I play at a local casino a couple of times a week. I see a lot of the same faces, and I continue to be (happily) amazed at the ridiculous mistakes people make over and over again. So let’s add some anecdotes and friendly advice for the budding poker players out there (note that this is strictly for live games; online poker is an entirely different beast).
Tip #1: “I’m going to bet so much that everything worse folds and only better calls!”
This is normally what you see from the old nits - you know, the 70yr old guys sitting for hours, hunched over their coffee, folding folding folding and waiting for Aces and Kings. When they get Aces they’ll open ginormous pre-flop - like making it $30 when the average raise size has been $9-12. Then they’ll bomb any flop - like betting $75 into a $60 pot - on a J72 rainbow board. Why do they do this? Because they don’t want to get a bad beat. They want to win the hand right now, even if it means they will win a bunch of small pots with AA and will occasionally lose big pots with AA.
When everyone folds, they triumphantly roll over their Aces, like they taught the young whippersnappers a lesson. And of course they curse their bad luck when they get felted by the guy set-mining with pocket 7s. Why do they lose big pots? Why do they get felted? Because in addition to betting an amount that only gets called by better hands, Old Man Coffee is *never ever folding - *because ‘I haz Aces!’. So of course they stack off even when it’s clear that one pair is never good.
Case in point, my hand last week. Villain was a young guy, bit of a short stack, about $180 or so. I have AQo in mid-position; I cover the table. I open to $15 over a few limpers, three callers including V in the small blind. Flop is Q84 rainbow, pot is about $60. SB *open ships *for about $160.
Now, there are one or two Old Man Coffees in my player pool that I have made sick folds here, depending on the preflop action, knowing that they only ship here specifically - and I mean, *specifically - *with KK (i.e, they were waiting to jam any non-Ace flop).
But against a younger kid that just called my raise in the SB? I dismiss AA, KK and QQ, so even though AQ is probably the bottom of my calling range here, I of course turbo-call because I know there is no *better *hand that does this. I assume he has Qx, probably with a shitty kicker that doesn’t want a call. Turn 7, river Ace, and he flips over…AQ.
I can’t even begin to tell you how awful his play is. What *worse *hand can possibly call such a massive bet on this board? He’s only getting called by sets or over-pairs (not out of the question; I was the pre-flop raiser). If his plan was to risk his entire stack, and get all the hands he beats, like KQ and JQ to fold and win a $60 pot, mission accomplished. And man - folding out A8 or A4 is a disaster! If an Ace hits, A8 or A4 is probably never folding.
Nope, he got all those hands to fold, and instead risked his entire stack when he was only getting action from hands that beat him (or - best case scenario, as in my case - he chops with. Betting $160 to win $30!).
The player did this several times over the course of the night - over-betting the pot with his huge hands. If he had made some biggish bets as bluffs, there was at least a chance someone would decide he was bluffing and call off with worse…but nope. So I wasn’t surprised at all when he got stacked for the third and final time after he open-shipped a JT4 board with KK and got snapped by pocket 10s.