Reading Nick Christenson's review of the new DVD, Texas Hold'em: The Winning Strategy with Mike Caro (Poker Player, June 13, 2005), caused me to contemplate that question. Since I have been teaching poker classes at a senior citizens center for three semesters, I now have a basis for addressing that question.
A drawing hand must connect to become a likely winner at the showdown. Examples are four cards to a flush or an open-ended straight. You need just one more card to make your hand. Certainly, there are hands that opponents might catch that will beat your flush or straight, but those are relatively rare. Most often, your flush or straight will be the best hand.
Our question today: When should you raise after flopping such a drawing hand?
It was a blast! Sunday, May 15; Gardena, Calif.- The ESPN Radio 710 Mason & Ireland Big Show Poker Tournament was held at the Normandie Casino; and I was privileged to be among the 200 participants in the no-limit hold'em tournament. With a $25,000-guaranteed first prize, the no-limit hold'em event was held to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a large portion of the prize pool being donated to help those living with the crippling disease. Sponsored by Newcastle Brown Ale. the event was organized by VIPPoker. (ESPN Radio 710 is also the "Home of Angels Baseball.")
I have utmost respect for Roy Cooke, the erudite Senior Columnist for Card Player magazine. And I appreciated his comments when we served sidebyside as panelists at the World Poker Players Conference last November at the Bellagio/Las Vegas. Furthermore, I treasured his advice in his column,"Hold'em StartingHand Basics," in the June 18, 2004 issue of Card Player. He wrote:"The biggest moneylosing mistake . . .
I regard highly skilled poker players as PokerSharks; but most players are PokerPigeons. Among the latter are two categories that stand out: maniacs and calling-stations. The latter are players who call all bets no matter what. . . They rarely raise but they hate to fold - ideal opponents if your goal is to win money ($$$), although you should never try to bluff out a calling-station. Maniacs go one step beyond.
From The Mouths Of Babes
With age comes experience and (hopefully) wisdom. But sometimes children ask the wisest and most important questions. . . Esther asked the right question.
My almost-eight-year-old granddaughter, Esther, was visiting with me; and, as she often does, she opened a deck of cards and said, "Let's play poker, Papa."
Often we are so focused on one thing that we miss an opportunity. That's true in the game of poker as well as in life. Here's an illustration I presented to my advanced poker class at the Claude Pepper Sr. Citizens Center.
You are in a late position and are dealt a pair of 8s. There are no raises preflop with three opponents in the pot; you call, hoping to catch a third 8 on the flop. The flop comes down-Your first reaction: Oh, shucks, I missed! I didn't make a set of 8s.
Don't be surprised; after all, the odds are 7-to-1 against it.
The heavy rains had blown over, and the evening air was crisp and refreshing. I decided to visit the old Normandie Casino in Gardena, Calif. One of the students in my poker class at the Claude Pepper Sr. Citizen Center claimed it was a great place to play low/middle-limit hold'em.
To be a winner, aggression at the poker table is generally desirable - selective aggression, that is. In fact, "Playing Aggressively the Right Way" is one of the nine key strategies in my Poker for Winners! book. Play aggressively when it is to your advantage to do so.