments" and three upcoming books on poker. He can be found on Twitter at PokerInsiderMag, where he gives you a daily poker quote or pokerism.

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