Human beings are creatures of habit, and we have evolved to look for habits in other people as well as patterns in our environment and day-to-day lives. Because of this simple fact, we naturally look for patterns and repeating themes in poker. Unfortunately for the aspiring poker player, some of these themes are really tough to nail down because of their elusive nature. Since No-Limit Hold’em is the most played variation of poker these days, we will be examining some hard-to-fine thematic mistakes using plays from this particular poker variation. In this hand, we will be looking at how easy it can be to over-play a decent hand.
Our first hand takes place at a full table with stacks of about 100 big blinds. It folds to a loose player in middle position who calls the big blind. A rather tight, straight-forward player raises to a total of three times the big blind in the cutoff seat. On the button, we look down at the Ace of diamonds and the Queen of hearts and decide to just call the raise. After our call, both the small blind and the big blind decide to call, as does the original limper.
The flop comes the Ten of diamonds, the King of clubs, and the Jack of diamonds, giving us the nut straight (the best possible straight on the board). The pot is 15 big blinds. The small blind checks, the big blind bets 11 big blinds, and everyone folds to us. We put in a nice-sized raise to 30 big blinds, and the small blind folds. To our surprise, the big blind raises all-in for the rest of his stack, and we make the call. The big blind turns of the Queen of diamonds and the Eight of diamonds. When the money goes in on the flop, we will win about 59% of the time and tie about 11% of the time, giving us a huge advantage with a total of about 64% equity in the pot.
So let’s think about what happened here and how the big blind got himself in such a bad spot. Preflop, we just called a raise with Ace-Queen offsuit instead of reraising, which could have made it difficult for our opponent to think that we had such a strong hand. Note that we would also have likely reraised with hands like King-King, Jack-Jack, and maybe even Ten-Ten. So again, it’s very difficult for the big blind to think that we could possibly have better than two pair. Note also that here we use two pair as the benchmark since Queen-Eight of diamonds is a virtual coinflip against Jack-Ten on this flop with just 51% equity in the pot.
It is better to avoid Preflops as they are more of a hindrance and concentrate more on the king and queen, where jack is more of a hanger-on to both of them. Pkv games follow a strategic method so that players are kept engaged right upto the finish.
Whenever we put in the raise on the flop, the big blind should have stopped to think about what sorts of hands we could have. If he had done this, he would have seen that a call on the flop was clearly better since the only hands we will stack off with on this flop are way ahead of him. The lack of this type of re-evaluation of our opponents’ possible holdings is a very popular error these days with hundreds of thousands of people playing No-Limit Hold’em. By examining your own play and the play of your opponents, you can learn to better fool other players and disguise your holdings.