You are on page 1of 451

DEPOSIT BONUSES TO GET STARTED

FullTiltPoker

(100% Deposit Bonus up to $600)

Play Online Poker CakePoker

(110% Deposit Bonus up to $600)

WilliamHill

(100% Deposit Bonus & $120,000 RakeRace)

PrestigeCasino

($1,500 in FREE Spins No Deposit Needed)

PokerStrategy

($50usd Starting Capital FREE No Deposit Needed)

WilliamHill Bingo

($40usd FREE To Start Playing No Deposit Required)

Play poker online at Doyles Poker Room TABLE OF CONTENTS


P-,E . / 0 1$ .1 2/ // 131 1.3 1/2 $$. $/$ $4/ ..1 ../ 2.3 $21

Foreward Preface Introduction My Story The History of No Limit Online Poker E clusi!e Su"er#System $ S"eciali%e or learn Limit Hold&em Poker Omaha Ei'ht or (etter Se!en )ard Stud Hi'h Low Pot Limit Omaha Hi'h Tri"le *raw Poker Tournament O!er!iew No Limit Hold&em +orld Poker Tour Poker ,lossary

FO5E+O5* 6y -!ery )ardo%a Su"er#System $ 'athers to'ether the 'reatest "oker "layers and theoreticians today7 This 6ook is not meant to re"lace the ori'inal Su"er#System8 6ut to 6e an e tension of that 'reat work8 with more 'ames8 new authors8 and most im"ortantly8 more "rofessional secrets from the 6est in the 6usiness7 *oyle9s e "ert colla6orators ha!e won millions u"on millions of dollars in cash 'ames:that9s each one of them7 ;ou9ll 6e learnin' e "ert strate'ies from a "ool of talent that includes three world cham"ions:*oyle (runson8 (o66y (aldwin8 and <ohnny )han =*oyle and <ohnny 6ein' two>time consecuti!e winners?7 -dd to that an all>star team of contri6utors with so many +orld Series of Poker 6racelets amon' them8 you could fill a 6ucket with their 'old7 -nd8 for 'ood measure8 throw in Mike )aro8 a world>class "layer who is the leadin' "oker researcher8 theoretician and instructor7 These are the su"erstars of the 'ame7 +ith the com"letion of Su"er#System $8 *oyle has created two "owerful works that e!ery serious "oker "layer sim"ly must own7 This makes the two> !olume set of Su"er#System a full li6rary of the 6est "layin' ad!ice8 strate'ies and "rofessional conce"ts e!er "ut into "rint7 Own 6oth these 6ooks8 and you9ll ha!e the com"lete master"iece of "oker7 It is im"ossi6le to o!erstate the im"ortance of *oyle9s accom"lishments and the tremendous im"act he has had:and still has:on the 'ame7 He is the @(a6e 5uth of Poker8A a li!in' le'end who has 6een at this 'ame for fifty years and still "lays in the hi'hest limit "oker 'ames in the world7 -lon' the way he won 6ack>to>6ack world cham"ionshi"s in 141/ and 1411 and a total of nine +SOP 'old 6racelets8 tied for the most e!er at the time of this writin'7 I9d 6et he9s won more money "layin' "oker than any man who has e!er li!ed7 -lon' with )randell -ddin'ton and a few other early "layers8 *oyle introduced Te as hold9em to Ne!ada8 an e!ent that has had "rofound im"lications on the world of "oker7 In fact8 the wides"read "o"ularity that tele!ised no>limit hold9em enBoys today would ne!er had occurred if not for
.

these men7 )randell will tell you more a6out this e!ent and its ramifications in his cha"ter on the e!olution of hold9em7 +hen the History )hannel did a s"ecial on the history of "oker8 the "roducer8 sli'htly em6arrassed8 told me that the "ro'ram had turned into the *oyle (runson hour:e!ery "layer inter!iewed "aid homa'e to the man that is "oker8 *oyle (runson7 The ori'inal Su"er#System8 "u6lished in 14108 is the sin'le most influential "oker 6ook e!er written7 (ack then8 the ori'inal "rice of C133 was a lot of money for a 6ook8 6ut this was no ordinary 6ookD this was the 6i6le of "oker7 Su"er#System was a steal at that "rice7 The same holds true today7 -nd why notE This 6ook chan'ed the way "layers looked at that 'ame and8 for the first time8 'a!e away secrets that 6rou'ht readers to a new le!el of e "ertise7 The master of "oker had s"oken8 and the 'ame would ne!er 6e the same7 I had always admired this 6ook and throu'h my friendshi" and association with Mike )aro8 the @Mad ,enius of Poker8A *oyle and I 'ot to'ether7 +e made a deal to 'et Su"er#System out to the mainstream 6ookstores as a "a"er6ack for the !ery first time8 and "eo"le who had ne!er 6een e "osed to this 'reat work Bust went 'a'a o!er this 6onan%a of "oker riches7 *id they e!erF Su"er#System hit G1 worldwide on -ma%on8 ahead of the Harry Potter 6ooks and 6est>sellin' authors like Ste!en Hin' and <ohn ,risham7 E!en as I write this8 Su"er#System holds steady in the to" 133 of all titles:usually in the to" 237 Pretty heady stuff7 In the 6ookstores themsel!es8 Su"er#System sales ecli"sed those of all other titles in the 'amin' cate'ory7 *oyle Bust kee"s 'oin'7 He9s somewhat "ast the a'e where the 'o!ernment kind of su''ests you collect your "aychecks and retire8 6ut the com"etiti!e fire that has "owered his entire career still 6urns fiercely7 So what does the le'end doE In late -u'ust $3328 at the (icycle )lu68 *oyle "lays a'ainst the lar'est field e!er to "lay a +orld Poker Tour e!ent to date://1 "layers7 -nd he wins it all7 -'ain7 He takes home more than a million dollars cash7 The le'end 'rows7 -nd the accolades and accom"lishments kee" comin':a +orld Poker Tour e!ent named after him8 a "oker>"layin' we6site that 6ears his name8 an auto6io'ra"hy due in s"rin' $33I8 a mo!ie 6ased on his life that may see the 6i' screen one day soon7 -nd on and on7 I9!e had the honor of 'ettin' to know *oyle away from the ta6les and ha!e
2

always enBoyed his com"any7 He9s 'racious8 wise8 and has the 6i' heart of a Te an7 -fter s"endin' time with him8 you walk away feelin' a little taller8 6ecause this e >6asket6all "layer makes you a 6i''er "erson8 and richer8 6ecause he9s a man who9s 6een a 6i' winner in life:and you take a little 6it of that away with you7 I9!e seen the res"ect he 'i!es and the res"ect he 'ets7 -ll earned7 *oyle is more than a 'reat man in "okerD he9s a 'reat man8 and I say that with the utmost res"ect7 +ell8 it9s time you mo!e on and see the 'ems of knowled'e this 6ook has in store for you7 My friend *oyle has taken 'ood care of you in these "a'es7 +hen you9re done studyin' the wisdom within and ha!e "rofited from that !ery "owerful ad!ice8 you9ll feel like *oyle9s your 'ood friend8 too7 EnBoy this 6ook8 "rofit from it8 and remem6er to 'i!e homa'e to one of the men who made this modern>day "henomenon "ossi6le8 Mr7 *oyle @Te as *ollyA (runson8 the 'reatest "oker "layer who has e!er li!ed7 -nd remem6er to honor the 'ame itself8 somethin' *oyle lo!es with e!ery fi6er of his 6ein'7 -!ery )ardo%a Pu6lisher

