Avoiding Bad Beats in Online Poker

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As I have been seeing loads of posts and rumble around because members have been suffering BAD-BEATS... I thought I would post you some points to be aware about playing poker.

First of all - lets start with the obvious... Don't go all in unless you have the nuts! (-or can get your opponent to believe you have it)

PLAY THE RIGHT HANDS and fold the crap
Posted some advise about this here: http://wassonline.com/poker-forum/showthread.php?t=25949

There is also some advice there about what to bet on them - but in general - if your hold cards are in the top 5-6, you should bet them strong preflop, to get all those holding rags to fold. AND - furthermore - the better they are, the harder they should be played to protect them. If they all fold - so be it.
The biggest mistakes I see happen ALL the time - are folks thinking that there pocket A or K are unbeatable...
- but FFS - that's still just ONE PAIR.... the second LOWEST poker hand you can have.

IF you chose to play those top5-6 starting hands weak, because you hope to set a "trap" - you will very often end up trapping yourself, because you chose to give away free or cheap cards to your opponents.

Personally I just LOVE to play against players that I know will "try to set traps" based only on there hold cards. Playing them makes me call with just about any two suited or connected cards,- because the odds preflop of me hitting a better hand with rags are 3 or 4 times out of 10... but the implied pot odds (the possible pot size at the end) makes it a bet really worth taking (limping in I mean).

I do actually make notes on anyone I play with regarding this,- and if one of them limps in - so do I with just about any two cards.

So - the better your hold cards are - the stronger you should play them PREFLOP!

And with "stronger" I do mean a bet difficult to call with rags - say 5-8 x BB - but NEVER all in unless 5-8 x BB is almost your entire stack!!!

Avoiding bad beats in online poker after the flop:

- is the time to really evaluate what hit the board. As the headline of these notes is "How to avoid the bad beats" - I'll talk from the assumption that the hold cards are one of the top 4 - AA, KK, QQ, JJ and that you HAVE bet preflop accordingly.

You are holding kings and just one opponent called your preflop 6xbb bet. Now - we must now expect the opponent to be holding fine card also - or a complete donk holding rags. Still anything is possible.

Of cause lots also depends on your opponents playing style and what reads HE have on YOU - who is first to act and a lot more... but in general terms...:

Flop hits the board showing Jh - 10c - 8h

If you are first to act - you don't have a freekin' clue of what he holds - so start analyzing what could HURT you on the board as it is, and what if we allow seeing the turn card.

The obvious risk - you are already beat cus he is holding pocket AA or have hit trips on the flop. Nothing else could beat you at this point. (as it's unlikely he called your initial bet with Q-9 or 9-7).

Question: could he have that with your initial preflop bet in mind? Answer is YES - is it likely - YES
there are two harts = possible draw to a flush (9 outs to hit or 1:4,1 risk that the turn card is a hart)

Question: could he have that with your initial preflop bet in mind? Answer is YES - is it likely - YES
there are two consecutive cards = possible straight draw if he holds QK or pocket pair 9 (or a donk with A9) - (8 outs to hit or 1:4,75 risk that the turn card is giving him the straight)

Question: could he have that with your initial preflop bet in mind? Answer is YES - is it likely - hmm, not much but possible
- or both straight and flush giving 15 outs to hit or 1:2 risk he hit if holding KQh

Question: could he have that with your initial preflop bet in mind? Answer is YES - is it likely - hmm, not much
He's holding AK or AQ having only 2 or 3 outs to hit the gut shot straight + 3 outs to hit his pair A or say about 1:6,66 that he will hit that.

Question: could he have that with your initial preflop bet in mind? Answer is YES - is it likely - yes very likely he called you with AK or AQ - perhaps even suited in harts

We don't KNOW anything yet - so what you have to do now after the evaluation is to decide - how expensive should it be for him to see the turn card. Do I even dare letting him see it?

