5: The Flop
TO DROP THE HAMMER!!
the more unique attributes of low limit hold 'em is that the pots
often get so enormous before the flop that anyone who got even a
sliver of help from the flop is frequently justified in continuing
on with their hand. For the player holding pocket aces, this can
be incredibly frustrating, since it can seem like the river brings
one miracle card after anotherall of which help our opponent
without helping you.
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there is nothing you can do about this. If you have pocket kings,
and our opponent has pocket fives, and your opponent has decided
that he's going to go to the river with his hand no matter what,
then there's nothing on God's green Earth that you can do when he
catches a five on the river. But, there are plenty of occasions where
your opponents will take a look at the turn with a long shot draw,
but will not look at the river IF you're able to charge them two
big bets on the turn to continue with their hands. Thus, it often
makes sense to just call (or even check) on the flop with a fairly
big yet vulnerable hand, with the intention of slapping your opponents
with a raise on the turn. While this play lets them see the turn
cheaply, it goes a long way towards keeping them from looking at
the river. And when the pots get big, taking a few calculated risks
early in the hand is often a good idea if it improves your chances
of winning the pot.
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look at an example. You have pocket 9's on the button, and call after
four other players have called. Now the small blind raises, and all
call to the man on your right who three bets. You call, and all call.
Seven players to the flop for three bets each. The flop comes Jh
9h 6d. All check the the man on your right who bets.
just call here. Although most players will raise, in an attempt to
protect their equity in the pot, it's important to note that anyone who
has a draw to a hand that would beat you will call two bets here
just as easily as they would call one. A hand like Kh Ts, for example,
is probably going to see the turn no matter what. So is a hand like
Td 7d. However, while these hands are going to see the turn no matter
what the price, they may not go to the river if they're faced with
the prospect of paying two big bets. If you just call the flop here,
the player to your right will probably bet the turn as well. Now
you can raise and charge the field two bets. If, however, you raised
here, there's a good chance that the man on your right would check
the turn, which means you'd only have the opportunity to charge the
field one bet. If a player goes on to beat you on the river you have
lost a lot if he would have folded for two bets on the turn.
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for this play to work, you need a couple things going for you. First,
you want to be fairly sure that the turn bet is going to come from
your right. Second, be confident that there are plenty of possible
hands your opponents could be holding that will call two flop bets
as easily as they'd call just one. Also, check and make sure the
pot is big enough (say, larger than 13 small bets or so) to justify
taking this kind of risk. If the pot is small, you're better of raising
the flop, which will make any of your opponents’calls on the
flop a horrible mathematical mistake.
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