Start tak­ing ad­van­tage of scare cards

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - Broward - - POKER - By Chad Hol­loway

One of the eas­i­est ways to start win­ning more at poker is by tak­ing ad­van­tage of scare cards, which are cards that po­ten­tially im­prove a player’s hand. If it’s a scare card for you, it’s be­cause the card fails t o help you while l i kely ben­e­fit­ting your op­po­nent.

Of course, scare cards work both ways, by which I mean that some cards are likely to frighten your op­po­nent. Even if such cards don’t help you, you need to take ad­van­tage. Let’s take a look at an ex­am­ple.

I was re­cently play­ing a $1-$2 no-limit hold ’em cash game when ac­tion folded to me in the cut­off seat. I raised to $6 out of my $200 stack, hold­ing 6c 4c. The player on the but­ton, also sit­ting with $200, made the call, and both blinds Chad Hol­loway’s hand: Flop: folded.

The flop came down 3c 2d Qh, and I con­tin­ued for $10, about two-thirds of the pot. All I had at this point was a gut­shot straight draw with a back­door club flush draw. My op­po­nent called, and the dealer burned and turned the Ac. That was the scare card.

The ace was a scare card be­cause it was in my per­ceived range. By rais­ing pre­flop, I in­di­cated strength, and more of­ten than not, op­po­nents as­so­ciate strength with an ace. Af­ter all, I did raise pre­flop. If my op­po­nent didn’t be­lieve me on the flop, he was more likely to be­lieve me if I bet again on a scare card. Sim­i­larly, even if my op­po­nent had flopped top pair (queens), he would be hard-pressed to con­tinue if I ap­plied pres­sure on a scare card.

The same could be said if he were sit­ting with a smaller pocket pair. Imag­ine you’re the but­ton in this hand with any pair from fives to jacks, and your op­po­nent bets Turn: River: into you on a queen-high board and is now do­ing it again af­ter an ace peeled off. Pretty scary.

In this case, the scare card also gave me ad­di­tional eq­uity, mean­ing it im­proved my hand by giv­ing me a flush draw. That was an­other rea­son to fire an­other bar­rel at it.

I ended up bet­ting $25 with the hope of tak­ing down the pot then and there. Sur­pris­ingly, my op­po­nent called, and I had to reeval­u­ate. By call­ing two bets, my op­po­nent likely held ei­ther an ace or queen. Re­gard­less, he was sure to have me beat un­less I im­proved on the river.

For­tu­nately, the 5s peeled off to give me the nuts. I bet $100, and my op­po­nent called with the As Jd. The scare card had ac­tu­ally im­proved my op­po­nent, but if it hadn’t — say he held Ks Jd in­stead — it’s easy to see why my turn bet would have worked.

These are the types of spots you need to rec­og­nize and cap­i­tal­ize on if you want to im­prove your re­sults at the poker ta­ble. If you sim­ply sit around wait­ing for the nuts all the time, you’re go­ing to miss out on of dozens of mon­ey­mak­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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