Sunday, 23 February 2014

What The Poker Books Don’t Tell You

Last week I was playing a deep stack no limit hold ’em freeroll. Freerolls are the only hold ’em tournaments I play now; technically this is not gambling because the legal definition of a wager requires that both or all parties concerned must be able to lose as well as win. If you are given a free entry to a tournament or anything, you can either win or not win, but cannot lose. With that qualification in mind, I played this tournament, and had bad cards for the most part. Then I was dealt pocket kings: clubs and spades. Normally with kings I will raise big pre-flop; here I should probably have whacked it all in, but as I said, it was a deep stack tournament, and I thought “Chip and a chair”.

The flop came diamond, diamond, diamond headed by the queen; apart from the same headed by the ace, it is difficult to imagine a worse flop for two black kings, but I bet into it anyway. There was a caller, and the third player in the hand raised. What would you do? I figured I was probably beat, maybe the guy was playing suited connectors, but the other player had called in front of him. I thought he was probably drawing to the nut flush but for all I knew he could have hit the flush as well. The guy who raised might have had a set; clearly there were many possibilities, but discretion being the better part of valour and with the bad hands I was getting, I sighed and folded.

The two played out the hand, no more diamonds came, and as I suspected, the first player had the bare ace of diamonds. And the raiser? He had Q-2 off-suit, the deuce being a diamond. What kind of moron calls a raise or even the small blind with Q-2 off-suit and then raises a 3 diamond board? In this case, the same moron who won the pot with a pair of queens.

The poker books don’t tell you about these kinds of players; this is another reason you can never beat the moron. I’ve heard it said that at higher stakes the play is very different. On occasion I’ve played higher stakes, and I can tell you that by and large, it ain’t. The only thing I do know is that if I had whacked it all in following the moron’s raise, he would have called, and I would have found myself facing either the nut flush or a set.

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