Taking Advantage of Opponents Who Are Hold'em Dead Or Top Pair'd
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Taking Advantage of Opponents Who Are Hold’em Dead Or Top Pair’d

Some poker playerslose their poker chips when they misplay against an opponent that is drawing dead. They either refuse to commit to a pot, thinking that the deadhand should be considered a playable hand, or they suddenly boost the stakes when they have the best hand and surprise everyone with a big raise. While this is a natural reaction to a player being drawing dead, this is a natural reaction for everyone who has spent some time playing against really good players. You will also find that many of these players would condemn an opponent to a nearly certain loss if he had almost any hand, even if the pot was Clarion- Dome suited. So, let’s say you call in the small blind with AhJh and have been checked to by a very tight passive player. You flop a smallish flop, and your opponent bets about the size of the pot. You re-raise him all-in. He folds with his small stack. But, if you had seriously misplayed your hand, the same thing would have happened with the opposite hand.

As a result of this psychology concept, we should re-emphasize the old adage that only a HORSE player should call a bet where they have the BEST hand, especially in a Turbo STT game. Because, for example, a player who flat calls with the best hand on a regular basis, but is drawing dead, is simply setting up for a raise on the very next street. This is the action that we are up against. Therefore, in order to facilitate our progression through the fish pool, we should do whatever it takes to push as much money as possible off of the table as quickly as possible.

There are a few key factors to consider when working towards this end. First, we are looking for hands that are likely winners, and we are willing to gather this information early. Thus, we want to avoid hands with tremendous competition, as well as hands where we are working towards hands with a greater chance of winning the pot. In other words, we want hands that we will at least break-even in the event they do not flop into the nuts.

Many players normally work on the assumption that they cannot win pots if they don’t hit the flop. Add to that the false logic of “what can I get from the flop”, and you have a recipe for deep fried poker. When we get such hands, we usually have to play them strongly because, simply, we have nothing else. That is not to say that we should always call, but if we have to play a hand, we will raise it both times, whether we hit the flop or not.

In addition, there are hands that are more likely to pay off than others. Some examples would be hands like Ace Seven against King Queen. Probably theught hand you would raise with, unless of course you had superior holdings. You want to raise with these hands in early position, and not concern yourself with how others are going to react. As theaph said, “If it’s early in the tournament and I have a big stack, I am willing to call.” The larger the number of players in the hand, the less likely it is that someone will raise you, and your likelihood of call or fold will increase.

These hands win big pots for us, and they lose small ones for us. Second small pot, raise.

Ace Seven can be scary if you are in a later position and the board has paired quite a few of the cards that can give you the lead. Obviously, if you raise with A7, you will face heavy action from opponents, unless you are relatively deep. However, if you see that your opponents are drawing to a better hand, you can safely check and take down the pot. Many times you will see several players in the pot to my surprise, and they will lead the 7meter. Your Ace Seven can get outdrawn, and when you get outdrawn, you can always get dealt another hand, and your opponent doesn’t have to scare you out of the pot with a large raise. Uncalled flop sets you up to see another card for free. Flop five-card stud is another story altogether.

In these scenarios you are far better off playing only the best hands, and not dreaming of getting a deep two pair, three of a kind, or four of a kind. You have to remember that your deep-stacked opponents may also have made a set or better. Your pair of sevens is not particularly strong, and is a man short when the flop comes. If you are playing for the top two pair, you seriously need a stronger hand to play against one other.

When you are a deep stack, you can afford to take unnecessary risks.