What is one of the first things everyone learns playing poker? Starting hand requirements. What hand beats what and what the best hole cards are. Then armed with that certainty, neophytes all over the world are firing up their computers to go to battle. They know what the best hands are, and they are certain they can win.

Then horror or horrors, they sit down with rippy and rippy proceeds to rip them to shreds. Their AK never seems to flop and pair and that idiot with the 7-4 off is creaming them. And when they finally do flop a pair, that same idiot, rip-me-a-new-butthole, will never pay me off. The game is so, so unfair. The best players never seem to win. Then just when is seems hopeless, our neophyte picks up a pair of tens, goes all in, and rippy flat calls and shows aces. It’s a conspiracy. It’s all fixed. Stars is fixing the cards so they can’t win. They then conclude it sure was dumb to send money to an overseas website that plays poker with their wife bitchin’ and moaning the whole time, “See I told you so. You never listen to me.”

Our neophyte has not learned, nor will he ever learn, to play poker. He only learned to play cards.

You see, a poker player knows a 78 in the big blind can be far more profitable with far less risk, than an AK UTG. A poker player knows the fear/greed relationship each person has with committing their chips to a pot. A poker player understands that it is irrelevant how you build the chip stack, it only matters whether it gets built. A poker player exploits every opportunity to his advantage while minimizing risk.

A poker player doesn’t even know the ranks of hands anymore. They have so long been irrelevant to him. Poker is entirely situational, hand to hand combat, in one long battle that lasts a lifetime.


Ok, lets get this straight, bets represent strength, checking represents weakness. Wait, don’t leave yet I am going to make a point, eventually.

So here is another source of strength. Checkcalls. Let me set this up. You are on the button and raise your normal 3X BB bet. One caller. The flop comes you bet 3X the BB after being checked to by the caller, the guy flat calls again. Now if you have missed the flop, you better take a hard look at committing anymore chips to this pot. This guy has flat called you twice now, he probably has something. Bluff calls are very rare (rilla says he does it, i rarely do, very rarely) The question here is, is betting the turn and/or the river against a guy who has proved he is willing to call you, the best use of your chips when you know you are behind.

I have said it before and I will say it again. Don’t bluff the unbluffable and don’t bluff into strength. If you have got a dog of hand and you have had your raise called twice, is the best use of your chips another bet or can you find a better situation to get them into the pot. Now it very well may be you need to fire all in on the turn because you have to have the pot, just don’t be like the monkey who gets caught in trap because he can’t let go of the banana.

Ok, second point, if they check to you on the flop and the turn, what are you waiting for? This is like serving you up a fine meal, you don’t stare at, its time to eat. If they check to you twice, please take a seat and enjoy your meal. Here is the interesting part, the scarier the board, the more effective the bet. With two checks, most people have already given up on the pot, they are hoping you bet so they don’t have to keep pushing the check button (don’t we get lazy sometimes).

So I bring these points up because I was watching someone last night and he made both of these mistakes. He is a fine winning player. How could he cripple himself overbetting a missed hand, then not take the chips that were offered? It is easy to do, in fact we all do it, we latch on to our AK’s like a dying man to his last breath, ignoring all reality that we are beat badly then turn around a check down a pot we could have easily captured, all within a few hands. Bizzaro poker at its finest.


Ok here’s the situation, you have 2-7 off in the big blind, the beer hand, and a small stack raises all-in. Everyone else folds and it is left to you to call him down. Exactly what kind of pot odds do you need to call him down?

I ran his through poker calculator on card player.com and here is what I came up with:

72o vs. overpair wins 13%

72o vs. 2 overcards wins 32%

72o vs. Ax(cards 3,4,5,6) wins35%

72o vs. pairs 3,4,5,6 wins 28%

72o vs. suited connectors below 7 wins 50%

Now if we make the assumptions our small stack will go all in on these scenarios (big assumption, but this a small stack trying to survive, got to make an assumptions somewhere here) how much can we call here? Is one more big bet too much?

Ok. Blinds are 500/1000 antes 100. So there is 2500 in the pot. Our all-iner raises 1000 to 2000. Pot is now 4500. Do you call the bet? You are getting 4.5 to 1 on your money. I would say you would about break even long term on this call based on the above percentages. Anything more than 1 Big Bet is a sucker play. If the above scenerio does not include antes, and you are only getting 3.5 to 1 I think it is a bad play as well.

Part of my conclusions come from, the unproveable but undeniable fact, the over pair will always raise and you will only be getting raised all in sometimes with the other scenerios. In other words an allin hand is much more likely to be a over pair to the 7-2 than a random hand.

In conclusion, based on my analysis, calling anything more than 1 big bet to put a short stack all in on two rags is bad poker and if your call is less than 1 big bet it is automatic call with any 2.

Feel free to argue with me; it is more fun than silence.


In Summary

Point 1: Tight is right in the first hour of a MTT.
Point 2: Shut your pie hole unless you are eating pie.
Point 3: Play where you belong.
Point 4: Stop telling bad beat stories.
Point 5: Specialize
Point 6 Be a Big Picture Person.
Point 7: Have Some Guts With the Nuts.
Point 8: Two Special Situations to Tighten Up.
Point 9: Thou Shalt Not Steal From the Wounded.
Point 10: Give Yourself 2 Ways to Win Every Hand You Play.
Point 11: Count to 10 Then Begin.
Point 12: Consider the Blinds.
Point 13: Consider the Implications of an All-in Bet.
Point 14: Analysis of the Weak Lead.
Point 15: Thoughts on the Rebuy/Addon Tournaments
Point 16: Analysis of the Strong Lead
Point 17: Let the Biggest Hands Bring Home the Bacon.
Point 18: Ace on the Turn and Chips to Burn.
Point 19: You Got to Know When to Fold ’em.
Point 20 :Use the Chat Box to Your Advantage.
Point 21: Remember to Remember What They Remember.
Point 22: Trip Talk, Trip Talk
Point 23: You’re Not Invincible, Stupid.
Point 24: Celebrate Your Bad Beats
Point 25: Bankroll Management 101
Point 26: Consider Draws Carefully.
Point 27: A Common Mistake – Overbetting a Good Hand
Point 28: Like Offering Candy to a Baby.
Point 29: “In Order to Live, You Must be Willing to Die.” -rilla
Point 30: Artificial Intelligence Can Be Deadly
Point 31: What’s in your toolbox?
Point 32: Busted Flops
Point 33: The Biggest Lie in Poker
Point 34: Bizzaro Poker: Betting into Strength, Checking to Weakness
Point 35: One for the Mathoholics and Rippy

Next chapter:


Find all the chapters by soupie here.


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Win MTT Poker 11 - Betting and Checking
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