Start to Finish

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsoXPAZVt4Y&w=560&h=315]

We’ve found that teaching hands from start to finish is not the most effective method because there are too many individual concepts to discuss that are specific to the example hand only. Today, however, we are going to try this method because we can pull concepts that we have already covered in previous hands and highlight them here. The new learning moment will occur on the River in this hand, after we’ve navigated the maze. 

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I’m sitting Under The Gun (UTG) holding Js-10s with blinds at $200/$400. I’ll need to qualify my hand by looking at previous action, my stack size, and the two cards in my hand. My hand qualifies because there is no previous action, my stack size is greater than 20 big blinds, and I’m holding two cards over 7. For these reasons I come into the pot by making a min-raise to $800. 

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The action folds to The Cutoff+1 (TC+1) who calls followed by folds around the table to The Big Blind (TBB) who also calls. The flop comes 9h-7c-2s and The Big Blind (TBB) checks to me. Like with all other flops that I am engaged with, I must qualify my hand as good, bad, or mediocre. In this case, I have flopped an inside straight draw which is a bad hand according to The Poker Model. With bad hands I must make a continuation bet in order to win the pot right now. If my bet is called, then I must pump the brakes and bow out of the hand if I don’t improve. 

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I make the continuation bet and am called by both of the opposing players. The Turn is the Ace of Hearts and The Big Blind (TBB) checks to me. Because my hand did not improve after my unsuccessful attempt to win the pot on The Flop, I must now slow down and give up control of the hand. I check, knowing that if the player behind me bets, then I will fold. 

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The player behind me checks and I see a free River card, which is the Eight of Spades. This is a big card for me and gives me the nuts, as I have the best possible two cards for this board. The Big Blind (TBB) checks and the action is on me. Now I’m thinking about how I can make the most amount of money as possible with my hand. If I bet too large, then it will force my opponents to move all-in in order to make the call. While this is possible, it’s unlikely that they will have strong enough hands to make this play. If I bet small, however, I’m leaving the door open for an opposing player to move all-in over the top of my bet, which will look weak. This works at times because a small, weak bet is one that can be bluffed over the top. Players can make a big raise on The River and successfully make the weak bet fold. A bigger leading bet, however, eliminates the ability of a big river bluff to be meaningful enough to fold. This is why my small bet gives the best chance of inducing a river bluff.   

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I make a small bet, which is ⅓ of the pot or less. The Cutoff+1 moves all-in over the top and The Big Blind (TBB) folds. I make a snap call and flip my hand over, with 100% odds of winning (assuming we do not have the same hand). My opponent flips over 10d-8d and I win a nice pot. 

There was a lot to this hand but standard concepts that you’ve already learned were used. Here they are:

  1. Qualified our pre-flop hand using previous action, stack size, and our two cards.
  2. Qualified our flop hand as good, bad, mediocre.
  3. Executed a standard continuation bet on a bad flop.
  4. Pumped the brakes after receiving pushback on The Flop.
  5. New Concept – Made a small river bet with the nuts to induce a bluff from an opponent.

Give yourself credit for The Poker Model concepts that you have already mastered and slowly add to them by walking through full hands. We are big fans of presenting a high quantity of specific situations for you to practice, but an end to end hand from time to time will help bring it all together. 

Brett

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