Poker Articles

Suited Connectors in SNGs

Suited connectors are usually highly playable hands in deep stacked cash games. As a matter of fact, suited connectors, together with small pocket pairs and suited one-gappers are some of the best implied odds starting hands. How do these implied-odds hands retain their value in SNGs though?

The answer to that is in short-stacked cash games. Since SNGs seldom give players the possibility to enjoy the advantages of a large stack, suited connectors will have the same value in them as in short-stacked cash games: not nearly as playable as in a deep stacked cash game.

The value in suited connectors is in the possibility of making either a flush or a straight. Such hands don’t come about nearly as often as one would like to, which means that you’ll have to invest a serious amount of chips into them, before you do make a good hand and get an opponent all-in to recover all your losses and to make some profit too.

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The semi bluff

Bluffing is one of the most sensitive issues in poker. The reason why it’s so sensitive is that while it’s wildly popular, few players can get it right. Blind bluffs are among the most frequent beginner mistakes, and for most players they remain a problematic issue well after they can no longer be considered rookies.

There are two basic types of bluffs: the pure bluff and the semi-bluff. The pure bluff is about players firing out a bet in the hope of making all their opponents fold. A pure bluff only offers the bluffer one way to win the pot: by making everyone fold.

A semi-bluff on the other hand, offers the protagonist two ways to win. He can either take the pot down by making the other players fold, or he can hit his draw to take down a huge pot if his bluff gets called.

Here’s an example of a semi-bluff: you hit a four–card flush on the flop, and you bet into your opponents, attempting to push them out of the pot. If they fold, your semi-bluff is successful. If they call, you still stand a pretty good chance to hit your flush on the turn or the river and to make the best hand, in which case your opponents will lose a great deal of money.

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Free card

The free card is a community card you do not have to pay (call a bet) to see. The free card is a double edged sword: on one hand, you’d like to be given as many free cards as possible on your drawing hands, on the other you do not want to give your opponents any of these free cards.

The free card is the beginner poker player’s biggest enemy. One of the most frequent mistakes beginners make is that they play too many starting hands and that they take their drawing hands way too far.

Now then, while doing this, they offer their opponents countless free cards, while their more experienced foes never give them a break, especially if they realize they’re faced with a clueless rookie. What this results in is that the rookie will throw away a bunch of money chasing his draws, and he won’t be able to cash in on the good hands that he makes.

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A little story about value bet bluffing…

By Shawn Rice

I’d like to talk to you about something that came up the other night while playing live poker.

A player named Cody and I get involved in a pot. We are playing NL Holdem cash game; I raised to $60 from mid position with 9c 9h. Cody completes from the big blind for $40 more the flop comes Jc Tc 6h. Cody checks, I bet $90 into a $130 pot Cody calls. The turn card is 3d. Cody checks again and I decide to play the player whom I have played many hours with here. I check the turn because the pot is now $310 and Cody has $650 in front of him and I know if bet the turn and get called or raised I must have the worst hand here and drawing to only 2 outs. I hate to give free cards here because any card from a 7 to an Ace or a clubs is a bad card for me. But I also know by checking Cody will 100% bet the river no matter what comes on 5th street. The river was the 2d and I was a little surprised when he went all in on the river betting $650 into a $310 pot. My first instinct was to call because why would he bet so much into a $310 pot?

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Fundamental Theorem of Poker and Morton’s theorem

In a recent post I wrote about the benefits of playing a non-optimal strategy in poker. I also briefly illustrated the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, introduced by David Slansky, the father of modern poker:
Anytime you are playing an opponent who makes a mistake by playing his hand incorrectly based on what you have, you have gained. Anytime he plays his hand correctly based on what you have, you have lost.”

Today I’d like to show the limits of the theorem and the support given by what is nowadays known as the Morton’s Theorem with some maths.

Against Fundamental Theorem of Poker, Morton’s Theorem states that in multi-way pots, a player’s expectation may be maximized by an opponent making a correct decision.

But actually David himself intended to apply his theory to head-to-head situations, which involve only two players. So when one theorem falls, another comes in support.

The most common application of Morton’s theorem occurs when one player holds the best hand, but there are two or more opponents on draws. This situation may happen many times during a poker tournament. In this case, the player with the best hand might benefit from the absolutely “correct” decision of her opponent to fold to a bet.

Morton proposed an example very similar to the following one to prove his thesis.

Consider in a limit hold’em game the following situation:

Flop       –> KS9H3H
Player A   –> ADKC (top pair and best kicker)
Opponent B –> AHTH (9 outs for the flush draw)
Opponent C –> QC9C (4 outs — not the QH which gives the flush to the opponent B)

Turn       –> 6D

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