So you’re playing a no limit poker game and you have made it to the final table of a tournament. After playing a few rounds you’re pretty comfortable with the way your playing and with your position at the table. Being on the button you get the best position at the table, being first you can see if anyone’s raises before you. Having pocket pairs you can play for cheap. You’re feeling comfortable and you raise with your whatever cards you have, you’re confident you have a good hand. So far you have played this hand the same way every time. Odds are something like 25% you should win this hand. So if you have more money than your opponent you should stay in the hand. slot138 daftar If they have the same amount you should call around 5x the big blind. So odds say you should call around $300 for this hand.
Then the flop comes, 4-7-10. Your opponent bets around $600 or $800, you decide to call around $400. The pot is $1050 so you’re basically getting 2 to 1 on your money. Now the turn comes, a 7. You’re pretty sure you have the best hand so you make a half-pot bet of $300. Your opponent calls. What now? You have no idea what to do, so you fire a third bullet, this time at $600. This gives you the image of a strong player, which hopefully means if you hit the river, he’ll think you have nothing because in two hands you have showed that you have a strong hand. Now you’re thinking, how to win a pot of $600 with a hand like Ace/Jack. That’s the critical question. I have an answer to that question, but it doesn’t feel quite right. I still think there’s a chance, maybe the best chance, that he could have absolutely nothing and call you. Even if he thinks he has the best hand, what if he’s wrong? The thing is, your opponent may have absolutely nothing and be bluffing to get you to fold, and when you learn to read your opponent’s hand you’ll be able to use that against him.
I think the harder part of this lesson is understanding pot odds. Pot odds are usually the reason why you stay in a hand, the reason you bet, the reason you call a bet. But you need to know what pot odds are in order to make that call in the first place.
A lot of beginning hold em players think that they should be getting more money in the pot with a good hand such as Ace/Jack, or Ace/Queen and they’d be right, but they start getting into trouble because most of the time players have almost no idea of what they need to call to have the best hand pre-flop. They call and the pot is left as $300 for two people with almost no idea what they could do to narrow the pot, and $600 for two people who know what they need to call. Difficult as it may be to understand this concept, the fact remains that most beginning players to some extent call as pot odds dictate. You can’t become a winning Texas hold em player without learning pot odds in the early days.
This is because most of the time a player will do better putting in a small raise than a large raise. Raising too much will clear out the pot, but too little will not give a player a great hand post-flop to feel comfortable betting, and will not cause the flop to be a scare card. The size of a bet you call must be proportionate to the size of the pot, or the size of the bet your opponent is willing to call with.
The fact that most players don’t quite grasping this concept bums me up. It’s difficult to get into great grasps about another player’s hand without some kind of hand, because so much of poker relies on what hand another player will call or raise with. But with one exception, all the hands, no matter how powerful or weak, are completely dependent on the pot odds. That exception is what I want to discuss in this article, because although it is a difficult concept to grasp, that exception exists and, for the willing student, it is something that can be exploited.
Remember, for example, that when you call the flop and have a strong hand, there is no need to produce a pot sized bet to determine the strength of your hand. This works the same with hands that are not the strongest, but don’t need a large number of chips to win. Let’s say you have some kind of strong hand like Ace/Jack Deuce. And guess what? NOBODY raises you! You just call somebody’s bet, no big deal. But what if somebody re-raises you? Notice this pattern.