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The dangers of short-term thinking

📁 articles 🕔18.May 2018
The dangers of short-term thinking

In the tense and reactive world of poker, it’s very easy to be blinded by short-term thinking – thinking only of the here and now, or the current hand alone. Taking the long view, on the other hand, might cost you in the short-term but will lead you towards the long-term payoff. Here’s why:

Two-way streets

So it’s the flop (or turn, or river), and the card(s) turn over and…they’re great! You’ve got something! Maybe a pair, maybe a set, maybe a flush or a straight draw, but you’ve got something. That’s perfect, right? You should just go ahead and bet, shouldn’t you?

Well, no – at least, not without thinking about it because it’s crucial to remember that community cards are two-way streets. Just because your hand’s improved doesn’t mean your opponent’s hand hasn’t…and it might even be better than yours. For example, you might be holding pocket sixes and the flop brings another one, which is good. Less good, however, is that the flop also brought two kings and the other player bet as soon as he saw that board. So play smart and think things through on every street.

Speculative play

Many poker players tend towards a tight style of play. This tends to be particularly true among new online poker players in India. There’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but it can be good to play speculatively sometimes.

What do we mean by that? We’re talking about those hands when you don’t really have much going on and, under almost all circumstances, you’d be inclined to fold. However, staying in these hands a little longer can often give you information about your opponents – especially if you get them to go to showdown. Now, of course, we don’t mean to tell you to bet with garbage hands; but every now and then, playing when you otherwise wouldn’t might lose you the battle but win you the war.

When facing a shove

The natural instinct when somebody goes all-in is to match them, especially if you’ve got a halfway decent hand. It makes sense – poker players don’t play the game to back down, after all! However, it’s not always the best play. Stop and think about it a little – depending on your relative fortunes this far, you could be out of the game if you lose this hand. Is that really worth it? Is your hand really that good? Sometimes folding, and letting your opponent win in the short-term might let you stick it out long enough to win the long-term.

And winning the long-term is what we’re all here to do, right? Happy weekend, everybody – we hope yours is a winning one!

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