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Tilt and check-calling

There comes a time in every poker game where we recommend playing a pair or a very As though it’s a locked hand. It is scary and whenever friends are watching they tell you to stop, that you’re being crazy. Then at the showdown when they see the chips slide into your stack, they tell you that you got lucky. At about that time your heart beat will slow down and you can simply smile.

Here’s the layout. A medium stakes table full of medium to good players and maybe one bad one. The game has been pretty sideways, no swings and no excitement. One of the players at the table has had a run of bad luck – and he knows it because he can run the numbers and he shouldn’t have lost his last 3 or 4 hands in a row. He may have lost his stack but more likely he only lost a quarter or so because there hasn’t been too much action. All of a sudden he brings in more chips and has the max buy in again. Congratulations because you are about to have your stack + max buy in.

Our friend is now on tilt – but a special kind of tilt. One in which he needs action and he needs to be creating it. He won’t call on poor draws because he still has his wits about him. What he will do is try to buy too many hands.

Betting against this player equals losing. You want to check-call your way to the bank. It is simple -if you do bet and he calls you lose because somehow he hit and if you bet and he folds you lost because he would have bet it for you. These hands require winning the showdown.

Worse than being required to win the showdown these hands generally require calling more than the pot on the river. That means you need to play a little less than 40% of the Texas Holdem hands you are dealt. The theory being that you are each dealt winning hands ½ of the time. This of course is not so easy to tell preflop so pretty much play anything involving a card over 10 pre-flop plus connectors for the sake of it and in Omaha play closer to 70 percent of the hands making your main decision on the flop.

In Holdem on the river you are going to count on winning the showdown with any pair and a lot of the times with only a high card. In Omaha you are going to count on winning with an over-pair against a plain board, any two pair against a paired board, straights against flushes and full houses, high cards against boards that tripped up, 3 high flushes and pretty much anything that hit anything.

You should only be afraid of calling on the river when the bet is a small fraction of the pot (and he has a lot more ammo in his stack). It is clear in this situation that you almost certainly lost and it will be up to you to determine whether it has value to call or not. We usually recommend calling. In the worst case situation you have lost a marginal amount of money due to the river card. At the same time you are buying your opponent a false sense of confidence because he thinks he played the hand well and so he will do it again and within a couple of hands you should have made more than your money back.

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