Think hard about the size of your bets

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - POKER - By Jonathan Lit­tle

This hand from a $1/$3 no-limit cash game il­lus­trates the im­por­tance of care­fully con­sid­er­ing the size of your bets.

A player in first po­si­tion raised to $15, and our Hero called from sec­ond po­si­tion with 4h 3h.

Hero’s call was un­wise. You should only pay to see the flop with junky draw­ing hands when you can do it cheaply. Here, it cost Hero five big blinds, which is far from cheap. If Hero ac­tu­ally does im­prove to a pre­mium hand, and if he’s able to get a lot of money into the pot, he’ll of­ten be crushed by a bet­ter made hand, since his flushes or straights would be low ones.

The play­ers in the hi­jack and cut­off seats called, as did the but­ton and big blind. Six play­ers saw a flop of Ks 7h 2h, which gave Hero a weak flush draw. The big blind and ini­tial raiser checked to Hero, who bet $50 into a pot of Hero’s hand: Flop: $91.

I prob­a­bly would have made a larger bet of about $70. You should usu­ally bet with your top made hands and draws be­cause it makes you rel­a­tively dif­fi­cult to play against, since your op­po­nents can’t be sure whether you have a pre­mium made hand or an un­made draw. That said, with so many play­ers see­ing the flop, there was a chance Hero was up against a big­ger flush draw, so he needed to pro­ceed with cau­tion.

Only the big blind called Hero’s bet. The turn was the 6h, com­plet­ing Hero’s flush. The big blind checked, and Hero bet $75 into a pot of $191.

Again, I would have pre­ferred see­ing Hero make a slightly larger bet, per­haps $100. The coun­ter­ar­gu­ment is that $75 could be ideal if Hero thought he was up against a marginal made hand that would only call a small bet. One of the skills you must mas­ter to beat small-stakes cash games (as I dis­cuss in my new book, “Mas­ter­ing Small Stakes No- Limit Hold’em”) is to choose the op­ti­mal bet size to achieve the re­sult you want. Hero wants to get called by any marginal made hands while also pric­ing out draws such as Ah 5c. A bet of $100 will usu­ally get Turn: River: called by any king and some mid­dle pairs with flush draws, while also charg­ing the draws a bit more to see the river.

The big blind called. The river was the 10c. The big blind checked, and Hero bet $150 into a pot of $341.

As with the turn, Hero should choose a bet size that stands to be called by worse made hands. At this point, the only re­al­is­tic made hand that is worse than Hero’s and can call a river bet is top pair. Even then, it can’t call a large bet, so Hero should bet some­what small. I think $150 may have been too large.

The big blind folded, giv­ing Hero the pot.

The end re­sult was good for Hero, but he only won a mod­est sum. When you are for­tu­nate enough to make a pre­mium post­flop hand, you want the big­gest pos­si­ble pay­off. This time, Hero could only go for a small amount of value, be­cause if he bet any larger, he’d prob­a­bly be called only when he was beaten.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.