Thinking Long And Hard

Putting Thought Into Why Another Player Is Calling

I have mentioned before about putting a lot of thought into why another player is calling and what hands they could have.

Last night I was tired and fancied a quick game (not a wise combination). I certainly had a quick game (coming 8th) however upon re-examining my exit, if i had actually been paying attention to the hand in question then I could have easily got away from it and saved myself some money.

Rather than a lesson for me, I see it as a reconfirmation that I was right and will make sure I don’t play tired again.

The Set-Up

A guy about 5 seats to my right (let’s call him “turkey-face”) started as he meant to go on by cranking it up the very first hand. The flop comes out J-8-7, leaving him with a gutshot straight draw needing 10-1 odds. For some unknown reason he went all in and got called!!

The other guy I really don’t know what he was doing calling but turkey-face’s A-10 unsuited ended up winning Ace high!

hehe – I put this in his notes that he doesn’t play odds and clearly doesn’t have a clue.

The Action

Into the next blind level and I get A-Qu, I raise and get called by two players, one of which is turkey-face. The flop comes down A-5-10. I’m sitting there with top pair and great kicker, I bet 200 into a 270 pot and he calls, the other guy folds.

…Next card is another 10… Then I make my mistake.

My Hand Flop Turn River
ace of diamonds queen of spades ace of clubs five of hearts ten of diamonds ten of clubs face down card

I bet 100 in to see where I was and sure enough he raised me all in and had me well covered in chips. At the time my thought process was “he’s bluffing, let’s have it” – however if you think about it now what do you think he’s holding?

J-10u .. ouch!

I should have been thinking the following: “He’s called my raise, but yet he doesn’t play odds. He has 1 of 3 types of hands – either any 2 suited cards and thinks they are good (like A-5s and has flopped 2 pair, in which case i’m beat) … he could have connected cards (like A-K then i’m out kicked, J-10, he has trips or K-Q, giving him a gutshot straight draw again, which he will call any bet with anyway) or he could have an actual hand and already have trips.

Upon looking at this and seeing the extra 10 it should have been fairly obvious that I was beaten … he’s called my flop pot sized bet so I doubt he has a 5 (unless he has trips in which case I’m beat) he has middle pair a 10, which I’m now beat, or he has 2 pair or better which I’m beat.

Although I don’t see this as a major mistake, this is the kind of thought process that would have kept me in still with 400 in chips and blinds at 15/30. You live and learn and I hope this helps you as much as it did me.

Thinking Long And Hard

You have to think long and hard about the hand your opponent could be holding. The fact that turkey-face should have laid his hand down when I made a pot size bet is no excuse. As my old headmaster at school used to say “Ignorance is no defence” and it’s true!

Asking Questions

Poker is all about asking questions, whether it’s raising a guy for all of his chips or asking where the nearest facilities are after 4 JD and cokes, it’s question question question.

Not only will you be asking questions to others but also to yourself. You must be asking yourself things constantly.

A very simple method of working out whether your hand could be good is by asking (probably best in your head than out loud!). What do you want them to be holding and what don’t you want them to be holding?

If the answers are heavily weighted to one side then that should give you all the info you need.

Take the example above where i had AQu and the other guy had J10u with the board showing A-5-10-10. By asking questions I could have worked it out.

Considering that he called a raise:

What DO I want him to have?
A worse Ace – so A3, A4, A6 etc. or any pocket pair bar AA
What DON’T I want him to have?
A5, A10, any 10, 5-5, 5-10, A-A, 10-10, any flush draw.

With that you can see that the DON’Ts very much outway the DOs. A lay down here would have been sensible.

Now put it round the other way and let’s say that we are holding A-A

What DO I want him to have?
Anything really at all but would prefer him to have something so that I can get more money out of him.
What DON’T I want him to have?
The only thing that can beat me here is 10-10

Here the DOs carry much more weight so clearly I’m gonna try and get everything I can.

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