P5EF-)E (y <ohnny )han I learned "oker the hard way8 "layin' in 'ames that were like street fi'hts in the 6ack alleys of )hinatown7 (efore anyone thou'ht I was ready8 I sat ri'ht down at some of the tou'hest ta6les in "oker8 starin' down the 6est and meanest "layers I could find7 -nd as you can see8 I sur!i!ed and "ros"ered7 Some say I am one of the few "layers e!er to conJuer the "oker world without any formal trainin'7 I9m "roud of that accom"lishment8 6ut if I had it to do o!er a'ain8 I9d make it easier7 Instead of learnin' the hard way8 6rawlin' my way u"8 riskin' my 6ankroll8 and 6an'in' my head a'ainst those 6i' 6ricks walls8 I9d start 6y readin' this 6ook7 How often are you 'oin' to 'et a chance to learn from the most feared "oker "layer around8 year after yearK *oyle (runson himselfE To 6e honest8 at first I was u"set that *oyle was writin' this follow>u" to his first Su"er#System8 which all the "layers at my ta6les call @the 6i6le of "oker7A E!ery time I heard that8 hair stood u" on the 6ack of my neck7 +ho needs a 6i6le of "okerE I ke"t thinkin' that "rofessional "layers like me would 6e 6etter off without one7 The secrets contained in these two 6ooks are so "owerful that at first I would ha!e "aid considera6le money to kee" them out of "rint7 *oyle @Te as *ollyA (runson couldn9t ha!e 6een 6ou'ht off8 anyway7 I9!e chan'ed my mind7 I think a6out how "oker has 'rown o!er the last few years and how many new "layers ha!e Boined the 'ame7 There must 6e millions of them7 They9re ready to treat the strate'y of "oker with res"ect8 and I want them to treat it that way7 Poker is a monster of a 'ame that deser!es res"ect7 +hen 'reat "layers like *oyle and his e "ert colla6orators are willin' to share their secrets with you8 "oker cree"s out from the rocks like a dra'on that9s 6een hidin' for a hundred years7 The dra'on emer'es8 looks around8 roars8 and demands res"ect7 E!en thou'h no6ody noticed when that the dra'on wasn9t there8 e!eryone hears it now7 That9s what ha""ened to "oker8 and this 6ook is "art of that dra'on9s roar7 If you9re smart8 you won9t waste
/

the o""ortunity to learn from it7 ;ou see8 "oker isn9t like other kinds of 'am6lin'7 It fits 6etter in the cate'ory of skill 'ames8 like chess and 6rid'e7 +ould those 'ames 6e as well res"ected or ha!e such loyal followin's if e "erts ke"t the secrets to themsel!esE (efore "oker came of a'e8 it was a hustler9s 'ame8 hidden from the "u6lic and not entirely res"ecta6le7 (ut that9s not the case anymore8 and "ro6a6ly won9t 6e e!er a'ain7 Tournaments are 6roadcast to hundreds of millions of tele!ision !iewers8 makin' "eo"le who ha!e ne!er "layed the 'ame 6efore take notice:and Boin in7 So8 now that the dark era of "oker is o!er and the dra'on has come out of hidin'8 I think it9s im"ortant that this 'reat 6ook8 which outlines the strate'ies and the "lays that really win8 take center sta'e7 ;ou know8 I9m not afraid to "lay in any 'ame7 (ut I was once asked which nine o""onents I9d least like to "lay a'ainst at one ta6le7 Now8 there9s a tou'h Juestion7 (ut one "layer I could name without hesitation is *oyle @Te as *ollyA (runson7 *oyle isn9t someone you want to "lay a'ainst8 6ut he is someone you definitely want to learn from7 -nd that 'oes for all the e "erts he has chosen to include in this 6ook7 ;ou9re lucky that you don9t ha!e to learn "oker the way I did7 ;ou won9t need to 6rawl your way to "rofit7 In the years ahead8 if you stick with it8 you9ll "lay millions of hands and wa'er millions of dollars7 I ho"e you9ll "lay ri'ht and wa'er well8 unless you9re in my 'ame8 in which case I ho"e you9ll "lay like a dummy and throw away all your money to me7 *oyle is ready to take you aside and let you in on "oker9s most "owerful secrets8 the ones that really win7 If I were you8 I9d "ay attention7 The other day8 I started thinkin' a6out the 6i' "ie made u" of all those 6illions of dollars that will 6e e chan'ed in "oker hands this year7 +ell8 it9s already 6ein' car!ed u"7 If you want a 6i' slice8 you hold the knife in your hands7

INT5O*L)TION 6y *oyle (runson I9d 6een toyin' with the idea of re!isin' my Su"er#System for years8 6ut e!ery time I discussed it with friends or fellow "rofessional "oker "layers8 I always heard the same res"onseK @+hyE -lmost all the ad!ice in the 6ook is as "owerful today as it was twenty>se!en years a'o7 It doesn9t need a word chan'ed7A Not one to 'o a'ainst the ad!ice of so many 'ood folks8 I "ut it off for a year8 then another year8 and time ke"t slidin' away like chi"s sli""in' off a "oker ta6le7 It9s mi'hty flatterin' to know that Su"er#System has stood the test of time7 -nd I9m 'lad it has8 6ecause when I think 6ack a6out how much time8 money8 and effort went into creatin' it8 I shudder7 I9d let myself 'et talked into writin' and financin' the 6ook7 I con!inced the to" fi!e s"ecialists in !arious "oker 'ames to colla6orate with me7 None of us could ha!e "redicted how de!oted to the "roBect we would 6ecome7 I think we all 'ot a little 6it nuts while we were writin' the ori'inal !ersion7 (efore lon'8 we were runnin' an informal contest to see who could contri6ute the most information to hel" "eo"le "lay 6etter "oker7 -nd all of us swore that we9d ne!er 'i!e u" any of the key secrets that had hel"ed us 6uild our 6ankrolls8 6ut e!entually we found oursel!es 'i!in' u" e!erythin' that had taken us years to learn 6y the seat of our "ants7 -ll those secrets M If you think that9s cra%y8 listen to thisK I not only let myself 'et talked into "roducin' the 6ook8 I 'ot suckered into formin' a whole 6i' com"any Bust to "u6lish and "romote it7 It wasn9t some mom>and>"o" o"eration either:I went the whole nine yards7 5ented an office 6uildin'8 6ou'ht the !ery latest com"uter ty"esettin' eJui"ment8 hired a staff of 'ra"hic artists8 editors8 and rece"tionists8 set u" a marketin' de"artment8 and e!en 6ou'ht a commercial "hoto de!elo"er:all to "u6lish one 6ookF ;ou mi'ht 6e thinkin' that nothin' like that had e!er ha""ened in the history of "u6lishin'8 and you may 6e ri'ht7 Only a 6unch of "oker "layers could9!e dreamed u" such a thin': sane "eo"le would9!e had 6etter sense7 -nd it only took me ni'h on to
0

