PART II August 7th 2007
PART I August 3rd 2007
Lessons from Phil Ivey
Getting Paid on a Monster
October 26th 2007
One of the most profitable situations in poker is one in which you've flopped a monster and someone else is betting into you. It's an incredible feeling but, alas, one of the rarest occurrences in the game.
In reality, making money when you've flopped a great hand is one of the hardest things to accomplish in any game. It takes a combination of factors to get your opponents to bet into you - or even call your bet. But just because it's difficult doesn't mean it can't be done. Keep the following tips in mind the next time you flop the nuts, and you may just be able to increase your stack substantially.
Pay attention to the board's texture. Sometimes you'll flop a monster and can't get paid no matter what you do. Most often, this will happen on a really scary board like A-A-K rainbow. There are just very few hands that your opponent could be holding where he'd even consider putting chips into the pot.
Now, change things up just a little and say you've flopped a boat on a board of Ah-Kh-Ad. With a potential flush draw out there, you now have two things working in your favor; your opponent may think you're on the flush draw or he may be on the draw himself. Either way, you're much more likely to get action if you bet this board than you would on the rainbow flop.
The fact is you're probably not going to get your opponent to put anything into the pot unless he's connected with the board in some way. Sometimes this means checking your monster down to the river in hopes that he catches something that makes him think his hand is good.
Size your bet to your opponent. This is a concept that takes a little work to master but is based on a simple principle − know your opponent. The strategy you employ against a tight opponent is probably going to be different than the one you employ against an aggressive one, and knowing who you're facing across the table will make your decision easier when you're trying to figure out how to extract that extra bet.
For example, if I've flopped a huge hand against a very tight player, I may try to overbet the pot in an effort to make it look like I'm stealing with a weak hand. Hopefully, he'll read my play the way I want him to and either call or re-raise me to push me off the hand. Conversely, I may make a very weak bet against an aggressive player, hoping that he'll come over the top and try to steal the hand. In either case, I'm trying to play into my opponent's image of me and get him to commit chips that he may not put into the pot otherwise.
Image is everything. Along those same lines, another key to getting action is to make your opponents think you're giving action, even when you're not. Talk to the other players at your table. Make them your friends and draw them into conversation.
By developing an engaging table personality, your opponents will have the impression that you're playing more pots than you actually are, which can help you convince them to pay you off when you've made a huge hand. If people think you're loose when you're actually playing tight, they're much more likely to chase their draws or call with weak pairs than they would be if you're a complete rock.
Of course, there's no sure-fire way to guarantee that you'll get paid when you flop a huge hand. Like most things in life, it's about being in the right place at the right time. But if you size up the table successfully and the variables line up in your favor, your monster may not scare away the action after all.
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