This article continues on some of themes and ideas I talked about the other day when playing a big No Limit Holdem hand like pocket Kings. Today I want to look at from my opponents perspective rather than mine. The way your big hand ‘looks’ to other players at the table is important in that this will influence the way they react to it by either folding, calling your bet or raising.
In this particular hand I was dealt pocket Kings in the cut-off seat. I had one limper in front of me and since this was a pretty loose game, I put in a good size raise to try and not end up with 5 players vs. my K-K. The Button folded and I got a call from the BB. The player who was in early position folded as well, so it was just me and the BB left in the hand.
The flop was a 6-4-2 rainbow and when the BB checked to me I put in another large bet, probably something near pot-sized. I wasn’t too worried that my hand was beat at that point, but this flop had the smell of a BB special and since this game was quite loose, I didn’t really want to find out he was playing 5-4 or something that could result in a suck-out. Naturally the BB pushed all-in. I didn’t have to think about it long before making the call. He flipped over 9-7 suited for a total bluff and at that point it was pretty easy for my K’s to hold up and soon I was stacking chips.
There were a couple of oddities to this hand that occurred other than the BB’s ridiculously inept play at trying to bluff me off a big pot with absolutely nothing.
First, the BB should not have called at all. I believe he did simply because of the old ‘novice players will play any two suited cards’ law that I have written about in my books time and time again. If I had a dollar for every time I have seen players play 2 -suited cards that they never should have played in the first place, I would have a WSOP Main Event buy-in.
So, that was obviously a bonehead play and thinking he could push me off the pot with a 9-high was ludicrous. But, the real lesson in this hand came from the Button player who sat and bemoaned the fact that he folded after the hand had played out. Apparently he had some junk like J-3 suited and would have Turned a straight. By his logic he should have been in the hand still rather than folding pre-flop like he did.
‘Why did I fold?’ he moaned at least 3 or 4 times.
“Because I raised.’ I finally told him.
One of the worst things you can do as a poker player is look at every flop on hands that you DID NOT play and think about what could have been. It is unhealthy and it will lead you to making poor decisions. Once you have mucked your cards, forget about them. Watch how the hand plays out, learn what you can about your opponent and move on to the next hand. Bemoaning the fact that your crap hand would have hit is the way to lose a lot of money in poker. The fact is, he made the correct play in folding to my raise. It doesn’t matter that he would have lucked-out at that point. He made the right play. Be happy and move on. If he would have stopped looking at the board and thought about it, his junk hand of J-3 vs my K-K is only going to win around 12% of the time. Those are not the type of odds that you want.
It is human nature to look back and think about what might have been and second guess yourself. That’s fine on hands that you could have played differently or hands where you had good cards and got pushed off your hand or played it too aggressively or whatever. But it’s not fine to analyze junk hands and think about how you should have played them instead of folding. That will lead you into some really awful poker habits.
Contact Chris Wilcox at: firstname.lastname@example.org