Look for Implied Odds, not Pot Odds When Calling

Being aggressive with middle pairs to me is rather costly for early stage play.Set mining can be a profitable play for you when you can keep your entry costs low. In the early stages, loads of players are correctly playing for implied odds. A five times raise is not a big hit to their stack and you mostly just don’t narrow the field enough. What usually happens here is a tough decision to continuation bet or not into a large pot so many over cards on the board resulting in tough decisions.  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. So he is getting nearly 3:1 on his call.

If you think about it, you’re probably never too far behind pre-flop if you decide to play. 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. Sure you’re now ahead, but really how much can you afford to bet at this point? will you even be able to call a continuation bet if it comes? What if you lead into the pot? Then what are you going to do when he smooth calls? Now do you bet once more here? It’s an expensive guessing game now with just bottom pair?

But what if you have something like pocket threes pre-flop? With a board full of over cards,it’s still tough to bet even though statistically your opponent will have missed as well?

Sure you had right odds preflop here, but you are assuming you can get to showdown as well. But in deep stack situations you can’t. You are going to have to play 3 more streets of poker before you get to showdown.

But that leads to the second problem. 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. Implied odds is what you need to be looking at here.. 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 AA, and I have 53s, all the better. It’s actually a good thing for them to have pocket aces when I am playing connectors to a raise. But if the raise is getting up to around 10% of my stack, then I fold all the weired stuff, except PPs. 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.

My cards may be 56s and be up against big slick. I have to be rather much httin a huge draw or two pair though, otherwise you will be faced with giving up the hand after the flop out of position. This may be an opportunity to play passively checking and calling if you haven’t had a low pair.

Even in Every Hand Revealed, Gus Hansen regrets a lot of his calls from players who raise early position. Understandably, these regrets come about as soon as you see the flop which invariably are difficult to play. 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. Take into account, your opponent is weaker than the players Gus plays against. 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.