twenty years to co!er my in!estment7 (ut you know whatE It was worth itF +hen I think a6out the "eo"le I chose as my e "ert colla6orators way 6ack in 9118 the list reads like a @+ho9s +ho of the Most Influential Peo"le in the +orld of Poker7A They were all youn' men 6ack then8 in their late twenties to early thirties:I was the senior statesman at a'e forty>four7 +hen you "ick a 'rou" of "eo"le that youn' from amon' hundreds of outstandin' "ros"ects8 you9d 6e lucky to see one or two of them 'o on to 'reat success7 (ut my team has flourished ama%in'ly and has stood the test of time8 Bust like the 6ook they hel"ed create7 ;ou9ll find them all o!er the "a'es and often the co!ers of 6oth "oker and mainstream "u6lications and e!en on TN7 So8 yes8 I9m mi'hty "roud that I trusted my instincts and had the foresi'ht to select them7 -lmost all of the "oker "rinci"les in Su"er#System are still a""lica6le today8 and that9s why you9ll find them on these "a'es8 alon' with analyses of more 'ames and the un!eilin' of new secrets7 +hen I decided to "u6lish Su"er#System $8 the task seemed monumental to this se!enty>year>old "oker "layer who8 after all these years8 is still acti!e in his chosen "rofession7 (ut today9s e "losion in the "o"ularity of "oker has ke"t me ins"ired to "ush forward with Su"er#System $8 in which we ha!e ada"ted our writin's to account for the dramatic chan'es that ha!e taken "lace in the world of "oker o!er the "ast few decades7 Today9s youn'er "layers risin' throu'h the ranks8 "layin' alon'side old>timers who used decks of cards as 6a6y rattlers when they were still in the cri68 are "layin' a different 6rand of "oker than we "layed in the old days7 -nd we9re "layin' new "oker 'ames that we didn9t "lay 6ack them8 so I9!e drafted some new "eo"le to Boin my ori'inal team of writers7 O5I,IN-L SLPE5#S;STEM TE-M I9m !ery "roud of my 'rou" of colla6orators on the ori'inal Su"er#System: let9s take a look at them 6efore I introduce you to my new team mem6ers7 ;ou9ll meet them as you read the cha"ters7 Mike )aro8 who wrote the draw "oker and statistics sections8 was a draw "oker cham"ion when I first met him8 6ut he has mastered all forms of "oker since then7 He9s a le'endary "layer and "oker strate'ist known the world
4

o!er as @The Mad ,enius of Poker7A In fact8 Mike has 6ecome the strate'ic analyst of choice for many of today9s to" "rofessional "layers7 He reached an e!en wider audience a few years a'o when he founded the Mike )aro Lni!ersity of Poker8 de!oted to educatin' as"irin' "layers7 His 6ooks8 !ideos8 and seminars clearly rank amon' the most sou'ht after in the history of "oker7 Mike is an inte'ral "art of Su"er#System $7 (elie!e me8 I would ne!er ha!e attem"ted to write this 6ook without him7 If I had to choose someone to "lay for the sur!i!al of my family8 it would 6e )hi" 5eese7 @The 6est of the 6estFA are the words that Lyle (erman used to introduce )hi" when he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 14417 -t the a'e of .48 he was the youn'est "erson e!er awarded that honor7 )hi" was a !ery youn' "oker "layer in 14118 ri'ht out of *artmouth8 when I asked him to write the se!en>card stud cha"ter7 In addition to his e "ertise at stud8 a 'ame at which I still 6elie!e he is the 6est e!er8 he has e!ol!ed into the world9s "remier all>around "layer7 I would without hesitation 6et on )hi" a'ainst anyone who dares face him in mi ed 'ames7 )hi" can consistently 6e found in the 6i''est 'ames in the world7 He has "layed in France8 ,ermany8 En'land8 -ustralia8 ,reece8 Ireland8 and South -frica7 -lthou'h he doesn9t "lay many tournaments8 )hi" has won three +orld Series of Poker 6racelets for se!en>card stud8 stud hi'h>low s"lit8 and ra%%7 ;ears a'o he won a no>limit hold9em tournament and "laced second in a deuce>to>se!en tournament8 while "layin' the two e!ents simultaneously7 Now that9s what I call 6ein' !ersatileF *a!id Sklansky8 who colla6orated with me on se!en>card stud hi'h>low s"lit8 has 'enerated a followin' of de!oted "oker enthusiasts8 while "ro!in' himself amon' the most ca"a6le "layers7 *a!id has chosen to "lay a 6road ran'e of 'ames8 from middle to hi'h limits and has 6een successful at all of them7 Like Mike )aro8 he has terrific insi'ht into all "oker 'ames and has "ut his theories and "lays into !ery reada6le strate'y8 "roducin' some of the most hi'hly re'arded "oker 6ooks in the world7 He also has acted as a to" ad!isor to casino owners and e ecuti!es8 and has tutored many of the world9s foremost "rofessional "layers7 I recommend that e!ery "oker "layer read his 6ooks7
13

(o66y (aldwin hardly needs to 6e introduced8 as Bust a6out e!ery6ody in 'amin' is familiar with his 'reat success story7 -fter winnin' the main e!ent at the +orld Series of Poker in 14108 (o66y left "rofessional "oker and went into casino mana'ement7 +ithin a short time8 he had clim6ed to the to" of the ladder and today is considered 6y his "eers to 6e the "remier 'amin' e ecuti!e in the world7 President of the multi>6illion dollar (ella'io Hotel and )asino in Las Ne'as8 (o66y also acts as )EO of the Mira'e )or"oration7 Somehow he still finds time to 'et to'ether with us for some friendly hi'h> stakes "oker e!ery now and then7 In $33. he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame7 +ith the e ce"tion of <oey Hawthorne8 that com"letes the list of my ori'inal colla6orators7 Here9s the sad "artK <oey died from a dru' o!erdose while he was still in his forties8 and his 6rilliant career didn9t ha!e time to 'et off the 'round7 ,od8 I hate dru'sF If he were still with us today8 <oey "ro6a6ly would 6e a "art of this new edition7 -lon' with my old stand6ys8 Mike and (o66y8 I9!e chosen my newest 'rou" of colla6orators carefully8 and I ho"e that twenty>se!en years from now8 their success in "oker and in life will 6e as outstandin' as my ori'inal 'rou"7

