Sometimes the decision point for the whole hand comes on the Flop. The decision on whether to call or fold on the Turn and River is made along with the decision to call or fold on the Flop. This can occur if your opponent is steaming and you think there is a high probability that he is bluffing. Since he is on tilt, he is going to keep betting hoping that you will fold. This will happen more often in shorthanded games because players generally think they can bully their way through because there are fewer players that need to fold for them to win the pot. When the card that comes next is a scare card, such as an A, it usually only increases the chances that he will keep betting, since he wants to use it as a scare card against you. This means that against steamers, you should not let a scare card frighten you into folding as often.
Normally on the Flop, you would make your decision as to whether or not to call one bet into a pot of six bets without thinking too much about the Turn or River yet. However, if you have decided he is steaming and he is going to bet through the River no matter what comes, then your effective odds are much lower. In this case, the effective odds would be 9.5 to 5 or 1.9 to 1. If you win the hand, then you win 4.5 small bets pre-Flop (assuming you were in the big blind and the small blind had folded), 1 small bet on the Flop, 2 small bets on the Turn and 2 small bets on the River, for a total of 9.5 small bets. If you lose the hand, then you lose 1 small bet on the Flop, 2 small bets on the Turn and 2 small bets on the River.
You do not want to raise because you want him to keep bluffing. A raise may scare him off and force him to fold instead of bluffing. Meanwhile if he actually has a strong hand, a raise will cost you more money. Of course, the tradeoff of not raising is the risk of giving away a free card and having him actually catch a pair to beat you.
6/10/04 This is the third draft of the chapter on Shorthanded Common Mistakes in Hold'em Brain by King Yao. Please email feedback, suggestions, comments, opinions, questions to [email protected] or you could use the Feedback Form to email me at the bottom of the page.
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