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Always press the advantage
Always press the advantageArjun
Last week, we spoke about whennotfolding is the best move. Today, we’re going to take a look at the other side of that coin – when you need to be aggressive because you have the advantage, which is a rather more common problem withonline pokerplayers than you might realize.
Isit a common problem?
You’d be surprised! This is particularly prevalent among online poker players in India who are still in the early-to-middle stages of their poker journeys. Such relatively inexperienced players often choose to play it safe by adopting a ‘tight’ playstyle and only playing when they have hands they’re sure of. As a result, even when they venture out of this tight style of play, they tend to play cautiously even when they have strong hands.
Slow-playing vs. passive play
In poker terms, slow-playing refers to the practice of betting weakly (or just calling/checking) despite having a strong hand. It’s often used by players who wish to deceive their opponents and lead them into a trap, by making them think your hand is weaker than it is.
What we’re talking about here, however, is a failure to be aggressive when aggression is called for. We’re talking about playing hands not to be deceptive exactly, but just to get more money in the pot when you’ve got a very good chance of winning it. There is a place for slow-playing in online poker, but if you’re going to win real money, you’ll need to know when to be aggressive as well.
Types of hands to be aggressive with
In general, any hand that uses both of your hole card is going to be harder for your opponents to predict. Here are a few specific examples:
Pairing both of your hole cards with the board is a great place to be in, especially if your opponents suspect that you were chasing a flush or straight and didn’t make it.
Making a set with a pocket pair –especiallyif you make it late in the round, on the turn or river – doesn’t happen too often; so when it does, you’ve got to bet and make sure you get paid as much as possible.
A backdoor straight or flush is one that requires both the turn and the river to complete, and therefore is lower down the probability scale for most opponents when they try to figure out what you have. It’s even easier to hide if the board can cause significant action in another direction – for example, if the board creates the opportunity for a flush, you might be able to hide the fact that you’ve got abackdoor straightinstead, and so on.
Poker is a game of skill, but the cards don’t always fall in your favour – which makes it even more important that, when they do, you absolutely need to press home the advantage!