One strike and you’re out!

Im sitting here and lamenting a mistake i made in a recent poker tournament, and figured it was worth mentioning. I think theres a transition from being an average player to becoming a good player or even a very good player. It has to do with your skill level of course, but more importantly the amount of risk you’re exposing yourself to.

Heres the situation: Im in late position holding KK. Blinds are 50-100. UTG raises to 500 (a good raise), 2 callers, now its my turn with one player left to act. My first instinct is to smooth call and trap…if a K or less hits the board (ie, no ace) I can pummel everyone. My second instinct is to raise big…theres already 1250 in the pot.  

So i made a mistake…i smooth called. In hindsight, i shoudl have raised it to at least 2,000. Most likely, unless im up against another big pair, everyone folds. AA would call or possibly reraise, something like QQ or JJ or AK on a weaker player may push here.

The hand turned out terrible for me…board flops Q J 2. Now im thinking im in great shape. BB bets out 2000. I figure “nice, hes on AQ” and bump it to 8K total. He instantly puts me all in for my other 4K in chips, i happily call. He flips a set of 2s. I lose.

So what went wrong? I played that hand as i would have 5 years ago, not as i do now. Recently my style has been tight-aggressive, even tight-hyperaggressive. I overbet, it pisses people off and makes them call me. This time i didnt, and it cost me the tourney (or at least a chance at the money).

So, my point in this rant is the more you try to trap, often the more risk you’re exposed to…especially with an overpair. Save your traps for sneaky straights, flushes, and sets. WHen you have a big pair, make people fold…don’t slowplay big pairs.

Raise on.

Leave a Reply