11

*O;LE (5LNSON > M; STO5; M; STO5; 6y *oyle (runson - lot has chan'ed since the "u6lication of the ori'inal Su"er#System in 14107 I9ll tell you a6out that shortly7 (ut first I9d like you to know how I felt 6ack then8 at that halfway "oint in my "oker career7 It 'oes like thisM (EFO5E 1410 -t some time in our li!es8 I su""ose we all reflect on the 'ood and the 6ad that has ha""ened to us and ask oursel!es the Juestion8 @If I had it to do all o!er a'ain8 are there thin's I would chan'eEA I9m no e ce"tion7 There9s no one ali!e who could ha!e had it much tou'her than I had it in the early years8 lon' 6efore the "u6lication of the first Su"er#System7 I was in a "hoto>finish with death7 That9s as close as you can 'et to the ultimate 6ad 6eat7 -nd accom"anyin' my early "oker ad!entures8 I e "erienced near tra'edy due to the health "ro6lems of my wife Louise and my oldest dau'hter *oyla7 +e lost *oyla a few years after Su"er#System came out7 It was the 6i''est heart6reak in my life7 I9!e 6een so 6roke early in my marria'e that I couldn9t afford 6us fare from Las Ne'as to my home in Fort +orth7 -nd there were times I could 6arely scra"e u" a dime to call my wife and ask her to send me money for the ticket7 (ut there are two sides to the coin that9s 6een fli""in' my life around7 I finally 'ot to the "oint where I 'ot my 6ankroll u" to one hundred thousand dollars8 and I ha!en9t looked 6ack since7 ;ears 6efore Su"er#System was 6orn8 my wife and family li!ed in relati!e lu ury8 and now they9ll ne!er ha!e a hun'ry day as lon' as they li!e7 I9!e made many millions "layin' "oker8 and at times early on8 lost most of my 6ankroll 6ettin' on s"orts and 'olf7 (ut I9!e always done my thin'8 and I9m a ha""y man 6ecause of it7 The "leasures ha!e definitely outwei'hed the
1$

"ain7 Throu'h it all8 I9!e learned that in life8 a man9s not 6eaten e!en thou'h he9s all>in7 ;ou can9t count him out until the fall of the last card7 I9!e 6een tested time and a'ain on many 6attlefields7 I9!e lost a lot of little skirmishes8 6ut I9!e won the 6i' ones7 That9s what really counts7 The ad!ersity I9!e faced has 6een a 6lessin' in dis'uise7 It9s stren'thened my character7 I9!e had to draw on that stren'th many a time at the "oker ta6le8 and I9ll continue to draw on it for the rest of my years7 I need that stren'th8 too7 ;ou see8 I9m a 'am6ler7 I9ll always 6e one7 I couldn9t 6e anythin' else7 So my life will always 6e filled with wins:and losses7 I wouldn9t ha!e it any other way7 It9s e citin'7 There9s almost ne!er a dull moment in my life8 and I can9t ima'ine anyone ha!in' a 6etter life than the one I ha!e ri'ht now7 I9!e 'ot Bust a6out e!erythin' I want7 That Elusi!e Somethin' ;es8 the deck9s 6een stacked a'ainst me at !arious times in my life8 6ut I9!e o!ercome e!ery cold deck I9!e faced7 I9m enou'h of a dreamer to reali%e what 'ot me throu'h mi'ht ha!e 6een that elusi!e somethin' a 'am6ler calls luck7 (ut I9m also enou'h of a realist to know that8 in 'eneral8 we make our own luck:throu'h knowled'e8 skill8 and e "erience7 -nd that 'oes for the 'ame of "oker as well as the 'ame of life7 In the summer of 14..8 I was 6orn in the +est Te as town of Lon'worth8 a s"ot on the road consistin' of a few houses and a 'eneral store7 I don9t su""ose the "o"ulation e!er e ceeded one hundred7 +e had only two industries in the area8 farmin' and a L7S7 ,y"sum "lant7 My dad worked for Planters ,in )om"any8 and while he didn9t make much money8 there was always food on the ta6le and a little e tra for the kids once in a while7 +e li!ed in a four>room frame house at the time8 with an outhouse at the 6ack7 I remem6er thinkin' when I was little that8 if I e!er 'ot any money8 I9d 6rin' the "lum6in' indoors7 It used to 'et mi'hty cold on those "rairies durin' the winter7 There were fi!e of us li!in' at home when I was smallK *ad8 Mom8 my sister La!ada8 my older 6rother Lloyd8 and myself7 It was crowded 6ut we didn9t mind7 There was a lot of warmth and a lot of lo!e7
1.

My mother was a reli'ious8 ,od>fearin' woman who did her 6est to raise us with a sense of moral !alues7 I su""ose a 'ood deal of that has remained with me7 She used to tell us that you9ll find 'ood in e!ery man if you look hard enou'h7 I9!e always tried to remem6er that and act accordin'ly8 althou'h sometimes it9s 6een mi'hty difficult considerin' some of the unsa!ory characters I9!e come in contact with7 My dad was "erha"s the calmest8 most e!en>tem"ered indi!idual I9!e e!er known7 Nothin' ruffled him7 I can9t remem6er e!er seein' him 'et an'ry7 +hen thin's went wron' he9d take it in stride8 smile8 and say that set6acks are only a tem"orary thin'7 Tomorrow would always 6e 6etter7 Of course we kids would 'et into a little trou6le e!ery once in a while8 as all kids do8 and there were times when he surely would ha!e 6een Bustified in whalin' the tar out of us7 (ut he ne!er e!en raised his !oice7 Not once7 Nor did he e!er hit us7 He had an a6ility to make us know we9d 6een out of line without raisin' as much as one fin'er7 He was a truly remarka6le man7 +hen the ,ood Lord made my dad8 he destroyed the mold7 School *ays I attended 'rammar school in Lon'worth where se!eral 'rades were held in one room7 I recall that my third 'rade class consisted of only three kids8 two 6oys and a 'irl7 +e 'ot a lot of indi!idual attention8 that9s for sure7 -fter 'rammar school and Bunior hi'h8 I entered Sweetwater Hi'h School with *7 )7 -ndrews and 5iley )ross8 two of my closest friends from Lon'worth7 +e turned out for the 6asket6all team7 (efore lon'8 we were known as the Lon'worth Tri"le Threat8 and the three of us took o!er the !arsity team7 +hy notE +e were in "rime sha"e7 +e were always workin' out8 runnin'8 and swimmin'7 *7 )78 5iley8 and I would run non>sto" from Lon'worth to the swimmin' hole on the (arclay 5anch8 which was a6out ei'ht miles away7 Sometimes we9d run from Sweetwater 6ack to Lon'worth after school8 6ut the coach didn9t take too kindly to that7 He 'a!e us a station wa'on so we9d 6e sure to make the "ractices on time7 S"orts were my whole life in those days7 They were e!erythin'7 In addition to 6asket6all8 I also turned out for the 6ase6all team and8 at the su''estion of my coach8 started runnin' track7 I was ne!er much interested in
12

