In every 먹튀폴리스tournament there is at least one defining moment. Sometimes it comes early on and sometimes very late. Sometimes, in one tournament, there is more than one such moment. But there is always at least one hand where, if it goes your way, you can feel it in your heart that the tournament is yours to win.
Very often this defining hand involves you holding a pocket pair. If that pair is aces then your first decision is already made for you – you are going to play the hand. I’d have said aces or kings, but lately it seems the hot brag post on the online poker boards is about folding pocket kings pre-flop. So, for the purposes of this article, I will put aces alone on a pedestal, kings and queens just below as medium pairs, and every other pair all lumped together as small pairs. For the record, pre-flop at least, I am not yet good enough to fold pocket kings.
Now hold on a second before you get your britches in a bunch. After thirty years in the game I know that there are times when it is perfectly correct to shove all in pre-flop with your jacks or even nines. Poker being the situational game that it is, there are even times that shoving with deuces, or even garbage, is the best play. But those players who think that jacks are an automatic shove every time are missing the big picture.
Playing your small to medium pairs in different ways depending on the situation is imperative to MTT success. One popular way to play these pairs is called set mining. Set mining is when you try to get into pots as cheaply as possible with your pairs and then look to flop a set or get out of the way. Most often this is best accomplished in an unraised pot, but sometimes a raised pot presents a good opportunity as well.
Now, I am not saying that you will make a set every time. Heck, I am not even saying that every time you do make a set you will eventually win the pot. But I am saying that not playing these small to medium pairs at all is the wrong answer. By keeping your initial risk small and your options open you can sometimes reap big rewards that can only help your bottom line. Happy set mining.
On the flip side, if we are truly able to see that it was our mistake in giving our opponent good odds to draw to his out(s), we start taking responsibility for our actions. We are then free to learn from our mistake and not doomed to repeat it. One of our greatest strengths as human beings is our ability to learn. I try never to let my pride tell me I have nothing to learn from a situation.
One key part of the game where people often make a mistake is in their betting. I was in a game yesterday where several times in a row where I had the chance to bet I did not want any action. Twice I was fairly sure I held the best hand, but I knew I was very vulnerable to draws and once I had my own monster draw. In all three cases the pot was not huge, but big enough that I was happy to take it down right then and there. So, all three times I just pushed. I was in my no chat mode but the table was fairly chatty and one guy typed about me, “He doesn’t know how to bet”. I didn’t break my silence, or point out how I held 39k in chips and he had only 11k, or even ask him why he thought that. I only reviewed my play in my mind and decided that in all three cases I had gotten exactly the reply I wanted.
If you can look back at your bet and always say that you got the reply you wanted then you are betting well. Notice that in both previous sentences I used the word “reply” instead of “result”. Since the result is partially determined by the turn of a friendly card, something we cannot control, I try not to focus on the result. Instead I try to make my bets those that will make my opponents reply incorrectly. In this way, again, I am doing all I can to minimize luck.
I would like to take this one step further. From now on, instead of wishing my friends good luck at the tables I will use a different phrase. So when you see me in a tourney, come by and wish me “pw”. From now on I will always try to say, play well.