Falling in love
'Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldna fallen in love with …?'
Or some thing? Like the smaller straight, middle set or the King high flush?
Pot limit Omaha is a game where even the nuts is not always enough. A good player knows they must sometimes release the top straight on the flop if they may be up against the same hand with 'outs' to a bigger straight, a flush or a house. Yet some people will cheerfully shovel their chips in on a 7 8 9 flop with nothing more than a pair of Aces and a back door flush. Why? It's a question of sentiment. Rose tinted spectacles, groundless optimism, nostalgia for the good old days before the flop when your hand was invincible and people had respect. The absurd notion that your hand deserves to win. Perhaps even a reluctance to let go of something attractive without it ever having been seen.
Sometimes a love affair must end even before the flop comes. You reraise with suited Kings and they come back over the top. You know they have Aces but your hand is so pretty. You even have an Ace to block your opponent. No! That Ace is blocking you! You'd rather hold any four rag cards so you had a good chance of making two pair. Any hand with a pair in is a big underdog to Aces, if you hold an Ace yourself, it's even worse.
But let's say you started with the best of it and made it to the flop. How much of your stack have you committed? How many opponents do you have? What have you learned from the betting about your opponent's hands? If you've managed to get in a reraise or a re-reraise and got in more than half your money against one player then the flop is almost irrelevant. Shove it in and hope you haven't been outdrawn. But if most of the money is still in play, if you have more than one opponent and, crucially, if you have shopped your hand and they want to bet… take a deep breath, count to ten and reassess the value of your hand. Are you up against a hand that you can be beating? What are they putting you on? If you think they have a draw are you still an underdog with your made hand? Is it worth the risk?
Now, suppose you start out on the flop believing you have the best of it. You come out betting and get raised (or perhaps called). Stop, think, reassess. Have you missed something? Do you still put them on the hand you thought they had? Go back over the betting and try again to put them on a hand.
And what if you had the nuts on the flop and the turn brings a scare card? Someone bets. Of course they may be bluffing, betting the change. How likely is this? How much will it cost you to find out?
Poker players often talk about 'taking a view'. That's fine, but sometimes a lot of things can happen in one hand and you get the chance to stop and take another view. Ignore that chance and you may find yourself rolling your eyes skywards and asking yourself that eternal question.
'Why do fools fall in love?'
Next month we have another guest tip for you. This time Vicky Coren, popular and well known journalist and poker player shares her thoughts on female poker players…. join us then……….
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