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Bad Players and Good Players Make

Good poker players do not make many bad plays in poker. However, many good players do have some little number of bad plays that they make usually. Ascertaining whether or not you have any "pet" bad plays and removing them is an easy way to improve your hand. Some of the few bad plays are common to at least some good players.

•  Overuse of the small pair isolation play: It has been more often seen in hold'em games playing such plays but there are also some players who are guilty about this. They commence the play with not so bad if stated formally. The play is to three-bet a pre-flop raiser with a pair like


or smaller. The main aim is to get heads-up against the other player, if suppose he does not have a high pair, the holder of small pair can develop a small positive expectation. At this point this play poker concepts can be little profitable. The problem arises when it is not used with selection.

For making this play profitable, the situation needs to be right. It is important that you have a very strong probability of successfully isolating the raiser. It has been seen that players make the play when the chance that one or both blinds would call was reasonably high. If you are an experienced player you should see that to invest three bets before the flop with only a small pair, having then to play the hand out in a three or four-handed pot is not an interesting adventure. Most (about 88 percent) of the time that you fail to flop a set that a pair is going to be tough to play against two or three rivals. (It can be against one or many rivals.) For instance, any combinations of overcards on the board and aggression from your rivals will unavoidably lead you to make pot-costing errors.

Suppose the flop is


Your two average rivals check and call your bet. The turn is

I could have make the turn K (or an A, or a J, or a T.) but with this blank, now what would you do when they check again? Are you sure? And what if one bets?

One important thing to this play's profitability is that it can be applied against the right type of rival. The best rival would be one who will raise the pre-flop with a very wide variety of hands (such that you are less possible to be up against a high pair), but who will then Play Poker tightly, passively, and inevitably after the flop (so that you have a good chance of stealing, not to bluff your hand, knows when you can easily fold). Whereas some players will apply this strategy correctly, some players will take their small pair and three-bet rivals who do not come close in one or two similarities.

They will try, for instance, to eliminate rivals who, while loose in his raising standards is very aggressive after the flop, probably to play back at them unsurprisingly, persuading them to make costly mistakes. At the same time, they will make the play against a player who is conventional after the flop, but whose pre-flop raising standard is so tight that they can run into a high risk of clashing with a high pair. Obviously, if you try this play against someone with both high pre-flop raising standards and a tendency for aggressive, deceptive play after the flop, you give lot of plays' positive expectation to the best of it.

At the general concept level, it is apparent why the small pair isolation play will not have a positive expectation under many difficult situations. A small pair is weak hand when not played for value in multi-way pot.

To gain more value from it apart from that derived from flopping sets is difficult. It has a value heads-up, and re-raising pre-flop can frequently make it heads-up contest. But it does cost three bets a price that requires you to make more profit on the hand than that related with its set value alone in heads-up pots. (To gain from playing it for its set value alone, you have to average winning more than 20 extra small bets after the flop. That is more than twice what you could actually expect in the situations your rival happens to have an overpair, or to flop one or two pair. You make less when you flop a set but he flops nothing good.) One way to gain all the extra value is to make the play only selectively, under all the good conditions. To make it at random is asking too much of a small pair.

What has been expressed here could be said about poker player routinely and randomly three-betting pre-flop with medium pairs. This is more common as compared to the small pair play. But it is not as often, and not as marked, an error.

•  Indiscriminate semi-bluffing against calling stations: Some good players have learned the value of the semi-bluff. But some of them apply it randomly. Generally these are either very aggressive players who have little problem with it when they need to, or average players who have hi on semi-bluffing as a useful tactics but have little else in their repertoires. Sometimes, they are players who play very logical game with their skills to make certain adjustments.

The Theory of Poker written by David Skylansky points out that profit from the semi-bluff comes from the combined possibilities that your rival will fold quickly, or if he does not fold, you will make your hand on the next card. If your rival is sure or somewhat sure to call then the concept of semi-bluff would not be profitable. Still I see knowledgeable players semi-bluffing into calling stations every time. It is funny to see a passive, unskilled player unwittingly outplay a solid, aggressive player just by calling. The aggressive player always tries to bet against a passive player off his hand. Now, it means that you should never semi-bluff against a loose caller, but to do so automatically, without picking your position, is going to cost you heavily.

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