track8 6ut the 6asket6all season was o!er and I needed somethin' to do to kee" in sha"e8 so I took on the mile run7 It seemed like a fair distance and with all the runnin' I was doin'8 I felt I could do all ri'ht7 I honestly didn9t reali%e at the time how well I9d actually do7 In 14I38 as a senior8 I entered the Te as Interscholastic Track Meet as a mile runner and won it with a time of 2K.07 +ithout really tryin'8 I9d suddenly 6ecome the 6est hi'h school miler in the state of Te as7 In the meantime8 I had also 6een chosen as one of the fi!e 6est hi'h school 6asket6all "layers in the state8 a rather heady e "erience for a 6oy of si teen7 5idin' Hi'h -fter that8 the scholarshi" offers started comin' in7 -ll told8 there must ha!e 6een a hundred or so from !arious colle'es and uni!ersities throu'hout the country7 I finally settled on Hardin>Simmons8 a (a"tist>affiliated colle'e in -6ilene that was known "rimarily for turnin' out teachers and coaches7 -t the time8 I felt my life9s work would 6e in one of these areas7 In my Bunior year at Hardin>Simmons8 I was !oted the most !alua6le "layer in the (order )onference8 and the "ro teams were 6e'innin' to show an interest7 The Minnea"olis Lakers8 now the Los -n'eles Lakers8 were makin' o!ertures8 and I 6e'an to set my si'hts on a career as a "rofessional 6asket6all "layer7 *ell (asket6all ma'a%ine "icked me as one of the to" ten colle'e "layers in the country7 I was ridin' hi'h7 In addition to the 6asket6all honors8 I had run the mile in 2K107/8 which "ut me in contention for a s"ot on the national team7 I often wonder what would ha!e ha""ened if I had trained as hard for track as I did for 6asket6all7 Thinkin' a6out it now8 I9m sorry I didn9t7 I think I missed my true callin' in s"orts7 There9s no dou6t in my mind that a four>minute mile was "ossi6le7 The future looked 6ri'ht indeed7 In the summer8 I 'ot a Bo6 at the L7S7 ,y"sum "lant7 It wasn9t any 'reat shakes as Bo6s 'o8 6ut I "lanned on sa!in' enou'h to last me throu'h my senior year7 One day8 I was unloadin' some sheetrock8 and as I was haulin' the sheets off and stackin' them8 suddenly8 the "ile 6e'an to shift7 I tried to sto" it with my 6ody8 Bammin' my knee into the lower half of the "ile to kee" it in "lace7 +hat a dummy I was7 I couldn9t
1I

sto" it7 Two thousand "ounds of sheetrock crashed on my ri'ht le'7 It sna""ed in two "laces7 I remem6er my first thou'ht was8 @My ,od8 I9ll ne!er "lay 6asket6all a'ain7A My le' was in a cast for two years due to com"lications7 The fractures finally healed8 6ut when the cast came off8 my s"eed and coordination were 'one7 So were my ho"es for the "ros7 My First Poker ,ame I9d 6een "layin' "oker off and on since my hi'h school days7 In fact8 I still remem6er my first 'ame7 It was fi!e>card draw8 and I ended u" the 6i' winner7 I recall thinkin' at the time what easy money it was7 -fter I entered Hardin>Simmons8 I9d "lay in the usual Saturday ni'ht 'ames7 In 'eneral8 I seemed to do "retty well7 I 'ot cau'ht once or twice and was disci"lined for 'am6lin'8 6ut since I was one of the 6asket6all stars nothin' much came of it7 -fter 6reakin' my le'8 6asket6all was out of the Juestion and I s"ent a lot more time "layin' "oker7 I 6e'an "ayin' more attention to my studies also7 Prior to my inBury8 I felt that 6asket6all would carry me throu'h school7 (ut from here on in8 I9d ha!e to use my 6rain7 My "oker winnin's "aid for my e "enses8 and in 14I2 I 'raduated with a 6achelor9s de'ree7 I stayed on at Hardin>Simmons and earned my master9s de'ree in -dministrati!e Education the followin' year7 +ith these credentials8 I felt sure I9d 6e offered a Bo6 that would lead to a "osition as su"erintendent of schools or at least a "rinci"al7 It didn9t work out that way7 In fact8 the to" Bo6 offered to me was that of a 6asket6all coach at *alhart =Te as? Hi'h School at a salary of C28033 a year7 It didn9t make senseD I was makin' more than that Bust "layin' "oker7 I used to tra!el around to the different colle'es in Te as settin' u" 'ames and makin' a fair li!in' 6y my wits7 -t that time8 howe!er8 the idea of 6ecomin' a "rofessional 'am6ler had not occurred to me e!en thou'h it was a""arent I "layed 6etter than most7 -fter 'raduation8 I went to work as a 6usiness machines salesman8 a "rofession that ultimately could ha!e made me some twenty>fi!e or thirty thousand a year:or so I thou'ht7 (ut it wasn9t in the cards7 My first day on the Bo68 I called on a few "ros"ecti!e accounts7 I didn9t 'et much further than the front door8 and I wound u" in a "oker 'ame 6efore the day was out7 It was a se!en>stud 'ame where I cleared a month9s salary in less than three hours7
1/

