Physical Tells

In the wonderful poker movie The Rounders, Teddy-KGB is undone when Matt Damon's character discovers his tell. If Teddy holds an Oreo cookie up to his ear, breaks it, and eats it, he has a monster hand. (He's psychologically devouring his opponent, you see.) If he merely listens to it break and puts it back in the tray, he's bluffing. As a result, the hero is able to break Teddy and survive with his bankroll and neck intact. If only real life were that easy Teddy's quirk is an example of a...

Fifth Street

Question Should you bet on the end Answer The third spade came, so if he was drawing to his flush, he just hit it. However, he hasn't been betting as though he had a drawing hand. He led out after the flop, and again on fourth street, when he could have checked and gotten free cards. If you have a feeling that he's been bluffing, you should check to induce one last bluff. If he's been bluffing, that will be his last chance to win the pot. If you don't think he's been bluffing, you should check...

Your hand KKT

Player C raises to 200. Player D folds. The pot is 350. Question Do you raise, and if so, how much Answer You want to raise here, obviously, but you don't want to raise too much. You want him to call so you can make some money. I'd recommend a raise to about 600. If he calls and an ace comes on the flop, well, that's the way it goes sometimes. But you don't want to chase out some medium pair here. Action You actually raise 800. The big blind folds. Player C...

Your hand QQ

Answer You should certainly raise with Q Q4b in first position. The only question is How much With aces or kings, a good raise is 120, twice the big blind. It's a significant bet, but not so large that it discourages action. You welcome action with hands that strong. With queens, it's a little different. Now you're not so eager for action. If players call you with ace-x or king-x and an ace or king flops, you're in big trouble. So you've got to cut down the...

Elements of a Hand

A hand in no-limit hold 'em has many facets, only one of which is the cards you hold. A good player considers all elements of the hand before making a play. Here are the basic elements 1. What's the status of the tournament 2. How many players are at your table 3. Who are the players at your table 4. How does your stack compare to the blinds and antes 5. How big are the other stacks at your table 6. Where do you sit in relation to the aggressive and passive players 7. What bets have been made...

Controlling Pot Odds

The goal of all forms of poker is to avoid making mistakes while inducing as many mistakes as possible from your opponents. Every time you make a mistake, you lose, and your opponents gain. Every time you induce a mistake from your opponents you gain, and they lose. These gains and losses don't occur immediately. You may make a bad mistake and still win a hand and pull more chips into your stack. But in the very long run, your results at the poker table Will approach the sum of all your...

The Hidden Luck Factor in NoLimit Hold Em

Everyone knows that there's a lot of luck in poker. But not everyone appreciates exactly how much luck is involved, or the various forms that luck can take. When we see someone stay alive by hitting a 45-to-l shot on the river, we all say What luck In this hand, we might think that Sam Farha was very lucky to hit trips on the flop and indeed he was but we might not notice some of the other big lucky swings in the hand. For instance, let's go back and look again at my decision to just call,...

When the Bad Card Hits

You're playing a solid hand, and you believe your opponent is on a draw. On fifth street, a card hits which either puts three flush cards on the board, or seems to help a hand drawing at a straight. Your opponent bets. What do you do There are no easy answers to questions like this, but here are a few guidelines. 1. If he's betting at two or more people, fold. It's just too likely that one of you is going to call him, and he knows that, so his bet represents real strength. 2. If he is a known...