Flop ATV

Action: The big blind checks. What do you do?

Answer: After a dubious opening, you've hit a fantastic flop. The only downside are the two spades sitting out there. With three opponents, there's a reasonable chance that someone has a draw to a flush.

You've got two goals here. You almost surely have the best hand right now, so you want to get more money into the pot. But you don't want to bet so little that any drawing hands are getting the right price to draw. A pot-sized bet usually accomplishes both goals. It's big enough to chase out the weak hands and the drawing hands, but not so large that someone with ace-x or a pair of tens can't think about calling you. You should bet between $170 and $200 here.

Action: You actually bet $300. Player E calls. Player G and the big blind fold. The pot is now $770.

You bet too much, but your decision worked because you did get a caller.

Player E, by the way, has almost certainly blundered. He should have either folded or gone all-in. By calling, he's left himself in a position where the pot is $770 and he has only $490 left. If he had a hand that was good enough to continue to play, almost any future betting will offer him such great pot odds that he will have to stay in the pot, and eventually all his chips will go in the center. If that's the case, he's better off betting them now, since that move has some chance of driving you out. (Remember, from his point of view you may be bluffing.)

You'll sometimes hear talk around the table about a player "making a decision for all his chips." Calling here is just that sort of decision. When you're contemplating a call in the middle of a hand, always compare your remaining chips to the pot. As your stack gets small relative to the pot, it's an indication that your real choice is not between folding and calling, but between folding and going all-in.

Fourth Street: 74

Question: What do you do?

Answer: That's a good card for you. It's not a spade, and it's lower than your ten, so someone staying around with ace-seven is still losing to you. It would be crazy for someone with sevens to have called your last bet, so this card couldn't have helped your opponent — therefore it helped you by default.

You have to bet here, and you have to bet a good amount to shut out a flush draw. You have $730 left, and Player E has $490. I'd say the minimum bet is about $300. You could also go all-in — nothing really wrong with that. You're committed to the hand in any case.

Action: You bet $320, and Player E goes all-in for an extra $170. The pot is now $1,580. Do you call?

Answer: Of course. He may have a set of trips, but he might have an ace that you can beat. At any rate, the odds are irresistible.

Action: You call. He shows A4J*. The river is a 6¥. You win.

Your only real mistake this hand was playing it in the first Place, and a slightly over-enthusiastic bet after the flop. But a great flop gave you plenty of cover, and you made some good Hioney.

Hand 6-16

Situation: Early in a single-table online tournament. No solid information on the players yet.

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