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Pot Limit & No Limit Poker : Play Poker

BETTING IN POKER GAMES

Betting Bully Strategy

PART 1

    There are certain poker players in many a poker game who constantly put pressure on the other poker players by raising and betting. He can be combated at limit poker by simply waiting for a good hand and then picking him off. If you wait for too long at big-bet poker, you might be backed into your shell for the whole poker game. You can be taken for cleaners if you find yourself in many big pots with insufficient values.

    The following ways will help you deal with the threat of the bully:

  1. Avoid short-handed poker play. With a few poker players at the table, bulldozing tactics are more effective. In a five-handed poker game, the bully will be in his element and he will be not be nearly as big a problem at nine-handed poker game.
  2. As the bully is playing everything under the sun, it is tempting to follow the suit. So, always play fewer starting hands. The correct way to think is “I need a better hand to enter into action as the pot is quite likely to get raised.”
  3. Never allow the bully run you into the nuts. Always keep in mind that you must beat all the poker players in play and not just him to win the pot. Instead of raising, it is generally better to call his bet if you hold a decent hand and if there are poker players who have checked or who are yet to act.

    It is a matter of intense discussion where to sit with such a poker player in the poker game. I feel that the worst is to the bully’s immediate left. You can put a great deal of pressure on the other poker players with a double raise as you have position on him.

    However, you will get run into good bad hands held by other poker players. Bullies are of various types. There are some who automatically bet every time you check . This type of poker player is one who you are less in need of having position on. Being on the right of such a poker player is absolutely fine.

    I would prefer to sit across from the poker player who shows you a lot of moves. I will have position on the bully about half the time and will know how the pot is going to develop because of this. Many poker writers do not agree with this. But I seriously doubt their experience in playing poker games.

  1. Against the bully, when you are lucky enough to snap a big hand, do not pull the trigger too soon. In many situations, check and call is superior to check and raise. In order to make the bully understand that if you check, it does not mean that you weak, you need to run the risk of being outdrawn.
  2. Before putting a play on any poker player, you should generally wait for a hand with nut outs. Three might be sufficient. This gives you the opportunity of winning the pot there and then or making your hand. As the chances of catching the bully completely out of line are pretty good, you might want to run a cold bluff against him. You should take a stand and not allow the bully to continuously push you into the corner.

PART TWO

    I was asked by Bob for my views on this topic. However, I don’t have to face aggressive poker players picking on me. Generally, it is the other way round. In a ring poker game, a rival poker player who just bets with any old hand is not too difficult to beat. You should wait until you have a good hand and then go for the kill.

    Other poker players in the poker game would do the same so that each pot becomes heads-up between the bully and one other poker player. You should carry on the work without complaining even though he might devastate you. All these aggressive poker players are very dangerous. I would prefer soft, weak poker player any day.

    Things aren’t easy when you are up against a strong, very aggressive poker player. Sometimes you should raise him on a bluff or bet into him. You are trying to take the steal-play away from him. If you appear defensive, it works to your advantage.

    You are more likely to get a lot of respect when you take action on your moderate hands and people will pass. When you have a bone cruncher, do not worry about failing to get the money in early as great hands do not come every hour.  Do not be afraid to acknowledge to yourself that you fear a particular poker player when you are up against the poker player whom you fear.

    An immensely important facet of good poker play is maintaining the correct psychological poker stance. To tackle pots with the live ones and steer clear of this rival poker player is the best thing you can do. Do not try to be fancy when you are in a pot with him. When you are sitting to the immediate left of the tiger and pass when he takes action, there is something to be said.

    When you are winning, just play the odds and raise the maximum but are frightened of an out-draw. You are not afraid because of the fact that he might win the pot. The reason for this is because you might have to face a big bet and you cannot come to know whether he is bluffing or not. Bully would be very pleased if you always pass.

    He will notice if you always call. Once, I was playing in a pot and my bluff was called. A poker player who had just lost an even bigger pot to me whispered to his girlfriend that it is impossible to tell what the other poker player holds. Obviously, this is the reason why I never bluffed him. Since, he could see other occasions where I was at it, he always called.

    Poker strategy of always checking strong hands to me was adopted by Alec Polski. He raised when I bet assuming that he was weak. When I understood this, I stopped betting with junk and drawing hands. Here, I was sometimes getting a free card. It is necessary to vary your play in poker. On some occasions, I would check my powerhouse straight back to him which would give rise to the peculiar scenario where conflagration took place much later in the pot than you might have expected.

    Some poker players in America will try to intimidate you verbally, physically or with money. Appearing to lie under this is not a bad thing to do. They will come to know about their mistake but it would be too late by then. Always keep in mind that strong means weak and a weak representation means strong which is well illustrated in Mike Caro’s “Book of Tells”.

    It is very unfortunate that many poker players are clued up on this, it is not such a giveaway. A significant minority of poker players not only want to win your money but also crush your ego. Therefore, they tell you that they are strong, bet strong and are going strong. And when you call, they scream with pleasure and keep on telling that they told so.

    In pot-limit poker, excellent bullying prospects are offered by seven stud poker. It is perfectly possible to bet the rival poker player out irrespective of your holding if your rival poker player’s boards look weak and they have shown weakness. Setting the scene early in the hand is a good thing to do.

    I am therefore happy in a multihanded action pot to make a small bet on fourth street with (6 6) 4 Q. Since, most of the poker players are afraid of generating a huge pot; few poker players will raise me with weak hands. If it is necessary, I can switch off on fourth street poker or try to power my way through and have been frequently successful in this.

    The size of the poker game is effectively increased by my small wager. This action is only understood by relatively sophisticated poker players. I build my hand after first building the pot. The pot size is tremendously increased as the pot continues. Most poker players think of the actual sum at risk whereas I try to think only in terms of percentage of the pot.

    Therefore, the other poker players are more prone to error as they are nervous. In pot-limit poker at poker omaha, I remember one poker player who used a delight in making a small wager after the flop with weak hands. To sit to his immediate left became a habit for me. Normally, after his bet came an instant raise from me unless I had a strong hand.

    One day a third party called which proved to be catastrophic. The original bettor passed and the pot was checked out. I had to show my miserable holdings as these were the rules. He easily came to know what I was doing and that was the end. In poker games such as draw or hold’em poker where you have less data to go on, the bully problem is exacerbated.

    You cannot simply allow the bully run all over you and eventually you need to take a stand against bully. However, assuming that you are playing in a poker game where there are other matters on your mind than this confrontation, I do not think that you need to fight back with virtually any hand. He might raise blind. Of course, you can select a battlefield where you know your strengths will come into play.

    Bob and me have expressed concern about our position at the table relative to other poker players. Nowadays, my main area of concern is to avoid the smokers!  Financial considerations always were secondary for me. Smoking has mercifully been banned from California poker cardrooms since the first edition of our book was printed. I hope that smoking will be banned in most Las Vegas casinos within a few years.



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