Errors abound in a micro-stakes game
Mistakes are mistakes at the poker table, and you’ll be punished for errors even in micro- stakes games.
In a $.10/$. 20 no-limit hold ’ em cash game with $35 effective stacks, the players in first and second position limped in, as did the player in the hijack seat. Our Hero raised to $.70 with 7c 7s.
If Hero was going to raise, he should have raised larger. By making it $.70, he’ll frequently be called by all the limpers, resulting in him seeing a flop with what will usually be a marginal underpair. He might also get three-bet by one of the limpers, forcing him to fold.
I would have preferred to see Hero limp behind, allowing him to try to flop a set. There was really no point in raising. Another reasonable line of play would have been raising to about $1.70, which would usually either steal the pot before the flop or result in only one player calling, allowing Hero to play a pot in position.
Surprisingly, only the small blind and the second limper called.
It’s worth noting that when you limp and someone raises to only a small amount more, you should call and see the flop with most of your range. The only hands that would make sense to fold are uncoordinated hands such as Ah 6c or Ks 7d, but those hands should not be limped in the first place.
The flop came Qh Qs Jc. Everyone checked to Hero, who bet $1.50 into a pot of $2.60.
When more than two players see a flop, you should tend to play in a more straightforward manner because it’s likely that someone connected with the board. With this particular flop containing some high cards, Hero needed to proceed with caution. This was a spot where Hero should have either checked or bet small, perhaps $.70. If Hero gets called after making a bet of $1.50, he’s surely up against either a better made hand or a strong draw that will often fare well against 7-7. I would have checked behind with the intention of folding to any turn bet.
Only the small blind called. The turn was the 8d. The opponent checked, and Hero bet $3.00 into a pot of $5.60.
This bet made no sense. The opponent easily could have been holding 10- 9 or a Q, in which case he certainly wouldn’t fold. The opponent also would have been unlikely to fold a J or 8 to this modest turn bet. There was no reason for Hero to turn his hand into a bluff, although I suppose he could have made a sizable river bet to try to make the opponent fold any hand worse than trips, but that would have been optimistic.
The opponent called. The river was the Jh. The opponent bet $9 into a pot of $11.60.
I disliked the opponent’s lead because it made it impossible for Hero to bluff. The opponent should have checked his entire range, giving Hero the change to bluff. Instead, Hero made an easy fold.
While this hand may seem like a standard micro- stakes hand to some people, in my eyes, Hero lit $ 4.50 (the amount of his last two bets) on fire. In a $.10/$. 20 game, that is 22.5 big blinds, which is a hefty, completely unnecessary loss.
Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and coach with more than $6 million in live tournament earnings