With the above in mind:

we could already be beat with aces or trips, and he's HOPING for a strong bet it's pretty likely he could be having AK, AQ, KQ or 99 that COULD hurt me - giving him odds between 4:1 and 6:1

I have to place a bet that....:still allow me to get off the hand again without being pot committed gives the opponent bad pot odds to call my bet with a draw
In this situation I would place a bet that big, that it will cost my opponent between 30 and 50% of the combined stack to call,- offering him a 1:3 or 1:2 return on his bet to call.

Basically - I don't want him to call as I don't like the odds seeing the turn card. BUT - IF he calls me,- I'm getting good odds to win a fine pot.
- and still if he comes over the top on me or move it all in - I will have to decide to stand down believing him to have aces or trips, or take on the fairly good bet given to me, as my hand is likely to be in front and could also be further improved with wither K or Q (6 outs)

Figures... - just to clarify:

SB/BB = 50/100
Preflop pot: 2 tried to limp in + sb and bb. Me betting 6xbb and one of them called = 1450 in the pot.
Post flop bet should be 1000 - pot now 2450 and it costs 1000 to call = 2,5:1
- so he's pot odds is 1:2,5 with odds to win 1:4 to 1:6 = bad deal

Now - there's nothing we can do against the pure amateurs just recently started playing poker, - or the wildly aggressive players with a big chip stack. They will call or even raise you, regardless of the above well sized bet.... All you CAN do is to ensure that IF they play you bet, you offer them a bad return on there investment.
So IF called, you will have to go thru the same evaluation again - what did the turn card change - did the hart show - or the 9 or A... or a K giving you trips but also a possible nut straight..? Calculate the risk and place a bet accordingly. If danger has shown on the board - place a fair bet and see what pot odds the opponent will give YOU to call if he raises you.

The Dice:

Another way to explain the pot odds is with a dice. It has 6 sides with numbers 1 to 6. Statistically the numbers come out 100% equally and the chance of hitting one specific number is 1:5 (For every 6 rolls with the dice - one will hit your number and five will not hit)

Now - if two guys bets on rolling the dice - and the bet is that the one wins if a 6 shows and the other wins if that 6 DON'T show... The odds on it is 5:1. Should they give them self a fair deal, this bet should cost 1$ for the one playing on the 6 to come and 5$ for the one betting it will NOT be a 6.
If they roll the dice 600 times - they will have won the same amount - both still be on zero.

BUT - should you come over one of those wildly aggressive players or someone that don't care about the "POT ODDS", - you could offer him 3:1 on his money - winning only 3$ if he hits the 6 but still costing him 1$ to play.

Roll the dice again those 600 times and you would have won 500 and he would have won 360.

Point is not to "beat the odds" but to keep on giving your opponents a bad deal if they wanna play with you.

- you will still suffer bad beats,- but in the long run you will break them playing your POT ODDS and not your GUT ODDS.

Last comment in regard to avoiding bad beats in online poker will be about the term "Being pot committed". First of all - that's total and absolute crap. It's all just feelings,- "cry baby cry... I have put so many chips in this pot that I cant fold now"... CRAP I TELL YA!!!

If you aint given the pot odds worth playing - FOLD and fight another day. Simple as that. I get FURIOUS when I see someone saying "I know you got me beat - but I'm pot committed and have to call now"... just to see that they where right and they ARE beaten.

Feelings like that have NO place in a poker game, and if you often find yourself in this situation - calling with bad pot odds, just because "it's your chips laying in the pot"... you should seriously consider to stop playing poker.

If the pot odds aint worth playing - then f***in' don't!

- This way and ONLY this way will you long term be the winner.


Bluffs are an important part of the game also - but please, please... make your bluffs LOOK like you have done the math and are playing the pot odds. If betting way to high you shout to heaven "BLUFFING" - and to little - you still give away free cards.

- so a bluff also needs to give bad pot odds to your opponent with the options shown.



Posted to Gambling911.com May 29, 2008 8:59 am EST