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2009 September 28

When Your Opponent Raises...

by George “The Engineer” Epstein

Questions cross your mind when an opponent raises. If you knew why he raised, your next decision would be much easier, and more likely in your best interest. Let’s explore some of these reasons. . . and clues that might shed light on these.

 Why did he raise rather than just call on that betting round? Why Did He Raise? To answer our question, consider the 13 Reasons for Raising as described in my column in the August 13 issue of PPN. The average player probably is not sufficiently astute to go beyond the four top reasons: (1) Build the pot (Raise for value); (2) Force out some opponents (so his made hand has a better chance of holding up to the river); (3) Steal the blinds; (4) Semi-bluff and/or bluff.

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Break-In: A Joe & Hobby fiction

"Joe, I got a call from the management company that looks after my villa in Palm Springs. Someone broke in. I have to check it out. Will you come with me?"

"Sure, but do you realize the temperature there is 115!"

"Hot or not, I've got to go. I'll pick you up in a few minutes. Take an overnight bag just in case."

It was a comfortable drive west on the I-10 in Hobby's Rolls. We listened to a G&S, the Mikado. I had a roomie in college who was into G&S and could sing long spiels without a hitch. His act was a good babe magnet.

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Nose Bleed Update: Martonas

For most of the summer, an online player from Sweden known only as "martonas" dazzled everyone on the rail as he ran up his bankroll to almost $3 million in a short period of time. Many of the top pros in the game, including Phil Ivey, David Benyamine, Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, and Tom "durrrr" Dwan, actively sought out martonas at the nose bleed tables. Martonas accomplished what many of us wished we could have done-challenge the best in the world and fleece them for millions.

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Raise 'n' Chase, Part 2

In a previous issue of Poker Player newspaper we wrote about playing hold 'em regularly at The Santa Fe "many moons ago." In fact that was 17 years ago, in early 1992, before Station Casinos acquired the property and named it Santa Fe Station. We played last month at the Santa Fe Station and had a pleasant gaming experience: In no way did it resemble The Santa Fe of old. We regret any confusion we caused.

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Honesty Revisited

In the last issue we discussed honesty and how it relates to money management habits. Now we'll take a look at why and how it must be a part of your self evaluation as well. First of all, you need to be realistic about clarifying your level of play, because each player category calls for different strategies and limits.

When I'm coaching, I generally use the following titles to define my students.
1. Novice
2. Poker Hobbyist
3 Casual Semi-Pro
4. Serious Semi-Pro
5. Professional

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Game Selection

All games of poker are not alike. At our Claude Pepper Senior Center Poker Lab, we were discussing the Four Basic Rules for Winning at the Game of Poker (reference: The Greatest Book of Poker for WINNERS) that distinguish consistent winners from losers. Basic Poker Rule No. 2, concerning game selection, led to some lively discussion.

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The New i-Poker Bill, Part 2

Internet gaming bills are pending in the U.S. House of Representatives, mainly introduced by Barney Frank (D-MA). And the Senate has its own online gaming bill too, the "i-Poker Act," authored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Both sets of bills appear to set up a federal licensing and regulatory system in the Department of the Treasury. But both allow state and tribal gaming authorities to be approved by Treasury to certify applicants and even take over all regulation.

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Mike teaches that you primarily change gears so that you aren't predictable and keep the other players mystified.

Unpredictable. Perhaps there's a player at your table who's been observing you closely and managed to determine when you're preparing to call, raise, or even fold. That observation can be costly to you. So it's necessary to occasionally vary your play to become less predictable.

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Stuck in Reverse

As the name indicates, reverse implied odds are the opposite of implied odds. While implied odds push your true pot odds one step forward, reverse implied odds pull them one step backward. In either case, the pot odds are not quite as they first appear, because future betting rounds must be taken into account.

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Traps That Bluff

When setting a trap in hunting, using the proper bait is important. The proper bait in poker traps depends on the kind of animal you are playing with. It also depends on what kind of hunter you are-aggressive or passive. When trying to get other players to fold or stay in longer than they should, different baits are needed for different players. While a conservative player can be baited and trapped by slow playing, a looser player may require the bait of fast play-challenges either way.

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