I was talking with a friend yesterday – one that doesn’t play poker – and I asked him how he does it. His opinion was, you have to go against the odds to win in Dewabet. My friend – who was straight across playing – had no idea how to go about beating the odds in a poker game. And, I quote him back – you have to be precise when you play against the odds.
“It’s easy,” my friend said. “When I have aces, kings, queens, jacks and tens I bet and I go all-in.”
When my friend has pocket twos he says, “Give me a queen and I’ll win half the pot.” Same when he has tens. When he has aces, he says, “Hey, you saw my two aces, you can’t lose.”
As easy as it is to see why this makes money, the reality is that these moves are completely wrong. Say the odds are nine to nine, you are beaten by a better straight; six to six. You can’t do anything on the turn or the river the same as you did on the flop or the turn. Because of the odds, in a limit game, you should fold. With no limit, though, you can move all-in or call any amount – until you have beat the odds, not the other players.
But I heard a lot of beginners saying, “You have to play pocket sixes hard.” If you don’t, you are being paid twice what you wagered – once when you make a pre-flop raise and once when you get a call. (One example of a hand that starts with two suited cards and goes for a flush.)
Beginnersdude: Yes, I want your money. Give it to me – today!
Being suited is a big disadvantage for your opponents. While suited cards increase the chances of you getting a better hand, your opponents are more likely to have a better hand.
For example: Suppose the cutoff raises to $800. You fold. The next player, you know, has $3,500. This player is a good player. You know he won’t make a deposit, because he will have a good hand. Yet, in this scenario, if you had called the $1,500 bet when you had suited cards, you would’ve lost only $1,000 instead of $3,500. That’s money in your pocket you never earned.
Another example: Suppose the cutoff raises to $1,000. You call. The next player, you know, has $4,000. This player is a good player. You know he won’t make a deposit, because he will have a good hand. Yet, in this scenario, if you had folded, you would’ve lost $4,000 instead of $1,000. That’s money in your pocket you never earned.
You can also steal the blinds. The lights go out in a tournament. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if you have suited cards when the cutoff raises to $800. You don’t fold. If you call the $800 bet, and the next hand you face an all-in bet from the cut off, you will have no choice but to call.
You can do this in position or you can do this any time. If you are in position and no one has raised the pot for you, raise the blinds. If you are in position and no one has raised the blinds, raise the blinds.
You can steal the blinds for smallish amounts, say $50-$100, before the flop. Since you are a relatively tight player, having something like $800 in the chip stack is worth having a 350 chip stack, until you hit a monster hand. (This doesn’t work if you have a raise after the button, since then you would have to call a large raise, which you will rarely do.)
There is more to this strategy, which I describe in my book. But for the purposes of this tutorial, lets say you win a hand or lose a hand. For each hand you want to be in the hand, you either play a better hand or fold. If you fold, you don’t lose anything. If you played the hand like an amateur, you would lose about $200.
The other strategy is to call the raise, and then if you hit a monster hand, raise the blinds. If you lost, you would still win $200. This is what would happen in the real world, except that the professional gamblers sometime call the shots and manipulate the odds.