@My ,od8A I thou'ht8 @what am I doin' tryin' to sell machines no6ody wants to 6uy from me when I can sit down at a "oker ta6le and make ten times the money in one>si th the timeEA It didn9t take me !ery lon' to fi'ure out what to do7 I Juit the com"any and 6e'an my career as a full>time "rofessional "oker "layer7 I9!e ne!er re'retted that decision7 Turnin' Pro The first 'ames I "layed that amounted to anythin' were down on E chan'e Street in Fort +orth8 Te as7 I9d 6e sur"rised if you could find a tou'her street in the whole world7 There were shootin's8 mu''in's8 ro66eries8 and Bust a6out e!ery kind of !iolence ima'ina6le7 The stuff we see on TN today is tame com"ared to what E chan'e Street was like almost any hour of the day7 (ut at the card ta6le8 amidst all that !iolence8 e!erythin' was as 'entlemanly as could 6e7 They were two different worlds7 My 6uddy *wayne Hamilton and I freJuented a card room run 6y a 'an'ster named Tincy whose main claim to fame was ha!in' killed half a do%en "eo"le7 He ran an honest 'ame8 thou'h8 and *wayne and I did fairly well7 No>limit hold9em was our main 'ame7 -fter we accumulated a 'ood>si%ed stake we mo!ed u"town to the three hundred and fi!e hundred 6uy>in 'ames where we "layed with doctors8 lawyers8 and other "rofessional "eo"le7 For the ne t fi!e or si years we made the Te as circuit8 "layin' 6i''er and 6i''er 'ames throu'hout the state7 Occasionally we9d dro" into the 6i' 'ames in Oklahoma and Louisiana7 *urin' this "eriod8 I met -marillo Slim and Sailor 5o6erts8 a cou"le of the finest "oker hustlers I9!e e!er met7 +e hit it off from the start and after *wayne mo!ed 6ack to Fort +orth8 Sailor8 Slim8 and I decided to 'o into 6usiness to'ether7 +e must ha!e hit e!ery town in Te as8 relie!in' the locals of their money7 It was a si'ht to see8 the three of us takin' on all comers7 -nd not Bust at "oker7 +e 'ot to the "oint where we were 'am6lin' on Bust a6out e!ery 'ame there was:'olf8 tennis8 6asket6all8 "ool8 s"orts 6ettin'7 <ust a6out e!erythin'7 -s lon' as we thou'ht we had some sort of an ed'e8 we9d 6et7 -nd we made money7 Pretty soon we 'ot to know most e!ery6ody in the 'ames no matter where we "layed7 +e ke"t runnin' into the same 'uys all the time:<ack Straus8 <ohnny Moss8 (o6 Hooks8 and a lot of others7
11

Makin' a Name for Oursel!es -s our re"utations 'rew8 we were in!ited to more and more 'ames in "ri!ate clu6s and homes7 For the most "art8 these 'ames were for rich oil men and cattlemen who had a hankerin' to take on youn' "rofessionals like us7 It was safer "layin' in these 'ames than "layin' in 6ack rooms where you took a risk e!ery time you won a fair amount7 I9!e 6een hiBacked a few times8 and I can tell you it9s not a "leasant e "erience to 6e lookin' down at the 6usiness end of a shot'un7 Sailor8 Slim8 and I stuck to'ether for si years or so8 and we had some mi'hty fine times7 Once in a while we were down8 6ut we mana'ed to hold our own 6etter than most7 Our "artnershi" finally 6roke u" after our first 6i' tri" to Las Ne'as7 +e lost our entire 6ankroll:close to si fi'ures:and 6elie!e me8 there9s nothin' more cantankerous than three 6roke 'am6lers7 +e went our se"arate ways after that 6ut ha!e remained close friends to this day7 In 14/38 I met my wife8 Louise7 She was a "harmacist in San -n'elo8 Te as8 and I courted her for a6out two years7 She was somethin' worth winnin'8 you see8 and I can tell you I had an u"hill fi'ht "ersuadin' my sweetheart that I was her one and only7 She was con!inced I was married8 and it took a hea" of testimonials to con!ince her that I was sin'le and a!aila6le7 I worked harder for our first date than anythin' I9!e e!er done in my life7 -fter I asked her to marry me8 she had to think twice a6out "ermanently hitchin' u" with a "rofessional 'am6ler7 She had a lot of dou6ts7 It wasn9t what most 'irls were doin' at the time7 I finally con!inced her and we were married in -u'ust of 14/$7 -6out four months after we were married8 I woke u" one mornin' with a sore throat and thou'ht I was comin' down with a 6ad cold7 There was a little knot on the side of my neck a6out the si%e of a "ea7 Louise insisted I 'o to a doctor8 and so for a6out three weeks I was takin' hea!y doses of anti6iotics e!ery day7 That didn9t hel"8 and the knot 'rew to the si%e of a hen9s e''7 (y that time8 I was "lenty worried7 My 6rother Lloyd had died of cancer a short while 6efore8 and I couldn9t kee" that off my mind7 +e consulted a cancer s"ecialist in Fort +orth7 He took one look at me and scheduled me for sur'ery the followin' Monday7 He didn9t think the tumor was mali'nant8 6ut
10

said it would ha!e to come out7 Somethin' -wfully +ron' I went into the o"eratin' room at /K.3 a7m7 +hen I woke u" in the reco!ery room8 it was dark7 E!en thou'h I was !ery 'ro''y8 I could tell thin's weren9t 'oin' too well for me7 Not only were my head and 6ack in 6anda'es8 6ut my entire chest was wra""ed in 'au%e and com"letely co!ered with ta"e7 I remem6er thinkin'8 @*oyle8 there9s somethin' awfully wron'7A Louise was there at my side tellin' me e!erythin' was 'oin' to 6e all ri'ht8 6ut I knew she was tryin' to hide somethin'7 I was in a lot of "ain8 and the dru's they ke"t feedin' me ke"t me fairly stu"ified for the ne t few days7 I remained in the hos"ital for Juite a while7 My relati!es and friends were always comin' 6y to see how I was doin'7 That was a comfort7 Still8 no6ody had the coura'e to tell me what the real situation was7 The only thin' I knew was that I was 'oin' to 6e taken for further study to the )ancer )enter at M7 *7 -nderson Hos"ital in Houston7 +hat I had not 6een told was that when the doctors o"ened me u"8 they found massi!e cancer s"read throu'hout my 6ody7 It had reached close to the 6ase of my 6rain8 and my chest and stomach area were riddled with it7 Four sur'eons had 6een called in and they all a'reed that it was useless to "roceed7 The cancer had attacked so much of my 6ody that it was only a matter time 6efore I died7 I was a 6i' do' to li!e lon'er than four months7 They )ame to Say ,ood6ye +hile I sus"ected the worst8 it wasn9t until I was taken home for one day8 "rior to flyin' to Houston8 that I really knew I was 'oin' to die7 O!er two hundred "eo"le from all o!er the country came to our house that day7 I was really sur"rised7 I didn9t think I had that many close friends7 From the way e!ery6ody was actin' it was o6!ious they9d come to say 'ood6ye7 My friend *wayne Hamilton Bust 6roke down and cried7 Louise was "re'nant at the time8 and I thou'ht to myself how sad it was that I9d "ro6a6ly ne!er 'et to see my 6a6y7 (y all ri'hts8 I9d 6e dead and 'one 6efore it arri!ed7 Louise was thinkin' the same thin' and had made the arran'ements for further sur'ery at M7 *7 -nderson7 Thou'h the doctors had told her there was
14

