Observing other players while counting the pot

Example 1 Pre-flop action

The under the gun player raises. It is folded to the cutoff player who re-raises. Both blinds fold and the under the gun player calls. There are two players in for three bets each, so that is three big bets between the two of them. Add in the two blinds and we can approximate it as four big bets in the pot.

Action on the Flop

The under the gun player checks, the cutoff player bets and the under the gun player calls. That is an additional one big bet going into the pot, so now there are five big bets in the pot.

Action on the Turn

The under the gun player checks, the cutoff player bets and the under the gun player calls. That is an additional two big bets going into the pot, so now there are seven big bets in the pot.

Action on the River

The under the gun player bets and the cutoff player calls. The under the gun player turns over a straight which he caught on the River and wins the pot. You realize that with the pot being six big bets on the Turn, and possibly one more future bet to win on the River, the under the gun player should have expected to win seven big bets if he won the pot. With a straight draw, he should expect 8 cards as outs. 7 x 8 = 56, and since that is bigger than the number of non-outs, his call was a good decision.

Example 2

Pre Flop action

A passive player limps in middle position, the small blind completes and the big blind checks. Only three players see the flop for one bet each. The pot is 1.5 big bets.

Flop action Flop: K*8A54 Everybody checks.

Turn action Turn: 2v

Both blinds check and the passive player bets. The small blind folds and the big blind calls.

River action River: A4

The big blind bets and the passive player calls.

The big blind turns over 4 A3 A for a straight. He had picked up an open-ended straight draw on the Turn. It is obvious he needed to hit the straight to have any chance of winning, because it is very unlikely that the passive player would bet without a pair. The big blind should expect that he has 8 outs going into the River and 38 non-outs. There were only 1.5 big bets going into the Turn, and the bet by the passive player made it 2.5 big bets. If the big blind was expecting that the passive player would call a bet on the River, then he could expect 3.5 big bets as the expected pot size. This means the Good Number was 8 x 3.5 = 28, which is smaller than the Bad Number, 38. Even though he made his straight on the River, the call had a negative expectation. If he played this hand over and over again, he would wind up a loser to the passive player. You should use this hand to add to your opinion of the player in the big blind.

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