Poker: Flop a Set... Get away from it? Part II

I’m sure you can track career arcs of players how hit their big hands at critical spots in tournaments and the ones that didn't. Some become poker super-stars some become also rans. I read on some poker forums where people talk about the biggest hands of their lives and I’ve seen how one suck-out can propel an individual into a career in the game and how one bad beat can cripple a man and end his profession.

This is where luck is undeniably an element of the game. What poker player wouldn’t put his roll on the table if he just had to sweat a one outer. Course one outers come, and when they do they make somebody really happy and they make somebody else really upset. I’ve never had to accept losing such a huge pot for a big piece of my bankroll, but I find I generally make bad decisions when too much of my roll is on the line with a lot of cards to come. There has to be better poker strategy than that? Surely, there is.

Everybody takes shots, but let’s say you move up to a table where you are under-rolled and you take a bad beat for half your roll but everybody is a fish, even better they are passive fish that are broadcasting the strength of their hands, that will fold to any riverbet if they haven’t improved. You can take from them when they don’t have it, and get away from them when they Linkdo. So why not play?

Then later let’s say with one poker card to come you have a straight flush 89 of hearts in the hole with 10jQ of hearts on the board. The turn is a meaningless 2 of clubs. Your opponent is pretty obviously sitting on the A high flush and puts his chips into the middle. Before you sits every dollar you own (ever seen the Cincinnati Kid—similar but different proposition), including all the money you’ve outplayed your table mates for.

This guy has made a HUGE overbet and the pot is relatively small. What’s worse is the bad beat jackpot was just hit twice in a row and is at the minimum so there is no backdoor insurance if he hits his one outer. (K of hearts gives him a better straight flush). Okay let’s make it even more extreme they don’t offer a bad beat jackpot at all. Now what do you do? Of course you put your roll in. Why wouldn’t you fade a one outer. Even if there was 2 dollars in the pot before he put all the money in front of him, which equal every cent that your were worth, you’d put it in.

Let’s throw some other factors into it. Your mortgage is due if you don’t pay it you lose your house, you lose your house you’ll lose your wife and kids also nobody will ever give you a loan again. So you can’t start a new poker bankroll tomorrow or ask a friend in the room for help to get back into the soft game. You are a busto as busto can get. What do you do?

Tough hypothetical. You probably still shove. Though the right move might just be to let the guy have the two dollars in the middle of the pot and go back to grinding him down, especially if you know for a fact he’ll play with you as long as you like.

In online poker, besides the rise of Isildur1 these situations don’t arise very much, though in live poker similar hands can and have happen.
With far less extremes Sammy Farha cited a similar rationale in laying down to Moneymaker’s epic bluff. He thought he’d wear down the youngster and it was only a matter of time for him to win. Why risk it all when he could win it all later. Didn’t work out so well for Sammy…

More to come...


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