no ho"e of my li!in'8 they said there mi'ht 6e a sli'ht chance of "rolon'in' my life a few more months throu'h radical neck sur'ery7 +ith that o"eration8 there was a "ossi6ility that I9d 6e a6le to li!e lon' enou'h to see my 6a6y 6efore the cancer reached my 6rain7 +e flew to Houston the ne t day7 For the ne t two>and>a>half weeks8 I rested in the hos"ital to 6uild myself u" for the sur'ery to come7 I went into the o"eratin' room at 13K.3 a7m7 I s"ent ei'ht hours under the knife and at /K.3 "7m78 they 'a!e Louise the news7 I was 'oin' to make it7 It had 6een touch and 'o7 The Im"ossi6le Had Ha""ened -t one "oint durin' the o"eration8 my 6lood "ressure dro""ed to %ero8 6ut they "ulled me throu'h7 +hat was truly incredi6le was that there was no lon'er any trace of cancer in my system7 The doctors couldn9t 6elie!e it7 The im"ossi6le had ha""ened7 The odds a'ainst merely sur!i!in' the o"eration itself were !ery hi'h7 month earlier the 6lack corru"tion of melanoma had 6een !isi6le to the naked eye7 That the cancer had disa""eared was incom"rehensi6le to the staff at the hos"ital7 Fi!e doctors had unanimously a'reed that it was a medical im"ossi6ility for me to li!e lon'er than a few more months8 with or without the o"eration7 For the ne t two weeks8 Louise and Sailor took turns watchin' me twenty> four hours a day8 since we couldn9t afford a "ri!ate nurse7 I had to 6e o6ser!ed closely7 The tu6es that led to my 6ody had to 6e checked constantly8 and my !ital si'ns had to 6e monitored continuously7 I don9t know when Louise and Sailor 'ot any slee"7 -fter lea!in' the hos"ital8 I recu"erated at my sister9s7 +hen my stren'th returned8 I re"orted 6ack to the hos"ital in Fort +orth for a checku"7 The doctor who had first o"erated on me was at a com"lete loss for an e "lanation7 The only thin' he could say was that occasionally8 s"ontaneous remissions occur8 6ut in my case he could only 6elie!e a miracle had ha""ened7 Later we found out that durin' the o"eration se!eral friends had s"oken to their church "astors a6out my case and entire con're'ations were "rayin' for
$3

my reco!ery7 Those "rayers surely must ha!e 6een answered7 - Hi'her Power Louise had always 6een a reli'ious woman8 6ut this e "erience and two others in our li!es reinforced her con!iction that there9s a hi'her "ower that watches o!er us7 Shortly after my reco!ery8 Louise de!elo"ed a uterine tumor7 That normally reJuires e tensi!e sur'ery and remo!al of the female or'ans7 She was scheduled for sur'ery8 6ut 6efore the "rocedure8 it was disco!ered that her tumor had disa""eared7 -nother miracle7 In 141I8 when my dau'hter *oyla was twel!e years old she was found to ha!e idio"athic scoliosis8 a de6ilitatin' s"inal disorder7 That affliction causes e tensi!e cur!ature of the s"ine or "ermanent cri""lin'7 S"ecialists were consulted and radical "rocedures were recommended8 includin' im"lantation of a steel rod in her s"ine or a full 6ody 6race7 None of that was necessary7 Louise or'ani%ed a marathon "rayer session for *oyla that included radio 6roadcasts and corres"ondence with the late Hatherine Huhlman8 the famous faith healer7 +ithin three months8 *oyla9s s"ine had strai'htened com"letely7 The doctors acknowled'ed that hers was one of only three known cases where the cur!ature was corrected without sur'ical assistance7 The third miracle in our family7 Since that time8 Louise has 6een e tremely acti!e in )hristian ministry and hea!ily in!ol!ed in work with forei'n missions7 She s"ends as much or more time as a ser!ant of the Lord as she does in takin' care of our family7 She9s said time and a'ainK @It9s so e citin' to 6e a )hristian7 It9s 6y far the most e citin' "art of li!in'7A -nd I know she 6elie!es that as stron'ly as any "erson on earth7 Fortunately8 money was not a "ro6lem when the mountains of medical 6ills came "ourin' in for Louise and *oyla7 I did !ery well at the "oker ta6le durin' all those years7 +hen I left the hos"ital after my o"eration8 I recu"erated for a while and then I returned to the "oker circuit with a %est and a""reciation for life that I had ne!er had 6efore7 Each day when I woke u" the sky was 6luer and the 'rass was 'reener7 The world was as 6ri'ht as could 6e7 I was ali!e7 From the first session I started "layin' a'ain8 I won
$1

fifty>four times in a row7 I ne!er 6ooked a loser until the fifty>fifth session I "layed7 Ne!er 6efore8 or since8 ha!e I had such a streak7 I won enou'h to com"letely clear my immense doctor and hos"ital 6ills and had "lenty left o!er to kee" my family comforta6le for se!eral years7 E!erythin' Seemed to )lick (efore the sur'ery8 I would ha!e classified myself as a sli'htly 6etter than a!era'e "layer7 Howe!er8 after that ordeal8 somethin' ha""ened7 E!erythin' seemed to click8 and I was "layin' 6etter than I had e!er "layed in my life7 My "layin' 6ecame almost instincti!e7 I was readin' my com"etitors more accurately8 and I felt a self>assurance I had ne!er e "erienced7 My 6rush with death had a""arently tri''ered innate a6ilities that had ne!er surfaced 6efore7 The most im"ortant thin' of all was that I disco!ered my true !ocation7 I had finally dis"elled any dou6ts a6out what my "rofession in life was 'oin' to 6e7 (ecause of "ressure from my family and friends8 I had thou'ht a6out returnin' to @le'itimateA work7 (ut now I knew I ne!er would7 I was ne!er 'oin' to 6e a workin' stiff8 nor was I e!er 'oin' to ha!e a 6oss7 I was 'oin' to make my way throu'h life my way7 *urin' the ne t few years8 I shuttled 6etween Fort +orth and Las Ne'as8 where more and more of the action was de!elo"in'7 I was still doin' most of my "layin' in Te as8 6ut it was 'ettin' difficult to find the really 6i' 'ames there7 I was 6eatin' them so re'ularly that they were finally sayin'8 @+e can do without *oyle7A The action8 for me8 was really 6e'innin' to dry>u"7 -lso8 in 1413 )on'ress "assed le'islation makin' it e!en more difficult for a "oker "rofessional to make a li!in'7 The law that directly affected me made it a federal offense to run a lar'e scale "oker 'ame from which fi!e or more "layers deri!ed an income8 e ce"t8 of course8 in states where such 'am6lin' was le'al7 The handwritin' was on the wall7 So in 141.8 I mo!ed my family:LouiseD *oyla8 13D Pamela8 4D and my little 6oy Todd8 who had his fourth 6irthday on the road:to Las Ne'as where we esta6lished our home7 It9s a 'ood "lace to li!eK 'ood weather8 'ood action8 and 'ood "eo"le7 )om"etiti!e 6y Nature
$$

