A Big Hand from Little Cards in Online Poker Tournamentds

Being aggressive with middle pairs to me is rather costly for early stage play.  You are likely to get better long term value from set mining cheaply. Most of these calls in early stages are correct for implied odds strategy. A five times raise is not a big hit to their stack and you mostly just don’t narrow the field enough. You’re immediately faced with a more difficult decision regarding a continuation bet man you’ve got over cards on the board.Sure you can open raise, but if there are multiple limpers I would just avoid attacking them when everyone is comfortable stacks and mzones.

You also can’t forget about the 2:1 odds. So if the pot is now one.5BBs pre flop, there is 1 limper, that makes it 2.5BBs. You now decide to raise to three big blinds, making the pot five.5BBs and the limper (assuming everyone else folds) has to call 2BBs to see a flop with 5.five big blinds in it. So he is getting nearly 3:1 on his call.

You are pretty much never more than a 3:1 under dog pre flop, which is what Gus is on about. But there is a problem. Maybe even more than one problem.

Firstly your problem is bet-ability of a marginal hand. This could mean rags facing off against ace king. The flop comes down 5 J Q. Sure you’re now ahead, but really how much can you afford to bet at this point? What about the continuation bet? But what if you just bet into the pot? Then what are you going to do when he smooth calls? Now do you bet once more here? This could get very costly by playing the low pair and not knowing what he has?

What about if you have 33 pre flop? There are 3 over cards (which statistcially are likely to have missed your opponent), but how much can you bet at this situation?

So yes, you had correct odds pre flop, if you could get to showdown for something approximating that pre flop investment. But in deep stack situations you can’t. You are going to have to play 3 more streets of poker before you get to showdown.

Concurrently, this also creates the 2nd problem. You are out of position and that’s not good poker tournament strategy. What this also means is that when you do actually hit the flop, the pots will be smaller. It also means when you don’t make a big hand, you will lose more than your fair share because the player in position will bet you off marginal hands with a worse hand himself.

If you think about it, in deep stack play, you shouldn’t be concerned with pot odds too much. I am only ever looking at implied odds.. i.e. what is the size of my stack and my opponents stack. My calling range is rather wide if this bet represents 5% of my stack or less. If they have AA, and I have 53s, all the better. It’s actually a good thing for them to have pocket aces when I am playing connectors to a raise. But if the raise is getting up to around 10% of my stack, then I fold all the weired stuff, except PPs. Still, I am only concerend about the size of the bet compared to my effective tournament stack.

My cards may be 56s and be up against big slick. I have to be rather much httin a huge draw or two pair though, otherwise you will be faced with giving up the hand after the flop out of position. You can play a pair here by checking and calling, and by doing somay give you more information about your opponent’s hand.

If you notice in Every Hand Revealed, Gus Hansen frequently berates himself for calling early position raisers with trash when he is in the BB. The reason is that he keeps getting faced with all these tough post flop decisions. Gus can look at his opponent for tells, and after all his is The Great Dane. We don’t have physical tells and we are not Gus. Take into account, your opponent is weaker than the players Gus plays against. Whether you are up against people who are capable of folding strong hands or whether they just can’t surrender TPGK is an important distinction.

To sum it up, pre-flop pot odds are less important than post flop implied odds. You might choose to play a given hand anyway, but do it for the reason of implied odds and not pot odds, if that makes sense. You have to know how to calculate poker odds when getting into hands like this becuase it may very well determine your long term success in tournaments. Just knowing Poker rules are not enough to win, you need strategy too.