Most poker players know what the third bullet in the Texas holdem sequence is, and when they see the dealer turn a card, they instantly begin to calculate their next move. However, what about the second one, which is folding the small blind?
This question is especially pertinent to the online poker rooms. When playing poker in the virtual world, one’s cards get circulated to all the players at the table. This means that the small blinds (or blinds, as are more commonly called) get every card before they get to see their cards. Thus, the second bullet in the Texas holdem sequence is absolutely relevant.
When you have a hand of cards that have a negative value, like nine two off suit, you should decided to put in a bet towards the big blind, even though this may be against your better judgment. For example, if you have J-9, and the flop is K-8-3, there is a good chance that your opponent has a higher kicker, and he’ll fold.
There are two exceptions to this rule: when you want to check, in other words, you want to not put in any money towards the pot; and when you’re in late position, and everyone else has checked before you. The former rarely happens, so you can ignore it, but it’s important to note. The latter, however, can land you in a world of hurt with the wrong flop.
There are also some situations that qualify as being perfectly acceptable to check, without penalty. One of them is when you’re playing heads up, in situation where there’s no other player in the hand after you. Again, logic dictates that you only have a half of the pot unless you flop a great hand, a hand like a high pocket pair.
So, if you have a half of the pot, is it worth it to slow play? Normally, yes. You have just as much of a chance of winning as anyone else in the hand, and if you’re going to go all in, you should be prepared to give it everything you have it probably not including your clothes. When you have the “nuts” in a hand, you’re usually up against a lot of other players, so you should always bet accordingly. Have some chips; pretend to have a lot, and force other players to make the math – it’s math, remember.
So, having decided that you want your opponent to have a tough time reading your hand in the small blind, put in a small amount towards the pot. Let him make the mistake for you.
Now, if things go well for you, and your opponent folds, it’s time to slow down. Until this point you’ve been putting in a big amount of chips to try to get heads up. Once you both decrease the amount of chips each other has in the pot, and the size of the bet, you need to look at the pot odds again.
To decrease the amount of money in Naga303, you should consider whether or not it would be wiser to move all in yourself, or call the opponents bet. Both moves are viable, if you have a good hand. Slow playing in the small blind could backfire, but if you have a weaker hand, you can get players with mediocre hands to fold, thereby increasing the size of the pot.
You should also consider the chances that your opponent will claim the pot. If you think that’s unlikely, you can call his bet. Nothing is lost in case you lose. However, if you’re positive that your opponent will call the bet, you have a greater chance of winning. Consider the situation the small blind has taken the flop. If you believe he’s playing a high pocket pair, you’re in a fairly good position – you only need a low to win, if the flop was paired, or some other hand that pairs the cards in your hand.
To make a play, you should be analyzing the possible hands that your opponent is holding. If you have the latter when he makes his bet, you should call. If you think it’s unlikely that the dealer will have a better hand than you, you should to call if you don’t think you can do better. He may be on a draw, and will likely make his hand as poor as it can be with a high card. If you do nothing, you will lose a lot of chips if you’re beat.