Whether you have been playing poker for years, just started or you have been watching all the poker tournaments on TV, you need to know that you can and need to lay down your losing hands. Now this can be a tough thing to do especially when you flop the nuts or catch them on the turn. However, you always need to be aware what the nuts are and what will beat your nuts and make them a loser.
Let us take a small look at a few hands and what you should do if you land them.
Ok so you get pocket queens and raise pre-flop. You get 3 people to call your raise of 500 and then the flop comes 3s, 9c, Jc. You will fire a bet out there to chase the little guys away of let’s say $500. You only get one caller. Now on the turn comes your Queen and it is a heart however there is now a straight possible.
Most people that are inexperienced will fire out in the pot and not worry about the straight, but if you do that, you’ll just be asking for trouble. There is however the “testing the water” theory and that is… fire out a smaller bet, let’s say $200, just to see where you opponent is at. How hard he comes over the top of you may tell you what kind of hand he has. If he just calls, be worried and check to him next round. If he slams you hard, one of two things has happened. First, he made his hand or second he is trying to steal a big pot. Generally you need to know how your opponents play and what and when they bluff. In general they will offer you many tells at a live game. In an online game, they offer you tells by how fast or slow they bet and what they bet.
I was just in a game last night and this is exactly what happened to me. Since I know my opponent really well and have played many hours with him, I know that when he came over the top of me he was bluffing so I snapped on him and jumped all-in. As I figured, he did not call because he was still looking for his flush and trying to buy the pot in a cheaply manner. I really got lucky there as we rabbit hunted (checked what the next card was that came out) and he would have made his flush on the river!
Now lets look at another monster… Player 1 is in the big blind and with no raises. He plays K 2 off suit. 6 people limp into the pot and on the flop comes Kd, 2h, 7s. Player one fires out a bet of 300 and all but one player folds. On the turn, comes 9h and player one fires out $2000. This would make most drawing hands leave, but again, the other player just flat calls. In the mind of the K2 he has to think that the other guy might have him beat. Let us look at what might beat his two pair… A higher two pair or a 3 of a kind and the chances are that this guy is really just on a pair. So on the river comes Ah. Well, glancing over at his opponent he sees him reaching for chips and make player one think long and hard before betting. But player one has been playing for a long, long time and instead of firing a bet out there he checks and the other player go’s all-in. What should you do in this situation either call of fold? In this case the player that went all-in stayed around for runner-runner and hit.
Player one folded 2 pair because he knew there would be another hand and with players willing to stay to the river for runner-runner even though it cost him this hand, it was better to maintain the chip lead at his table than to call the all-in and hurt his stack.
The other player was happy and turned over his nut flush. Just to show us all he had him beat, 30 minutes later that player was out of the tournament and the other guy, player 1, he was well ahead in chips at the time. Always remember you are never pot committed, you can always lay down a hand unless you are all-in. If you know that you are beat just lay it down. Play another hand and you may just come back and make money. All too often players give up and say “what the hell” going all-in and do not realize that even though they only have 700 chips left (and they once had 25000) what is another 700? Well what it is, is your tournament life and it only takes a chip and a chair with a dash of luck and you can be right back in it. Good luck all and remember a bet saved is a bet won!