You Have To Lose To Win
Risk vs. Reward
You gotta lose to win. You have to risk chips, in the right situations, to win chips. Sometimes you will lose more chips than if you would have just folded when you didn’t hit the flop and someone bets before you. What are these plays then?
I guess my best answer is it depends on what you personally like to play aggressively. I don’t know that answer, I’m just a rook myself, but I want to learn how to play better.
Let’s say you’re a fan of Ah 10c (as I am in certain situations). 10 handed game online at Partypoker and you are 2 from the button. Not great position, but pretty good. UTG folds, 2nd folds, 3rd calls and 4th raises to you…. What do you do here? Lot’s of people would fold it and save in essence 1 big bet, or call 1 big bet to see how the old flop falls. If you’re comfortable folding here, go ahead and fold no problem. But if you would just like to call it, Instead, try risking 2 big bets for some “pot ownership” type displays. Raise it, make it 3-bets to go. Now if you are in a loose table, you could likely have 2 more callers behind you… or just as likely they could all fold. I would count on the Big Blind calling w/ a drawing hand, so watchout for him if he just calls to the river and there is a possible draw completed.
Anyway, right there you raise it and you find out where you stand. If you get a re-raise, someone probably has high pockets or A/Ks. Your raise puts you at a potential advantageous position after the flop. In more flops than not, you miss, right? So do I. Sometimes I hit great though. Regardless, you’ve just put yourself in the position to win the pot after the flop. Let’s say that the big blind calls along with 1st and 4th seats.
Flop: 4s 8s Qd
Ok, so that pretty much sucked. You’ve a 2 outer for a straight, it’s rainbow, board.
First position checks.
Seat 4 bets out into you.
Now I’d ask myself 2 questions. First, Is this guy for real or is he trying to take it from me? That depends on how he has been playing. I recommend taking notes (partypoker features a ‘notes’ section available, USE IT). Poker is a game about feel… if this guy is a “Mouse” More or less if this guy never bets unless he has hit top pair, I’d probably fold right there… or the more likely story would that this guy is with 2nd pair or a draw.
So, what do you do here? Again, it’s feel, maybe raise it up. If the Bigblind didn’t hit something he will fold and my guess is first position will have the check/fold button already pressed. When it gets back around to 4th position, he could likely fold it right there giving you the pot as well. Not too bad, you just took down a nice little pot, and a little pot is always nice.
So you go ahead and raise, saying “No sir, you’re 9’s and your drawing hand are weak. My A/Q is much more powerful”.
The big blind folds his spade draw.
So now it’s up to 4th position to act. If he was totally bluffing he folds, if he was on a decent draw he folds or calls, if he has a strong hand he raises. If he raises you there, he’s probably got ladies with a high kicker. He’s re-raised you twice, I would in most situations fold unless I got a read on the player, then I try to go with it. Remember, this is about learning, if you don’t lose some chips you won’t win some.
Let’s assume for further discussion’s sake, that he calls your bet to see the turn
Current board: 4s 8s Qd 5h
Ok, if he was on a draw that card didn’t help. In a lot of the online passive (lower limit games, where rooks like me dwell) you will get a check here. Why? Because you’ve represented that you’ve got this hand, you’ve raised twice. He didn’t hit his draw he checks. He might even have a pair of 8’s and is leary of you having a Q, you’ve certainly represented that you have a strong hand. He might even a have a pair of jacks or lower in the pocket. If he checks to you, a bet is certainly in order. You are giving yourself the opportunity to win the pot right there. What if you checked it and an 8 comes on the river? What if you check it and an K comes up, did he just hit his K/8? Risk some chips to win some chips I think. Bet it and see. Again, you have the opportunity to win the entire pot for 1 bet right here. Lot’s of people will call in the lower limit games on the river because of ‘pot odds’. Try and win it there.
Well, this dude just won’t go away. No respect for you whatsoever. Quite likely on the old flush draw. He calls your bet again, deciding see the river.
Ok, so now it’s river time. You are still in the advantage here at this point. Regardless of how the river turns out, you get the last move.
Final board 4s 8s Qd 5h 5d
So, you’ve got a pair of 5’s with an A kicker. My guess is I’m up against a stronger pair, but he doesn’t know it. He’s got 8’s with a K or maybe a J. He checks to you and now its up to you. For one more bet you have a chance to win this pot right here, and it’s a pretty sizeable pot. On the other hand, will this guy really fold with the pot this size? You’ve played the hand aggressive so far, you’ve gotta bet it again at the river. Again, give yourself the chance to win it. A check leaves it up to the cards and I would have to think that I’m probably beat. So bet it again. Again, putting yourself in position to win. My guess is unless he has just been smooth calling you all along he will either call or fold. More times than not he will call. Yeah, but you only need to win a few of those pots to make it worth your wile to try it on occasion. Lose some, win some. My experience has shown me that by making aggressive plays similar to this is that I win the pots before we reach river. If I’m aggressive pre-flop and right after flop then when I make my bet/raise on the turn that I’ll win lots of pots right there.
Well, that’s all from this rook. Just play your game to learn what works for you, if this is the most idiotic advice you’ve read, well… at least you’re reading.