The Game Of Texas Hold’Em

Texas Hold’Em in a Cardroom

Texas Hold’Em Online

Winning poker

Tactics

Strategies

Putting It all together

Psychological Considerations

Where to go from here

Places to Play

Appendix I Hold’Em poker Variations

Appendix II Poker Tournaments

 

BEHAVIORS THAT CHANGE THE ODDS

  Many poker players have understood that probabilities would not change from hand to hand. They have known that an unseen card would have an equal chance of being any one of the remaining unseen cards. However, they had fallen into a trap of treating all cards not in their hands as unseen cards.

Cards being held by your opponents would not be unseen cards. Your opponents had seen them and their actions would be a source of information.

  Only one card had been out that would have beaten you, but if your opponent had been acting like she had that one card, you shouldn’t think that being beaten would be unlikely. Many online poker players have made the mistake of playing only their cards and have never asked the question: Why are my opponents still in the hand? Years ago the following hand had occurred at Sid’s table on a St. Louis riverboat.  After the deal, a poker player in an early position had raised pre-flop.

  Except for one player who had called the raise, everyone else had folded.  The poker players who had initially raised Sid will call him Player – 1 – had played a tight game all afternoon. Sid had observed one other pre-flop raise from him earlier that day and it had come on pocket Aces, so Sid took his raise as a sign of strength.

  He also appeared to be a regular (the casino employees had all known him by name and had greeted him warmly). Players who had been regulars at certain cardrooms often played tight, solid games.Otherwise, they couldn’t’ afford to be regulars. The poker player who had called his raise, Player 2, had called without hesitation, so Sid also put him on a strong hand.

  The flop had come up Ace, ten and six. Player 1 had bet; Player 2 had called. The turn card had been an Ace. Player 1 had bet and again Player 2 had called. The river card had fallen as a King. Player 1 had bet and Player 2 had raised. Player 1 had countered with a re-raise. In this cardroom, the rule had been that if two players went head-to-head on the end, raises had not been capped.

  The rule had allowed players to get into a raising war as long as they had had money on the table. Player 2 had re-raised and the war had gone on. At that point, it had been obvious to Sid what each player had held.  Player 1 would have had pocket Aces and Player 2 must have had pocket Kings.  Four Aces would have beaten Kings-full but Player 2 had seemed oblivious to that possibility. He had continued to counter each re-raise with another. Finally, Player 1 had decided he had taken enough of Player 2’s money, and had put a final re-raise and exposed his two Aces. Player 2 had showed his two kings and had shaken his head in disbelief.

  Losing with Kings-full to four Aces had been a highly improbable bad beat.  Sid would have raised, too, if he had hit Kings-full at the river, but with this board, would Sid have completely discounted the possibility of the other poker player having the remaining two Aces or even on Ace and the remaining King? Player 2 with Kings-full had seen 7 cards, which had left 45 unseen cards, 2 of which his opponents had. If one picked 2 cards from 45 unseen cards there would be 990 possibilities, only three of which (Ace-king, Ace-Ace, Ace-King) would have beaten Kings-full for this board. However, Player 1’s cards weren’t two random unseen cards from 990 possible combinations.

  He had seen them and acted in such a way that had eliminated from consideration almost all of these 990 possibilities. Player 1 would not have been re-correct for Player 2 to assume that the poker odds of losing had been remote (three in nine hundred ninety), given Player 1’s behavior.