Calling Chip Stacks, Not Hole Cards

I would rather call against multiple limpers then re-raised my middle pair to isolate in the early going.  You are likely to get better long term value from set mining cheaply. In the early stages, loads of players are correctly playing for implied odds. If you raise it that much, it’s still not a big hit to thier situation, and you will likely NOT get others to fold. You end up most times trying to decide whether to continuation bet into an overly large pot with over cards on the board and it all gets a bit too much like hard decisions for me.Sure you can open raise, but if there are multiple limpers I would just avoid attacking them when everyone is comfortable stacks and mzones.

You also can’t forget about the 2:1 odds. If the pot is 1.Five big blinds, with one caller, which makes it two now.5BBs. You now decide to raise to three big blinds, making the pot five.5BBs and the limper (assuming everyone else folds) has to call 2BBs to see a flop with 5.five big blinds in it. So your opponent is getting nearly three to one odds by calling.

You have to consider the fact that you’re likely to never be worse than a three to one under dog pre-flop. However there is a problem. Maybe even more than one problem.

Firstly your problem is bet-ability of a marginal hand. You might have 95s and might be up against AK. The flop comes down 5 J Q. You are in front by quite a long way, but can you put much money into this pot? What about the continuation bet? But what if you just bet into the pot? What happens when he calls? Do you fire again on the turn? How deep a hole are you going to dig for yourself with your bottom pair hoping that it is good?

What about if you have 33 pre flop? With three big cards flopping, you can theoretically assume your opponent miss the flop, but you are stuck with how much to bet since it missed you as well?

Sure you had right odds preflop here, but you are assuming you can get to showdown as well. But when everyone has a lot of chips you can’t do it. You are going to have to play 3 more streets of poker before you get to showdown.

However there is another problem as a result. You are out of position and that’s not good poker tournament strategy. What this also means is that when you do actually hit the flop, the pots will be smaller. You will also lose more chips, because your opponent can bet you off a better hand because he has position.

So really, for these deep stack situations, pot odds are completely irrelevant IMHO. This is where you should be measuring up your opponents stack.. i.e. what is the size of my chip stack and my opponents chip stack. I’ll call with a massive range when the bet is 5% or less of the effective stack. If they have AA, and I have 53s, all the better. I want them to have AA when I am playing 53s for a raise. When it gets higher, like ten percent, I am more likely to fold. But in all of that the only thing I am thinking about is the size of the bet I have to call compared to the effective stack.

I might have 56s and be up against AK. But unless I make and OESD, Flush draw or 2 pair or better, I will be surrendering pretty much every pot on the flop especially if I am OOP. Occasionally I might check call on a low board with a low pair, but still there would have to be some read to make me do that.

In Gus Hansen’s poker tournament strategy book, he often sounds angry at himself for calling early position raises from his big blind blind. The reason is that he keeps getting faced with all these tough post flop decisions. Now he has physical tells to work with, and, as mentioned, he is Gus Hansen. We don’t have physical tells and we are not Gus. Take into account, your opponent is weaker than the players Gus plays against. Whether you are up against people who are capable of folding strong hands or whether they just can’t surrender TPGK is an important distinction.

If the pre-flop bet isn’t going to hurt you much, then look to the potential stacking off your opponent. Hey, you may play the hand anyway, but look at it from an implied stand point, not just pot odds. You have to know how to calculate poker odds when getting into hands like this becuase it may very well determine your long term success in tournaments. Just knowing Poker rules are not enough to win, you need strategy too.