Posted 17 February 2007 - 05:12 PM
Waiting till the turn for more information:Another bone of contention I have with certain authors is the theory that you should play your hands aggressively on the flop so as to better define your hand, and at the same time, to gain more information from your opponents. This theory is actually very effective in limit hold’em, but that theory doesn’t translate well to no limit tournaments. The main reason for that, is simple: it’s too expensive. In limit hold’em, a raise represents just one extra unit, but in no limit hold’em, if you are going to raise someone on the flop to “find out where you are at” it will cost you a pretty penny. Let’s look at an example:With blinds at 50-100 a player from early position makes it 300 and you call with Ah Jh. The big blind calls so three of you see the flop: Ad 8s 3h. The big blind checks and the pre-flop raiser bets out 800. If you were to raise him here, a standard raise would cost you about, say, 2400 in chips. So let’s say you do that, the big blind folds, and now the first raiser calls the bet. What information have you gained exactly? What if the under the gun player re-raises you? Well in this case, it would seem as though you’ve gained some valuable information and your AJ is likely behind. You could fold and take your 2400 loss.Now, in this same situation, let’s look at the benefits of just calling on the flop and you’ll see that all of the information that cost you 2400 on the flop, you can get with an 800 call on the flop coupled with a reevaluation on the turn.So now you just call on the flop and the big blind folds. The turn card is a Q and now your opponent bets 1600. You still aren’t sure if your AJ is the best hand, but the fact that your opponent bet again should lean you towards thinking that you are beat. Since you are unsure, though, you call the 1600. Now, at this point, it’s cost you the exact same amount of chips had you raised on the flop, the only difference is that you’ve made it all the way to the river. To help you figure out the best course of action on the river you have the following information: My opponent raised before the flop and followed through with a continuation bet on the flop. I called the bet, a Queen hit the turn yet my opponent wasn’t afraid and bet once again. I called that bet as well, so if my opponent makes a big bet at the river he has to know that I have a strong hand and am not on a draw. That’s a lot of information. Your opponent could still bluff you on the river, but the same could be said about his flop re-raise. He may be coming over the top of you on the flop with a weaker ace, or just as a bluff.There is one other key benefit to smooth calling on the flop in this situation rather than raising: you allow yourself a chance to suck out! If your opponent has, say, AK, bets the 800, you make it 2400, and now he re-raises you off the hand, you’ve just lost 2400 with no chance to get lucky. However, if you just call the flop, you could get really lucky and spike a Jack on the turn or river. Or, you could even make a backdoor flush with the hand and possibly win a big pot. The only thing that’s better about raising on the flop is that you protect your hand from being outdrawn when you are ahead, and you also get information about your opponents hand quicker. Getting outdrawn with AJ on an A-8-3 rainbow flop should be the least of your concerns. If you are in the lead, then you will be substantially in the lead. A worse ace can only hit one of three kickers, and a pocket pair can only hit one of two cards. The biggest threat is a total of five outs if your opponent has a hand like 8-9. That’s hardly something to be overly concerned about. As for the other benefit, who cares “when” you find out your opponent has you beat? If it costs you no less to see the river, but it takes longer to come to the conclusion that your opponent has you beat, how could that hurt you in the least?