Online Poker Ring Games
More fun times in the Ring Games
The $10/20 game on 32Red Poker never fails to throw up some interesting and exciting online poker. Most players play a great logical game, but cunningly choose times to play without logic in order to disguise their hands, and to deceive other players.
This brings about a number of tough situations where you are in the position of choosing whether or not to call. Here are a couple of examples from this week, to give you an insight into the kind of thinking that goes into the toughest decision in the game – am I ahead or not?
I am playing a stack of $1,900, and my young American opponent has me covered. I raise with a dodgy to $55 in late position, and my opponent calls from the big blind to see a flop. Checked to me, I bet out for $100, and am not too scared to be raised to $280. The on the turn ought to be a blank, and I call my opponent’s $300 bet. This bet seems strangely small. The river brings a board of , with a pot of $1270. I am playing a dogdy two pair, with no working kicker. The young American fires out a big bet of $1150….
It’s going to be a tough one, so I switch on the time bank, and get thinking. My trail of thought goes something like this:
– I can only beat a bluff, as there is no way that my opponent can be value bet a hand that is splitting with my hand or losing to it.
– The hands that could be turned over to beat me are- any hand including an eight, a jack with a very good kicker, jack-ten for two pair, a slowplayed overpair, or a lucky rivered straight.
– The large bet on the end, nearly pot-sized, simplifies my thinking. It is now unlikely that my opponent is simply playing , or even for two pair. With these hands, surely his value bet on the river would be smaller, as it is possible I have them beat with an overpair. So, the first crucial piece of information is that my opponent is probably playing either a very big hand, or a bluff.
– It is always very useful to decide what hand you think your opponent is putting you on; this is the biggest clue to deciphering your opponent’s play. Here I have bet the flop and made a defensive call on the turn, so my opponent is probably putting me on exactly the kind of hand I have- a jack, or just possibly an overpair which is concerned about the two eights on the board.
– This brings about my first inkling that my opponent is bluffing. He knows that if I am playing a decent two pair hand, it will need to be this kind of big bet to bluff me off the hand.
– On the other hand, the small bet on the turn was almost impossible to pass to, so this goes against the suspicion of a bluff. However, is there a chance that my opponent has put together a clever bluff with a strong looking small turn bet that I had to call, in order to take me off with real pressure on the river? This definitely would be a cunning bluff, as the small turn bet allows him to see whether I have a big hand or not. As I can only flat call it, I have probably indicated that I have a marginal hand.
I do not feel too sure about this hand, but the change in bet size is what is tempting me most into calling. I hit the call button, and……..
………am overjoyed to see $3570 pot be pushed in my direction.
Hand # 2
This time the opponent is a Swedish player, and I call his early position raise to $60 on the button with . A flop looks decent enough for me, and I call the Swede’s $110 bet. A on the turn leaves me with the top pair, and I call a relatively smaller $200 bet. The river brings a good card as the board becomes . My opponent checks, and the pot stands at $740. I decide that I could well now be ahead, and fire out a small $220 value bet. To my surprise, my Swedish opponent raises to $800. What do you do?…
I am now of course regretting this value bet, as it brought about the possibility of this difficult situation. However, I have to cast frustration aside, and have a think….
– It seems all the way through that my opponent is playing some kind of pocket pair or one pair hand. The reason I made this risky small value bet was that it seemed that his decision would be simply whether or not to call. A raise did not seem likely.
– My problem of course is that my flat calls on the flop and turn and this small river bet have given a massive clue to my opponent about my hand. Things are indeed as they seem to him; I have the kind of hand I think may now be ahead, but I am not sure. This fits together to give away that I have almost exactly something like . Of course, this knowledge gives my opponent a great opportunity to put the pressure on with a bluff.
– However, I am still tending towards thinking that I am behind. My small bet also gives my opponent the chance to my opponent to value bet a hand like or . It seems that my opponent has some kind of hand himself, and it is rare that people turn these hands into a bluff.
I pass, cursing my value bet but believing that I am behind, until……………
………My opponent flashes for a brilliant and unlikely bluff.
More next week, until then all the best and see you at the tables…
– Stuart “TrickyRock” Rutter.