Stay Patient!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntry5rmko4M&w=560&h=315]

Of course you will go on hot streaks and get bombarded with good hands in Poker tournaments. Most of the time, however, you will sit patiently and fold. You will stay disciplined and know that the good hands will come eventually. Did you know that you will only make one pair on the Flop ⅓ of the time? Remember this stat every time you want to see a Flop.

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I’m sitting on The Button holding Ah-Jh with $30,000. The blinds are $500/$1,000 which means I have 30 big blinds, a medium stack according to The Poker Model. Before thinking too deeply about the hand, I will wait until it’s my turn to act. 

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The action folds to The Cutoff (TC), who raises to $2,000. A-J is a call behind hand according to The Poker Model, a hand in which we will call one bet with a medium or large stack during the Phase #2 – Pre-Flop. Because I have a medium stack and we are in this phase, I will make the call. 

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I make the call of $2,000, the Small Blind folds, and the action is on the Big Blind, who re-raises (3-bets) to $8,000. I must fold my hand to this 3-bet for two main reasons:

  1. If I just call (regardless of what The Cutoff (TC) does), then my stack will be about the same size or less than the pot. This means that any continuation bet from The Big Blind will essentially force me to move all-in or fold. Recall that a small bet is less than ⅓ pot, a medium bet is ⅓-⅔ pot, and a large bet is more than ⅔ pot according to The Poker Model. With the pot being around $20,000 after I’d call the 3-bet, even a small bet of $6,000 would be a substantial portion of my remaining chips.  While Ah-Jh is a solid starting hand, I must improve greatly on the Flop in order to feel confident that I will have the best hand. For this reason I can not call the 3-bet.
  2. If I move all-in, then I will rarely be dominating my opponents range. While it’s possible that he is holding any two cards, his range will most likely be A-10, A-J, A-Q, A-K, 10-10, J-J, Q-Q, K-K, A-A. Almost all of these hands are dominating my A-J. Remember that the goal of a pre-Flop all-in is to be ahead. There a few hands that the Big Blind can have I have a statistical edge over. For this reason I can not go all-in over the top of his 3-bet. 

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The original raiser calls and even though there is now more money in the pot, I must still fold for the reasons listed above. I will let these two battle it out and wait for a better spot going forward with my still medium-sized stack. Remember to never put so much hope into a Flop that you are willing to risk it all because if you don’t improve (which you usually won’t), you’ll be at risk to lose unnecessary chips. Stay patient! 

Brett

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