Texas Hold Em Strategy: Continuing On Pot Odds

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After yesterday’s post on pot odds, hopefully you will have a basic understanding of how to calculate rudimentary pot odds. Today, I will address when to apply pot odds and whether or not this is something that you need to live and die by at all points in a No Limit Texas Hold’em game.

Some players who live and die by a calculator or some sort of poker software will disagree with me, however, if you are going to go deep into, or more specifically WIN, multi-table tournaments, you need to know when to apply pot odds and when not to get overly concerned with them. I know, many of you are obsessed with making the “proper” play ALL the time, but there are times when it is not only proper, it is CRUCIAL to stray from the “proper” path.

First, early in a large tournament might be a time that I will fudge a little bit with pot odds. Particularly in a double stack tournament where I have a lot of chips and I am looking to establish dominance at a table early on. If you have $3000 in chips and the pot is $150, you can think about calling a pot sized bet on after the Flop or Turn to try and hit your flush, even though you are not getting proper pot odds to do so. (2:1 on your money and about a 5:1 chance of hitting the flush on the Turn) Implied pot odds comes into play here, but without getting into that subject yet, the amount of chips you are betting will not significantly hurt your stack should you lose the hand.

You could argue that the gain is insignificant as well, but it is more the table image that you would be putting forth should you win this hand that I am concerned with, rather than the monetary gain.  Obviously, you don’t want to get carried away trying to draw out on every hand, but there are certain situations such as this where it can be worth it to see an extra card or two. Sometimes a call in these spots will result in a check after the Turn (meaning that player has lost confidence in the hand due to your call)  and you can end up seeing a free River card. When this is the case, that call turns out to be  a very good play, giving you a chance to see both cards for one bet.

The other time that you can think about not sticking to pot odds too closely is late in a tournament when you have a big stack. NOT when you have a small stack, that would kill you, but when you have a large stack and are not worried about busting out before the money. Many short-stacked players at this point will be going all in with A-something. If you have a strong drawing hand, calling them is an excellent play if it won’t hurt your chip stack too badly. (10:1 rule!) The chance to add to your stack, coupled with the added opportunity to eliminate a player from the tournament, makes pot odds much less relevant.

This is the point where you want to step on the player’s neck who is fighting for survival. You don’t want to reward him with an easy double up, but if you have a 5:1 shot or better at a draw, and are getting 3:1 on your money, you should consider this call if it will not decimate your chip stack. This play all depends on if you can afford it or not. If you can afford it, you MUST take some chances at this stage to make yourself relevant at the final table. This is how to build your stack into a contender, instead of a pretender who just limps into the final table.

For more on bubble play like this, or when to apply pot odds, see my e-book, The No B.S. Guide to Winning Online No Limit Texas Hold’em.

To purchase my 224 page ebook The No BS Guide to Winning Online No Limit Texas Holdem or live one-on-one coaching sessions with Chris Wilcox,  click this https://www.chriswilcoxpoker.com/category/kickstarter-2/p
Check out http://www.internetpokercoach.com for up to the minute info, tips, and strategy on all things poker related
For any questions, concerns, or opinions,  please email Chris Wilcox at chriswilcoxpoker@gmail.com

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