Returning to Hold'em

How will apply the last concepts to a good hold'em poker game? That is, in a loose, passive game where many players play on third street and then plays badly after that you should:

1. Play more hands than you would if the players were better, especially if you can get in for a single bet.

2. try to keep it to the single bet before the flop more than many people think. This is because you gain more when bad players make wrong calls on the flop and later, as long as the pot is small.

Let's explain this second point in detail. Even though you have a good hand, you should raise less than if you were against better players. This is not only because the hand does not do well against many players, but there is one more reason: With a hand that is good but not great, if you do not raise and hence cost yourself less amount of money in this case, you gain it back plus some because you have made the pot larger where there will be less chance for your rival to make costly mistakes in future.

For example, you know that a raise with two particular cards gains you $7 inn expectation. It will be incorrect to raise. This is because by putting extra money in early you will make your rival's play incidentally correct or just close to it. This may cost you more than the small amount gained pre-flop. Therefore, while playing more hands than almost all expert play, those hands which look like an automatic raise is actually not to be raised because you want your skill to be needed more on later rounds.

There are two different situations. If you are playing against bad players, it is difficult not to raise with very good hands because even though you're yourself costing money on the later streets, you are gaining so much before the pre-flop because your hand is better than theirs. To put other way, if people are actually coming with something good, you can raise with an AQ only because your overall hand is much better than the other players.

However, if these players are playing little looser than what they should, and then they play very badly, a reason not to raise with such many hands is that when you make the pot bigger, you are making some of your rivals to play correctly. Additionally it is a fact that some of these hands such as the AQ as stated do not do well in multi-way pots.

One another reason why you prefer to play some more hands in such loose games is: It is true that as you play many hands, even if these extra hands do not exhibit long term gain, your rivals will notice this and hence when you actually have a good quality hand they will not throw away their hands because they are noticing you in the pot frequently.

Two examples

For example, you started with

You should not raise with this hand in most of the situations due to certain reasons. First you give your hand away. Second, let's assume four people limp in and you are on the button. You should possibly not raise. The flop comes

And everyone checks to you. You should bet almost every time. You likely have the best hand as everyone checked (to a non-raiser) and likely have six outs if you don't.

If you do not raise, then someone else will bet into you and if you do flop an ace or a queen you can raise and knock people out who would otherwise have called, getting their price.

One main problem with raising with this hand is that everyone checks to you on the flop, you bet (supposing you make a pair) and they are getting the proper price to call you with middle or bottom pair (supposing they have a different kicker). Now here they will not make any further mistake on the flop when they call.

You should generally not raise with offsuit hands (other than AK) except you have a chance to eliminate the weak rivals. That is, you think you can knock out the players behind you and also the blinds. But when you come to know that you cannot eliminate the players, then you should just call.

(Here we are talking about how these hands should be played in a weak game. In a tight game you will finish your play the same way but for the different reasons. The problem with AQ is that it is not much better than your rival's hands. So it may not be correct to raise with AQ for many other reason, though a raise would knock people out.)

There are lot of hands that when a player on your right bets and you know you can drive people out, you should raise. But if you cannot make them out, you should just call or perhaps just fold.

For example, in a weak game where many players are playing too many hands and going too far with their hands, if the player under the gun limps in and you have

And there are several players still left to act to behind you, you should fold. Even if you were the player under the gun you should fold.

On the other hand, if you are against people who plays very badly, there is no more raising before the flop and because of the fact of the way these hands appears, you should play many more hands, especially suited hands.
For example, if four people come in, you should play

You should play because:
1. Four players have come in.
2. There was no raise.
3. They play badly.
4. You are sure you will play it well.

It means if you play K5 four people come in, you are to the right of the button and the flop comes

The first player bets and someone calls, you fold. You use your skills to keep yourself from getting trapped.
The other reason for not playing K5 is that it can create problem if a king flops. To put other way, you can be trapped with this hand. But if you are a good player, you will not be trapped. You should try to play K5 flop a king and still often fold.
If the flop comes

you are definitely going to play for this. Similarly if the flop comes

and everyone checks to you. But there are many chances where you would get away from the second flop.

However, if you are playing against bad players who will call with any pair, you want to stay in, and you will bet in those cases where it seems that your hand is almost good. When they call with middle or low pair they are fairly wrong.

This is the reason why we advised earlier in the text to play a hand like Q5s if there is no raise and you are on the button? If you play this hand correctly it can be profitable to you. But consider that "correctly" can mean that you hit your hand and still throw it away.

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