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Rolf Slotboom

Rolf Slotboom

Hold’em on the Come Excerpt 2

By Rolf Slotboom (18/08/2006)

Hold’em on the Come: Limit Hold’em Strategy for Drawing HandsThis week we’re going to be running some excerpts from professional Dutch player and author Rolf Slotboom’s recently released book. Rolf is an expert limit hold’em and Omaha player. He will be tackling pot-limit Omaha in his soon to be released book ‘Secrets of Professional Pot-Limit Omaha – how to win big – both live and online’. We’ll be bringing you excerpts of that when it’s released, but for now we’re starting with his excellent guide to playing draws in limit hold’em ‘Hold’em on the Come: Limit Hold’em Strategy for Drawing Hands’.

We have 5 signed copies of the book to give away, all you have to do is try to predict how many goals will be scored on the opening day of the Premiership football season, which kicks off this Saturday. For more information, click here.


Excerpt 2: Concept 8: If Bet Odds Are Positive, Get As Much Money In The Pot As You Can

There are lots of different reasons to bet or raise on the flop. Some say, in fact, that anytime you are considering calling, you should think twice about raising instead. Controlled aggression finds its reward. Here are a few well-known reasons for raising:

  1. You might raise to gain information. Raising on the flop to learn now whether you are beat is a far sight better than meekly calling two double-size bets on the turn and river, and then finding out you are beat.
  2. If you don’t bet, your opponents can’t fold. Betting thins the field when you have a good hand, and gives your opponents a chance to make the mistake of folding when you have a worse hand.
  3. There is something to be said for putting extra bets into the pot when you have a good drawing hand, merely because it marries your opponents to the pot when you do hit your hand. If the pot is already big, they’ll keep putting more in there. This is usually something you think about pre-flop, however, with a hand like QJ against multi-way action.
  4. A good drawing hand is often likely to have a better chance of winning a multi-way pot that anyone else out there.

    You may bet or raise for value. Just because you’re on a draw doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bet for value. A good drawing hand is often likely to have a better chance of winning a multi-way pot than anyone else out there. You put more money in the pot because the odds of winning justify it.

Let’s talk a little about #4 above. There is often so much discussion about pot odds, implied pot odds, reverse pot odds, and so on, that authors neglect the most simple odds of all: pure bet odds.

In other words, given the situation, do you want to put more money into the pot or not? If you had your druthers, would you rather nobody bet, or would you rather everyone just chipped in a few dozen bets?

Let me give you an example. You hold AK and the flop comes J86. With three other opponents, your hand is probably worth about twelve outs (nine flush outs, three overcard outs).

           
Against two or more opponents, you should raise for value

Ignoring, completely, how much money is in the pot, or how much money you can earn on future rounds if you make a good hand... the question becomes, would you bet money now against your opponents that you will win the hand? Like a side bet?

You bet’cha! A twelve-out hand on the flop is going to win the pot about 45% of the time! It hardly matters what those guys hold, if you can get more money in the pot, you want it in there! You would need only a 25% chance of winning to make it an even bet against three opponents.

Therefore, forget about what’s in the pot. Forget pot odds and implied odds and all that jazz. None of that is relevant at the moment. You want to bet money now, as much as you possibly can. You’ll keep raising as much as you can with this hand, unless it looks like you’re going to chase away some people who would otherwise pay you off. Of course, it’s your instincts that will tell you when to call and when to raise, because you want to pull in the other players in case you hit your flush…but some experts would tell you not to worry at all about chasing players from the pot because it creates even more outs for the ace and king (you might get an A8 or A6 to fold, I guess, or another A-K) but the bottom line is, you want as much money in this pot as you can possibly get there, and you want it there now.

With this in mind, it’s possible to devise a chart that will tell you, based upon your number of outs, exactly when you have proper bet odds to bet or raise. The chart below tells you how many calling opponents you need on the flop and on the turn to have favorable bet odds. In other words, when it’s appropriate to make a “value bet”.

Number Of
Modified Outs
Opponents
On The Flop
Opponents
On The Turn
4
6
11
5
4
9
6
4
7
7
3
6
8
3
5
9
3
5
10
2
4
11
2
4
12
2
3
13
2
3
14
1
3
15
1
3
16
1
2

To use the chart, first calculate your modified outs. Then look at the On The Flop and On The Turn columns to see how many calling opponents you need for the correct bet odds. If the number of calling opponents equals or exceeds this number, you want to get as much money into the pot as you can.

Clearly, you need a lot of outs, or a lot of opponents, to make a value bet on the turn with a drawing hand. On the other hand, on the flop, lots of typical drawing hands should be bet for value! Looking at the above chart, we find:

  • Any flush draw can be bet for value if you have three or more callers.
  • A decent open-ended straight draw (seven or more outs) can be bet for value if you have three or more callers.
  • A flush draw or good straight draw, with overcards, can be bet for value if you have only two or more callers.
  • Amazingly, an inside straight draw (four outs) can be bet for value if there are six other callers!

If you were to play like a robot... that is, strictly by the numbers... then you would call with your drawing hands anytime the implied pot odds indicate that the hand is worth playing (we’ll discuss this in the next chapter), and you would raise anytime the bet odds in this chart indicate that you are a favorite to win more often than your share.

I don’t want you to play like a robot. But I want you to know when you’re chasing because of pot odds, and when you’re actually favored to win the hand. You want as much money in the pot as you can get, when the odds are in your favor.


This is an excerpt from the brand new Rolf Slotboom / Dew Mason book “Hold’em On The Come – Limit Hold’em Strategy For Drawing Hands”. This book can be ordered through the Hendon Mob Book Store. More information is available on Rolf’s site www.rolfslotboom.com and also on the publisher’s site www.dandbpoker.com.

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