We all have our weaknesses. Some of mine are salty foods, classic Hitchcock movies, and suited aces. For those of us who love to play drawing hands, A-x suited is one of the most beguiling hands in hold'em. Aces can get cracked, kings are vulnerable if an ace flops, Big Slick frequently doesn't connect-and it's pretty much de rigueur to raise pre-flop with all of those hands.
Usually, it pays to be a bully at the poker table. Especially in the big-bet games, where you can use the sheer size of your bets and your stack to steamroll over opponents, regardless of what cards you actually hold. When it's works, it's a beautiful feeling, a powerful rush.
Dead money. Such a negative, morbid term for such a wonderful thing. Dead money is a gift; it's like Christmas morning on the felt. Dead money refers to money that's available for you to win at the poker table, but you don't have to compete against the players who actually contributed it. They're out of the hand, out of contention, effectively dead. But their money is still ripe for the taking.
Certain things in this world are necessary evils. Politicians. Root canal. And in the poker world, crying calls. The crying call, a.k.a. the "I had to make sure" call, is that grudging call you make on the river when you know you're probably beaten. But you're not quite certain. So you call anyway-just in case. And sometimes crying calls are necessary, if only for the pot odds. As with everything else in poker, the trick lies in picking the right spots. When, against whom, and how often?
Here's one way to look at it: A turbo tourney is just like a regular tournament-if we can just imagine that this regular tournament is hyperactive, on speed, and has drunk about three pots of very strong coffee. In a turbo, blinds increase very rapidly, usually every five minutes, though sometimes they'll go up as quickly as every three minutes. From this one difference the entire texture of the tournament alters dramatically.
What's the fastest, most reliable way to lose money in this game? Make hands that look good, but just aren't good enough to win. Second-best hands. Oh so promising, oh so seductive, but in the end ... oh so deadly.
Any time you bet or raise in this game, your hand has two ways of winning the pot. You can have the best at the showdown or your opponent might fold. If he does, you take the pot right there. That's called fold equity.
It's one reason why aggression is such a key factor to winning at poker. That extra edge that accrues when your opponent mucks his hand, is what fold equity is all about, which is why it's almost always better to make a bet than to call one.
Poker etiquette is full of dos and don'ts, but few rules are more controversial than the one against talking about your cards while the hand is still in play. Depending on how and where it happens, this can be considered rude, unethical, a legitimate strategy, or just plain illegal. By breaking this rule, you are giving away information, exerting an unnatural influence on the other players who are still in the pot.
Whenever you hold a drawing hand in a community card game such as hold'em or Omaha, the process of calculating your outs gets complicated. Since the cards in the middle of the table are shared by everyone, a card that makes your hand could also make an even better hand for one of your opponents. These are commonly referred to as tainted, or contaminated, outs.
As most of us know, the most common prerequisite to make the next round of poker a kill pot is for the same player to win two pots in a row. Other triggers for a kill could be a player winning a large pot that meets or exceeds a specified amount-10 times the big blind, for example-or one player scooping both the high and low in a split-pot game. When any of these qualifications are met, the next hand played will be twice the usual stakes. Half-kill games- where the stakes increase by a mere 50 percent- are also fairly common.