General concepts

Points of Play

Tournament Play

An Example of Reading Hands

The other day, a hand came up in a $ 20-$ 40 hold’em game that I was playing which is a perfect example of how to put someone on a hand. 

This was one time when a good card reader should have been able to know for sure exactly what this particular player had.  Let’s see if you can do the same.

The player in question (call him Joe) was a good poker player in a typical fairly tough game. He was in about seventh position. The blinds were $ 10 and $ 20 in front of the button. 

Three players “limped” in earlier position for $ 20 and Joe raised to $ 40. The player on the button called the $ 40 and the other “limpers” called the $ 20 raise. There were now five players in the pot for $ 40 each plus $ 30 in blinds.

            The flop came:

The first three players checked, Joe checked, and the player on the button bet $ 20. one player called in front of Joe and Joe also called. There was now $ 290 in the pot. 

The fourth street card was a 9 . The first player now bet out $ 40 and Joe called once again. At this point you can be sure what Joe has! Can you figure it out? Try it before I tell you.

Ok, let us analyze Joe’s play. His raise before the flop indicates a good but not necessarily a great hand since he is in good poker position. He might have a pair but he could also have something like 10-9 suited.

Joe’s check on the flop s very unlikely to be a slowplay with a very good hand since the pot is already too big to give everybody a free draw. 

For the same reason, Joe would not check a fairly good hand such as a pair of aces or even a pair of queens.  Thus, he doesn’t have much.

After checking on the flop, however, he calls when the button bets. He must therefore think he has some chance. 

There are only two possibilities: An inside straight draw or (less likely) a pair in the hole. He is getting 14½-to-1 odds at this point, which would make a “gut shot” straight draw (KJ, K10, or J10) worth it. 

A pair is more debatable.  In any case the final clue comes when he calls the $ 40 bet (with a possible raise behind him) after the 9 hits.  His odds have dropped to 8 ¼-to-1 ($ 330-$ 40). 

It is no longer worth drawing to an inside straight or a pair.  If the 9 had made him three 9s he would have raised.  So what’s the solution? 

There is one hand that he could have that is no longer a gut-shot draw. It is jack, 10. 

The 9 would turn that hand into an open end straight draw which is well below an 8-to-1 shot. Jack, 10 was, of course, Joe’s hand.

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