Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Playing a Hand Fast for Deception

Today I'd like to talk about a strategy that many good cash game players use. This situation comes up when you are in the blinds, and you flop a very good hand. Lets say in this case you hold K6 in the big blind, and it is an unraised pot. The flop comes out Q66. You know are holding just about as close to a cinch hand as it gets at this point. You reaslly are only worried about 6A, as QQ is highly unlikely given the betting preflop. Most weak players will check this hand in the big blind, wanting to look weak. I am going to tell you why sometimes this is not the correct play.
There are times when I am in this situation when I will bet out with this hand. Usually i will make a pot sized bet, or close to it. The reason i do this is because i want to trap anyone who is holding a queen, or may have slowplayed AA or KK. Most people rationalize, "why would the blind bet so strongly if he had a 6, he would rather check and try to slowplay it to get more value." This is the correct way to sometimes, but how much action do you expect to get if you check then call his bet, then check on the turn? Any good player will realize that you could very well have a 6. This is why betting pot works well here. Most opponents will think you have either a Q or a small pair, and are trying to protect your hand. If they hold a Q, they are probably going to go along for the ride. An opponent may take this strong bet as a sign of weakness, and try to re-raise you on the spot. If this happens, you have to decide if you think he will call a reraise, or if you think you should just call him here. If he doesnt raise, and just calls your bet, you should continue to bet hard on the turn. You could also check the turn if you are almost certain he will keep up with his "weak" read and make a bet himself.
The point here is that sometimes you need to make plays that other people think you wouldnt want to make. Playing a hand a strong hand very fast is something that many players just dont think you would do. Once you do this one time and win a big pot off someone, you can do it a few other times when you hold a draw or nothing as an attempt to bluff. You should continue to switch up your play and possibly slowplay a monster like this the next time you get one.

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