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’re immediately faced with a more difficult decision regarding a continuation bet man you’ve got over cards on the board.  Why not open raise, but once there are limpers, avoid attacking them when its deep stacked and when the blinds are very small.

You also can’t forget about the 2:1 odds. So if the pot is now one.Five big blinds, with one caller, which makes it two now.5BBs. You raise to 3BB, making the pot 5.5BBs and the limper (assuming everyone else folds) has to call 2BBs to see a flop with 5.five big blinds in it. As at result he is getting good odds to make a call here at nearly 3:1.

You have to consider the fact that you’re likely to never be worse than a three to one under dog pre-flop. But there is a problem. Or rather a couple of problems.

The main problem is betting ability of a weak hand. You could end up with three gapped connectors versus big slick. 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? will you even be able to call a continuation bet if it comes? What if you lead 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? There are 3 over cards (which statistcially are likely to have missed your opponent), but how much can you bet at this situation?

So yes, you had correct odds pre flop, if you could get to showdown for something approximating that pre flop investment. But in deep stack situations you can’t. You still have 3 betting rounds before you get to fifth street.

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.

If you think about it, in deep stack play, you shouldn’t be concerned with pot odds too much. This is where you should be measuring up your opponents stack.. i.e. what is the size of my stack and my opponents stack. I’ll call with a massive range when the bet is 5% or less of the effective stack. If they have a big pair and I have little connectors, I am okay with that. 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. This may be an opportunity to play passively checking and calling if you haven’t had a low pair.

If you notice in Every Hand Revealed, Gus Hansen frequently berates himself for calling early position raisers with trash when he is in the BB. Partly because, such calls often become more difficult place post flop. 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. Importantly also, our opponents are not Gus’ opponents. 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.

To sum it up, pre-flop pot odds are less important than post flop implied odds. You might choose to play a given hand anyway, but do it for the reason of implied odds and not pot odds, if that makes sense. 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.