Some­times it’s best to see what un­folds

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - South Broward - - POKER - By Ed Miller

Some hands don’t go the way you ex­pect them to. Some­times a cer­tain card hits the ta­ble and throws ev­ery­thing into flux. Some­times your op­po­nents switch things up on you, bet­ting when you ex­pect them to check, or vice versa.

Of­ten, the best thing to do when some­thing un­ex­pected hap­pens is to wait and see, if that’s pos­si­ble. You usu­ally don’t have to make the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion in a hand the mo­ment af­ter you get thrown a curve­ball. Most of the time, you can play a bit of a wait­ing game and al­low the sit­u­a­tion to de­velop.

Here’s a hand I played in a $2-$5 game with $1,000 stacks in Las Ve­gas.

Ed Miller’s hand

Two play­ers limped. I raised to $25 on the but­ton with Kc 10c. The big blind called, as did both limpers.

The flop came Kh 6h 5s, giv­ing me a pair of kings. Ev­ery­one checked to me, and I bet $50. The big blind and one of the limpers called. There was now $252 in the pot.

The turn was the 8c. The big blind checked, but then the re­main­ing limper bet out for $100.

Flop

This was an un­ex­pected play. Most of the time in this sit­u­a­tion, both play­ers would check again to me on the turn. My op­po­nent was bet­ting for a rea­son.

Un­for­tu­nately, it wasn’t im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous what the rea­son could be. My op­po­nent could have had a strong hand like 8-6, 6-5, 6-6 or even 9-7. If he held one of those hands, he was prob­a­bly bet­ting to pre­vent me from check­ing back and

Turn tak­ing a free card.

My op­po­nent also could have been pos­tur­ing with a weak hand with a draw. Hands such as 8-7, 9-8, 7-7 and Qh 8h would fit this de­scrip­tion. He’d be bet­ting with the hope that the big blind and I would fold — and if one of us called him, he could still po­ten­tially draw out on the river.

It was also pos­si­ble that my op­po­nent had a slightly bet­ter hand than mine, such

River as K-Q or K-J. Per­haps he was wor­ried that he was up against a hand such as A-K or A-A, or that one of us had a draw and would have a chance to beat him if he gave us a free card.

The mean­ing of his bet was un­clear. For­tu­nately, there was plenty of money left to bet, and the sit­u­a­tion was likely to re­veal it­self on the river. I didn’t have to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion; I could just call and wait to see what de­vel­oped.

I called. The big blind folded.

The river was the 3d. My op­po­nent bet $100 again. This was a small bet for the sit­u­a­tion, which in­di­cated that my op­po­nent likely had one of the weaker pos­si­ble hands.

I raised to $400, try­ing to get him to fold a hand such as K-Q or K-J, and he folded pretty quickly. I was glad to have waited around to see what hap­pened on the river. Ed Miller is the au­thor of nine poker strat­egy books with more than 250,000 copies sold. Check out his lat­est book, “The Course: Se­ri­ous Hold ’Em Strat­egy for Smart Play­ers,” at Ama­zon or at his web­site, ed­miller­poker.com.

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