I was just involved in a hand in a multi table tournament when I spotted what appeared to be a flush draw. As everyone else at the table observed this person bet quite weakly on their draw and then they proceed to limp in poor after themselves. I actually called the raise there as well, curious to see if the small blind would pick this person up with another bet on the flop. The small blind did bet, but only called as far as the original bet was less than $10. Once the original bet was called, the small blind called the remaining $20 bet into the pot.
Then came the flop. The cards came out: Q 2 3 4 5. Not a decent hand by any persons standard, the flop was hopefully a 2 or 3 or 4 to give some players hope of improving their hand. Someone bet the pot. Then another bet the pot again. Then the original bettor in middle position raised the pot $30 and the small blind and next player shined his hole cards and bet $50. The original bettor only called the $50 bet as he was getting no information on his opponent’s hands.
On the turn came out a J! It was apparent to see a flush was possible. The original bettor checked and we continued our call for the river. On the river a 9 was displayed giving us a straight and we won the hand.
It is questionable whether or not you would want to make this play, but it definitely could have been a great one. The nine diamond was certainly a strong hand that could have won the hand for us, but we could have caught a 22 or 37 for the king or made a better flush. The small blind folded his hand and the big blind bet the pot, bringing the action to us. We raised the pot $30 and the original bettor shined his hand. We had the same hand 22 and could have won there, but he called $30, showing he had top pair. We now had $60 in the pot.
A king on the flop would have been our best hand, but a queen on the flop would have been our worst. That meant we needed two more outs to make a marginal hand like nine diamonds a good hand. Our two outs for nine diamonds were the eight and the 6, both hearts. We had missed both our outs and our hand was now marginal. To call $30 is $10 bet or $20 to win. Using $60 to make our hand our worst hand, we were only $10 or $20 away from an out becoming profitable. We had missed both our outs and bricks.
That $10 bet or $20 to win represented represent a 33% pot loss which in poker terms is spectacular. Our opponent taking the blinds would have been in a similar position if we bet $120 and he called. In poker terms, that call was better than our $10 bet because we would have been risking a little over 10% of our stack to win $100 or to say a little less than 10% of our stack to lose $100. In poker, when you are in a position where you aren’t getting the right odds to make a call, then you are in a position that is better than making the call. With this example, we knew that we weren’t going to win $100 in this hand so we weren’t in position to make a better hand than our opponent. With blackjack, favourable position means you are getting better odds than making a call. In this case, even though we didn’t make the best hand, because of our opponent’s favourable position we were able to win the pot.
This is the essence of MPO777 – you need to get good value to your odds and make the best decisions possible in any situation. In summary, it’s not about your cards, it’s about your betting objectively, adjusting your betting style based on your cards, and folding a hand that is not strongest against the betting of your opponents. Use these poker strategies the next time you play a tournament.