Your average brother really isn’t very good at poker, and though you know this it doesn’t stop you from trying your hand at it. You see your friend Bob and after a long discussion, Bob admits that he really hasn’t caught on to the game as much as he could. You suggest that maybe you play a little for charity, but when Bob suggests you play for “real” money, you can’t help but agree.
So you agree to play for “real” money at a local casino, and to bet on a “winner” to win big. You enter a tournament and are dealt Ace-King. The tournament is on Hold’em, and the players go through multiple rounds of betting. At this early stage, nobody is confident that anyone is even close to the best hand, and conservative players tend to fold as soon as they see a possible “winner”.
Bob and Alice have entered the same tournament, and though they are both pretty new, Bob has actually finished in the money in several events. However, Alice has a reputation for being a conservative player, and though she’s a good player, doesn’t represent the same level of competition as Bob.
So you enter the game, hoping to turn a profit. However, the play goes as expected; Bob and Alice are tight players, and typically call a raise as a small blind, fold their hand, and call a raise as a big blind.
The flop is dealt, and the cards are Ace, King, Queen, Jack. This is a good flop for you; you have a high pair, a fairly high kicker, and potentially a high flop. However, there are two potential hands that could beat you, a low and a high. You have to decide whether to stay in the game, as you have a good hand.
However, Bob is in a fairly good position. He has a high pair, a fairly high kicker, and a fairly high flop. If the cards don’t drop, he has a good chance of making a high final hand. However, if the cards do drop, he has a good shot at the pot.
You both decide to call, and the pot is brought to around $70. While you’re both still in the game, you both have around $400 in chips. The turn card is dealt and now it’s time to see if anything significant has happened.
The river card is dealt and now its time to see if either one has made a hand or not. This is when you’ll make your decision whether to play the hand or not. However, this is also the time when the blinds will probably be on you. You have to make a decision to protect your chip stack, and either get out of the game or play for a larger pot.
This is normally the time when people start to tighten up, because either they figured out what the heck they are doing, or they figured out what their opponents probably have, so they aren’t playing as loosely. By this time the blinds should be bringing a lot of pressure to your action, so you will want to make sure that you are betting aggressively, and by betting aggressive you will make it more difficult for your opponents to call for a steal.
Typically this is the time when you want to play towards the middle of the pack, although there is normally a lot of fish out there so you might want to stick around for a while. Typically when you get a hand like Ace King, you should bet it aggressively pre-flop, and continue to bet aggressive after the flop. Most of the time your opponents won’t have a lot of hands in this situation, and when they do, they won’t be raising, so you should probably fold.
However, there are situations where you can continuation bet and get a lot of leverage. If for example you have someone like Ace King and flop J-5-4, you should always continue to bet aggressive. Why you are betting aggressive is to suggest that your hand is not Composite, or not high card.
When someone raises in this situation, you should either come over the top of him, or call if you are on the button. Usually you will have the best hand here, and an ace or king on the flop is usually a premium hand. When someone bets, you should probably call, unless the person is very aggressive, in which case you should probably hit the flop. Having a hard time calculating your odds is a common problem that people have when they are trying to make this play, so you should always have a good sense of the table you are playing at.
When you make this play, make sure that the table you are playing has been described correctly. As far as knowing the tables? You should have at least three or four of the following criteria.