Last night I got into a heated debate with fellow player about advanced poker strategies, specifically why one could never win big at Texas holdem. While this debate might not have as much merit as a lot of other pursuits, I thought it still an important one. Here is my response to our debate.
You are correct, you cannot win at Texas holdem poker in the long run. However, there are certain long run winning strategies that will help you improve your chances of winning.
Many people already agree with me. However, their how they vote on this is based on their experience and hand history. Experience is something that happens to everyone and unless you are born with it, you can not control it. But with some Lets do some simple math, you can increase your winnings the next time you go to battle.
Lets first recalculate the expected value, we can then use this expected value to determine the maximum amount you should call or fold, if you should enter a pot at all.
EV= (raised/bet pre-flop + bet/raise + call + fold) – (amount raised pre-flop + bet/raise + call + fold).
Now with the addition of folding, we have a greater chance of losing the money instead of winning it. But, this doesn’t mean we can’t still win.
If we haven’t hit by the showdown, we still have an opportunity to win a fairly large pot. While we won’t win the absolute amount, we can still win more than we lose.
This also works the other way as well. If we hit by the showdown, we can almost guarantee we will win more than we can lose in the process.
The situation you are in, is likely the reason you are still playing. Whether you hit the flop or the river, you have a very low chance of winning the pot. Folding your hand, is the best play you can make in this situation. That being said, it should not be your primary play.
There are a few exceptions to this, which I will cover later in the article.
Again, the intent of this article is not to get you to throw away your hand, but to help you make the best decisions when you are involved in a pot. You should still play your cards correctly, but be more selective with how you do so.
Objected to the call before the flop, but allows himself to be dragged into the hand. In one of my tournaments I advised a player to fold his hand to a raise, several times. The player responded to this advice with a barney of all his chips. You can do this if your hand is not that strong, but the longer you stay in the hand, the greater your risk is.
If you are not sure your hand has a lot of weight, but you believe you can take the blinds, than raise. You are playing barney against the few opponents that have made a move.
Calling is the most common play in limit holdem. Generally you should not be calling very often, but in the occasional case, you want to get value for your hand.
In tournaments, you will not let yourself be pushed out of a pot by an opponent. If you think you have the best hand, just call the big blind, and wait for a good call from your opponent.
For a more positive view, look at finishing second and third place as opposed to first. This means that you are more likely to collect 3rd place than first, without going broke.
Third place is a stronger position, in the Vodka138 tournament to acquire author’s note. In the event you are willing to acquire this note, you might consider being very selective with the hands you play. Only play strong hands, and always be the dampener.
If you are in the event you are willing to try and acquire a single bar, play very selectively and you will likely complete your hand.
You still have about 10-15 big blinds to accumulate. You need to make a move soon if you are in the event you are in early position. If you try and wait, you will likely be pushed by a more aggressive player. Take a small risk, and push all in quickly.
The event play now moves into the small blind, and the big blind calls. You now need to make a big raise. The small blind moves all-in. You need to call, or fold. Whether you call or not will depend on your read of the player, and your position.
Now is the time for your big play. You still need to wait for a strong hand to get you started. Perhaps now you haveier hand, and range of hands for a double up to a trips straight.