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Why Play Pot Limit
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The Art of Bluffing
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Using The Material
Pot-Limit & No-Limit
Big-Bet Hold'em Q/A
Big-Bet Hold'em Q/A 5-10
Big-Bet Hold'em Q/A 11-20
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High Low Split Q/A
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                 At big-bet poker, playing a drawing hand such as a four-straight of four-flushes involves quite a change in strategies from its counterpart at limit play, because the math and psychology are so different. At limit play, it would be rare to fold a four stright or four-flush for a single bet, because the pot odds warrant a call. Big-bet poker strategy often says a fold is in order, because a pot-size bet means such a hand is not getting adequate odds to play.

                Let’s look at a typical pot-limit hold’em situation where you flop a flush-draw. Suppose you hold Q-J and the flop comes K-8-6. There is $100 in the pot. There of you have stayed for the flop. The first player bets $100, the middle player folds, and it is up to you. What action do you take?
                 Resist the impulse to play. You have a clear fold, for several reasons:

  1. The pot-odds are insufficient. You have 9 cards that make the flush, out of a total number of 47 unknown cards (52 less the 2 in your hand and the 3 on the board). This means you are over a 4-1 underdog to make the flush (only 9 wins, and 38 non-wins). The pot odds are only 2-1. (There is $200 in the pot after your opponent’s bet, and it costs you $100 to call). The pot odds dictate a fold.
  2. The implied odds don’t help much. If you make the flush, your opponent will see that there are now three clubs on the board. You are not all that likely to estract more from him on this layout of cards.
  3. The implied odds don’ help much. If you make the flush, your opponent will see that there are now three clubs on the board. You are not all that likely to extract more money from him on this layout of cards.
  4. You are not hitting to the nuts. This is a key point at big-bet poker. One of the nine cards that makes your flush pairs the board. None of the eight non-pairing flush cards will make you the nuts either. Suppose your opponent is betting on the nut flush-draws or top pair and a flush-draw. Such bets are commonplace. This dreadful situation puts you with the worse hand going in, and places you in position to take a big loss if you hit what you are hoping for.

                           There are lot better drawing hands you could hold than this queen-high flush-draw. Let’s talk about them. We’ll use this same flop of K-8-6.

  1.        9-7. Hey, what’s this? How could a simple straight-draw be better than a flush-draw? You only have eight cards that make the straight, and two of them (the 10 and the 5) could make someone a flush. Well, the straight-draw has a couple of things going for it. First, if you hit the hand, you figure to make some money on it, because the opponent will not fear a ten or a five like he fears a club. Second, if a flush card comes, you are well-placed to launch a successful bluff, especially in position.
  2. A-2. The nut flush-draw may win by pairing the ace, and there is the possibility of catching the opponent on a flush-draw, making the implied odds attractive. If the flush comes, you clean up.
  3. K-Q. Top pair and a flush-draw. This gives you a hand that may be good, and can draw out if it’s not.
  4. 10-9. This gives you a gutshot straight-draw to go with the flush-draw. Even though it’s only three more outs, this changes the math considerably. Also, the implied odds are in your favor because the straight the well get paid off.
  5. 9-7.A straight-draw is a powerful holding.

                        We must consider the possibility of raising the pot when we have a good drawing hand. At big-bet poker such a wager gives us a good chance to win the pot right there. Which hands are the more suitable for raising?
                        I am much more likely to prefer a raise to a call when I have a good drawing hand, but am not hitting to the nuts. When my non-nut draw is a pair and flush-draw or a straight-draw and flush-draw, I can never be sure the flush is good when it comes. My tendency is to whack the opponent with a big raise and hope he folds. If goes with me, I know that my hand has plenty of outs even though I’m not sure what they are.

                        When you gun it out on the flop with a draw, you get to look at two cards without having to pay again for the second card. This of course changes the odds considerably. With a big draw, you may even become the favorite.
                        The situation you want to avoid with a draw is to get a lot of money committed to the pot- perhaps from a quarter to half your stack and be out of position with one card to come. The opponent, who may have a good idea what you have by this time, will attempt to bail out if you hit and set you all-in if you miss.
                        To avoid this unpleasant situation, we must go back to the beginning of the hand and cure the root of the problem. If you are deep enough in money that a check-raise will leave you out on a limb rather than all-in with no more decisions, then you must play “pair poker” for your starting hands. The top players are strong about not building a draw up front out-of-position.

                  Naturally, it’s an imperfect world, and we can never be sure what we’re building. But you can make an intelligent guess and play the percentages. If you are a hold’em poker player and pock up a J-10 suited or an 8-7 suited, it is more likely that you will flop a draw rather than a made is deep. Muck those hands up front, especially when the money is deep. You can also see that a draw is a worse hand up front in pot-limit than in no-limit, At least at no-limit you have a way to not caught  out-of-position with half your stack in the pot when the turn card arrives; you can scoot it all to the middle!
                 The willingness to play a drawing hand aggressively, even committing all your money on occasion puts an element of uncertainty in your opponent’s mind. “Does he have a big hand, or is he drawing?” You’d be surprised how often a player who is stuck in the online poker game manages to convince himself that big bet is probably based on a draw. Of course, getting your good made hands paid off is crucial to your bankroll.

                  When drawing, and trying to figure out whether to call a bet or raise, it is particularly important to figure in the chance of making money often all the card are out. In other words, you must guess what the implied odds are, as well as thinking about the price on drawing out. If the game uses boardcards, where the situation. Can see the card you got, this can either hurt or help your situation. If the cards that improve your hand are the ones that your opponent is going to figure you for, as is usually the case with a flush-draw this means you are unlikely to get paid off. Also, you will be unable to bluff if you strike out. On the other hand, if you are hitting to a hand that will be a surprise to your opponent, this is a highly favorable aspect, both in making you money when hitting, and letting you bluff successfully when missing. If the last card is concealed, as in stud or draw, the implied odds are always helpful. For a thorough discussion of this type of situation where the card is unknown to your adversary, be sure to read the chapter “important pot-limit Concepts,” which follows our London Lowball chapter


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implied-odds-probability-poker.htmlFiguring The Odd's
Percentage Table

Odd's For Hold'em
Special Odd's Table
High-Low or Better