Making the big key decisions


I learned long ago that not all decisions in a poker game are created equal…… some have far greater and far reaching consequences than others. For example on average then a flop decision is a bigger decision than a pre-flop decision and a turn decision is a bigger decision than a flop decision and so on. This is usually because the later we are in the hand then the more money is in the pot as a rule. While there are no hard and fast rules here because stacks can get all in at any stage of the hand, it is usually the case that money goes into the pot in increments.

This is precisely why when we have strong hands that we should be looking to get our opponents money in increments also. It is almost like fishing in so much that if we try to be too greedy then we end up losing the fish. As a rule then when we want the opposite effect and we want our opponent to fold then constant pressure can be more effective than one big over-sized bluff.

NLHE is a game that when it is played with deep stacks becomes difficult to master for many people. This isn’t because they often don’t understand the game because most of them do. It is often down to how well they handle the big crisis situations that crop up. Also the nature of poker itself doesn’t do a good job of mentally preparing us for this crisis point in escalating pots. If we play proper poker be it in six max and especially in full ring then we spend a lot of time clicking the fold button or tossing our cards into the centre of the table.

Live game poker provides us with the opportunity to be able to think more critically and we have a moment of pause that enables us to be able to slow down and think through the critical stages. Online poker involves much faster actions and this can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be a blessing because if we are successful then we get to see more hands per hour…… this is an advantage.

However it can also be a curse because we often do not have a lot of time to think through critical decisions. Because we do not get to make that many then our senses can become dulled at the critical moment in a game. Chess players often suffer from this very same thing. Because opening theory is so well documented then this means that many players play the opening moves by rota.

This though can often leave them vulnerable to surprises and shocks at this stage of the game. In fact I would go as far as to say that the ability to play well in critical stages where the pot is escalating or the way forward isn’t clear is the hallmark of a player that has well and truly mastered poker.