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House of Cards
by Ashley Adams

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Card Sense: And now for some answers

by Ashley Adams

In my last article I posed a quiz about a $1-$2 no limit hold’em game, with players with effective stacks of $200, played against typically mediocre players. Here are the questions again with my answers and comments.

 1. You have KsQd in late position. Three players call the large blind in front of you. You raise to $10. The two initial callers call your raise. Everyone else folds. The flop is AsJdTc. The first player bets $20. The second player calls. Which of the following statements is the most correct?

 a) You should always make a small raise to induce your opponent to call you.
 b) You should always call so you can exploit your opponent on the turn and river.
 c) You should sometimes fold to make sure you’re not thought too aggressive.
 d) You should always call, to encourage aggression on the turn.
 e) You should sometimes stick your chest out, stare directly into each of their eyes, and boldly say “all in”, shoving out all your chips aggressively.

 The conventional answers are probably some mixture of a), b), and d), but the best answer is e). Sometimes, especially with three mediocre players, this goading play will cause an opponent to take the bait, assume that your goading move is a bluff, and call you.

 2. When playing against a maniac, which of the following statements is most correct?

 a) Initiate the action whenever you have the chance
 b) Don’t forget to raise those toss up hands
 c) Encourage other players to play the hand against you and the maniac
 d) Keep your starting standards fairly high but stand up to aggressive betting

 The best answer is d). The maniac will usually initiate the betting action, so a) and b) are not necessary. And you want to isolate the maniac, so c) is wrong. Since the maniac will rarely have the powerhouse that he is representing, you will usually want to stand up to his aggression when you are stronger than average.

 3. Which of the following is a useful tell?

 a) Finger drumming shows weakness
 b) Turning a ring on the finger means a bluff
 c) An opponent who is talking to you after making a big bet wants a call
 d) A player who takes his sunglasses off to read the flop probably has a good hand

No tells are reliable 100% of the time. However, c) is much more likely to be correct than a), b), or c).

 4. Which of the following is among the more useful traits of the no limit player?

 a) Playing very tightly
 b) Telepathy
 c) Figuring out your opponents’ tells
 d) Taking advantage of the typically large implied odds you are getting pre-flop

 The correct answer is d). Playing very tightly will tend to give you an image that will scare away even poor opponents when you make a stack-sized bet – usually hurting your ability to make money. Figuring out tells is an overrated skill among mediocre players who tend to reveal more by their general betting tendencies than by their subconscious behavior. There is no evidence that telepathy exists… but then you already knew that, yes?

 5. Which of the following hands can you play profitably in no limit that you probably wouldn’t play as often in limit poker?

 a) Big pairs
 b) Two big cards like KJ
 c) Low pairs
 d) All of the above

 Big pairs are profitable in limit and no limit, two big cards are dangerous in no limit, so the best answer is c), since the huge implied odds pre-flop in no limit, as opposed to limit, often make “set mining” against an appropriate large stack a profitable play.

 6. Your best course of action when playing against bad players is to:

 a) Try to put him on tilt by being obnoxious and annoying.
 b) Avoid him so he can’t draw out on you.
 c) Befriend him by pointing out the flaws in his game.
 d) Confuse and intimidate him with plenty of tricky moves
 e) Be as pleasant and unthreatening as possible.

 The best answer is e). Answers a), b), c), and d) will do more harm than good.

 Ashley Adams is the author of Winning 7-Card Stud and Winning No Limit Low Limit Hold’em. He hosts the radio show House of Cards, broadcast Mondays at 5-6 p.m. in Boston, MA, on 1510 AM, and on the Internet at Contact Ashley at

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