From Card Player magazine and poker aficionado Eileen Sutton comes the ultimate poker bible, The Total Poker Manual. This comprehensive manual demystifies the game, detailing everything readers need to know to play and win Texas Hold’em, Draw, Stud and more.
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Advanced Master Class articles from many of Card Player magazine’s leading contributors offer insight into topics such as playing big pairs, exploring poker’s mental game, beating low-stakes cash and more. Expert contributors include:
Vanessa Selbst Linda Johnson
Matt Matros Jennifer Harman
Ed Miller Maria Ho
Xuan Liu Leo Margets
Jared Tendler Randy Lew
Tommy Angelo Brian Rast
Kelly Minkin James Sweeney
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Tip 136: Enhance Your Strategy
The careful strategy worked for a lot of players for a lot of years. But with the prevalence of deep-stack tournaments on today’s poker scene, it’s essential that the modern player come up with something better: a more thoughtful strategy that includes a choice of lines that can be taken for a winning formula.
GET PAID Don’t be afraid to bet and get paid off. Even though pocket aces may be only one pair by the river, it’s the best hand. You should bet them for value even in a big pot if you expect to get called by a worse hand. True, an opponent may be concealing the nuts. But if he’s played passively to the river, and there are good hands he would’ve played passively that you beat, you must bet for value.
LEVERAGE AGGRESSION A friend of mine, a veteran pro, once reraised pre-flop with aces. He then bet the flop and turn, as his under-the-gun opponent continued to call his bets. By the river, the board was J-7-2-2-5. His opponent checked for a third time. My friend knew his opponent would have played queens or kings in just this way. He made a third bet on the river. His opponent check-raised and won with pocket jacks. But this kind of thinking and follow-through helps players go deep in tournaments. When you’re trying to win, you will sometimes go broke in spots that could have been avoided. But being fearless is an often a winning strategy.
DEFEND YOUR HAND In the hand above, the set of jacks was slow-played and the player acted passively by simply calling flop and turn bets. Yet when an opponent raises the turn or river, chances are they can beat your one pair every time. There’s nothing wrong with betting your aces for value against these players, hoping they’ll call with a worse hand and then folding to their raise, knowing they wouldn’t raise without a better hand. In general, prepare yourself for bust-outs with big pairs.