Poker in the last decade has changed a lot, so aggressiveness is in power. Gone are the days when, in online poker or casino, you could fold without any regret any hand smaller than the largest pair completed on the flop. This is because, in the long run, you will lose the profit you expect. However, you must know exactly when, how and why to use a weaker hand, by means of which you get deeply involved in a pot. Because otherwise you risk falling into the other extreme: you become a calling station, and chance dominates your evolution. You need, therefore, to find a balance, to know when it is worth exposing yourself with a hand that can be or is even beaten on the flop.
Calling with a smaller hand than the top pair obtained after the first three cards appear can be difficult when you don’t have enough chips. Many believe that you find yourself unreasonably long and move on to a plan where you rely more on assumptions. But, if you give up too often so quickly, it’s even more dangerous in terms of your long-term stack. Thus, at times you need to get involved with a seemingly weaker hand, especially if you have enough data to justify your call. In the following we will refer to the factors that determine you to make the right decision. You will not have to guess what your opponent has, but you need to pay attention to certain critical details.
1. Your opponent
First of all, you must always know against whom you are evolving. It is absolutely necessary to study your opponent. And when you are not involved in one hand, pay close attention to the patterns of others at the table. There are vital data that you can obtain and which will subsequently help you make the right decision.
Look first how often it comes with a continuation bet on the flop. You should also know how often you use the check variant after the first three common cards appear. You also need to know before making the decision to call, how aggressive it is on the next street. What does he do after a C-bet on the flop? Does he keep firing, or does he keep the pot under control? These are essential aspects, which take into account the betting trends of the other. By knowing them, you will have an extra chance to make a good decision.
Some always go for the check on anything else except the top pair, others make bets only if they have at least the largest pair. While aggressive players are accustomed to raising cams on any rainbow board and not posing an imminent danger. Learn all these patterns from the evolution of others and you will know very well when to go further than the flop and when not.
A general rule however says that you should be less inclined to call with a hand like the “second pair on the flop” if your opponent is accustomed to coming up with a new “fire” on the tower. Even if you may be in front, you will have to involve too many chips in the pot, with a marginal hand. And in the long run, such an approach means a big blow to the bankroll.
2. Board texture
One of the most important factors when deciding whether or not to pay a flop bet is related to the texture of the books.
There are boards that may have helped the opponent and boards that may not have completed anything. You need to know what the opponent ranks and how it fits with the first three common cards.
Let’s look at an example to better understand what we’re talking about. You have 8-9 clover, and the flop is J-9-2 different symbols. You have the second pair, but the opponent goes for the C-bet. You know he’s a tight player, so his range is pretty limited. As a result, he hit the top pair only if he had a starting hand like A-J, K-J, Q-J or J-10. There are not many variants and it is quite likely that this time he will try a play, a bluff. On the other hand, if the same opponent makes a bet on a flop like A – 9 – 5, with two wires, things change. This time he has a number of variants that fit his range: not only the pair of aces must put you on guard, but also an eventual draw. In the latter case, there are many more variants for his range, so you should give him more credit.
Important in this regard is to learn how to raise pre-flop, specifically the size of the bet depending on the hand. This will give you a valuable indicator on its range, which gives you additional information once the flop is lowered.
3. Outs and equity
Without it, maybe you should be more inclined to call as the number of cards that improve your hand (outs) is higher.
The objective is to get your opponent on the wrong foot when you pay, but you must also have a plan B. You need equity and outs to be available, if he has a better hand and continue to “fire” on the next street.
Let’s take another example, to understand better. Suppose you are at a cash table, with $ 1 / $ 2 blinds, and the stacks turn around $ 200, the table being at the beginning.
You are in the big blind in the discussed hand and a regular player increases to $ 6 from the middle position. The flop comes Q cup – 6 spades – 3 spades. Go for the check, and the opponent makes a C-bet of $ 10. Which hand would you rather call? 8 hearts – 8 clover or 6 spades – 7 spades?
Although the pair of options seems better at this point, looking at the hand with which you would give a much quieter call is the second. Because, if you had options, there are only two outs that can significantly improve your hand (the other two options in the package). On the other hand, in the case of 6-7 suited, things are totally different: you can expect the other two sixes, but also the three seven available. In addition to these five books, you have the runner-runner option for color and straight. A hand that is hard to detect by your opponent, as long as it is completed. Therefore, you have every reason to prefer a call with 6-7 suited, at the expense of being involved in the pot with the pair of options. A “B” plan always adds equity to your hand.
In conclusion, when you want to call on the flop with a hand weaker than the maximum pair, always take into account the image of your opponent, the texture of the board and how it is in the other’s range, but also the outs on the other. which you have at your disposal.