I9m known as a "rofessional 'am6ler rather than Bust a "rofessional "oker "layer8 and I ha!e to admit that I am7 I9!e 6een known to 6et on Bust a6out anythin'7 -nd 6ecause of that8 I9!e surely had my share of losers7 If I had stuck to "oker8 I9d "ro6a6ly 6e a far wealthier man today7 (ut old ha6its are hard to 6reak8 and I Bust like to 'am6le7 Howe!er8 it9s more than Bust likin' to 'am6le7 I9m !ery com"etiti!e 6y nature7 -s lon' as there9s a contest:any kind of contest8 e!en if it9s a mar6le shootin' contest:I want to 6e a "art of it7 If I can9t 6e an acti!e "artici"ant as I am at "oker and 'olf:and therefore 6ettin' on myself:I ha!e to 6et on one side or the other8 6e it a foot6all 'ame8 a "ri%efi'ht8 or whate!er7 My com"etiti!e nature is one of the reasons I feel I9!e 6een so successful "layin' "oker7 ;ou9!e 'ot to "lay hard to 6e a consistent winner at "oker8 and I9m a6le to do that instincti!ely7 I was a !ery fierce com"etitor as an athlete in hi'h school and colle'e7 That com"etiti!e s"irit remains with me7 I9m sure it has a lot to do with my success at the "oker ta6le7 I9!e ne!er lost the feelin' of e hilaration that comes when you9re doin' the 6est you can and 'am6lin' real hi'h7 There9s no feelin' Juite like it7 Ne t to "oker8 'olf is my fa!orite 'ame8 and I9m considered a "retty 'ood "layer:"ro6a6ly a little 6etter than the ne t 'uy7 Lnfortunately8 Juite a few of those ne t 'uys ha!e "layed a shade 6etter than me when we 'ot to 6ettin' on the course7 I remem6er 'oin' 6ack east one year with my 6est friend <ack (inion and endin' u" "layin' 'olf with a millionaire7 +e ke"t raisin' the stakes until finally we had C1038333 ridin' on one hole7 He "utted out for a "ar to my 6o'ey and all that money Bust flew away7 -nd that9s Bust one of se!eral such stories I could tell you7 Now8 the title of the first Su"er#System was ori'inally How I Made o!er C183338333 Playin' Poker7 The title of my ne t one is 'oin' to 6e How I Lost o!er C183338333 Playin' ,olf7 There9s definitely a moral in there somewhere7 - lot has 6een written a6out my winnin' the 141/ and 1411 +orld Series of Poker for a total of some CI/383337 ;ou may ha!e read some of the many stories7 They were tou'h 'ames a'ainst tou'h com"etitors7 The 6est "layers in the world sat at those ta6les and the "ace was 'ruelin'7 That kind of "layin' is not somethin' I would care to do e!ery day8 6ut for a sheer 'ut>
$.

le!el contest8 it can9t 6e 6eat7 There9s a certain "ride you take from knowin' that you9!e taken on the 6est and come out on the to"7 (ut with this "ride also comes the reali%ation that you can ne!er afford to 6ecome com"lacent7 In 6oth the 141/ and 1411 Series8 I made a full house only when the final card was "layed7 -nd "erha"s there9s a moral in that8 too7 -s I noted8 in "oker as in life8 you can9t count a man out until the last card falls7 1410 -N* (E;ON* Life is always chan'in'8 ne!er constant7 ;ou really can9t count on anythin' stayin' the same7 Late in 14118 I added the finishin' touches to the ori'inal Su"er#System8 and its "u6lication would chan'e "oker for me fore!er in ways I hadn9t antici"ated7 The "eo"le closest to me8 6oth my friends and my "oker o""onents8 continued to see me in "retty much the same li'ht7 (ut it was the "eo"le and the "layers I9d ne!er met 6efore who 6e'an treatin' me differently7 For the most "art8 they treated me with more re!erence8 and that was flatterin'7 No6ody e!er sat in a "oker 'ame anymore who didn9t know who I was7 -nd so many stran'ers had read my 6ook in the first months after its "u6lication that I ne!er knew when I was "layin' a student of my 'ame "lan8 who was e "ectin' me to "lay "oker "recisely as I had descri6ed and ea'er to take ad!anta'e7 For'in' -head -lthou'h I had to adBust my strate'y a little to kee" these "layers confused8 I was a6le to "retty much stick to my 'ame "lan and "lay Bust as I had written7 It worked8 6ecause the strate'y was so "owerful that you could almost tell your o""onents what you9re 'oin' to do:how you9re 'oin' to 6et8 how often you9re 'oin' to 6luff:and there wouldn9t 6e much they could do a6out it7 I had de!ised a "ro!en world>class 'ame "lan for winnin'7 -nd when you ha!e a world>class 'ame "lan for winnin'Mwell8 you Bust win7 Hardly anythin' else can ha""en8 and I wasn9t a6out to chan'e my style of "lay dramatically8 Bust 6ecause I9d shared my secrets with the world7
$2

Stran'ers could take my secrets and 6eat almost e!eryone with them8 6ut I was determined that they weren9t 'oin' to use them to 6eat me7 -nd they didn9t7 (ut thin's chan'ed some7 Poker chan'ed7 More and more8 a new ty"e of "layer was comin' on the scene:more literate8 more refined7 Old 'am6lers were true 'am6lers8 ready to "ut all their money on the ta6le anytime8 anywhere7 Most of them had no other o"tion as a li!elihood8 either7 Poker was a "ath out of "o!erty7 Many old 'am6lers were uneducated7 Today8 "layers often ha!e de'rees and treat "oker as a 6usiness rather than a "ure form of 'am6lin'7 Modern "layers are 'rowin' u" in a world of the Internet8 and many e!en "lay "oker online8 somethin' that would ha!e 6een 6eyond anyone9s wildest ima'ination when the first co"y of Su"er#System was "urchased7 -nd "oker has 'rown so !astly in recent years7 So !astly7 The old ways: those seedy 'ames in the 6ack of "ool halls8 in ta!erns8 those "ri!ate home 'ames and the ones held 6y fraternal or'ani%ations like the Elks and the NF+:are Juickly fadin'7 It was so much more difficult to 'et 'ood 6ack then7 ;ou had to do it the hard way7 Today8 you can take a shortcut to winnin' Bust 6y readin' what the e "erts and "ro!en "layers ha!e contri6uted8 rather than ha!in' to de!elo" "oker talents throu'h trial and error7 (i' Money -fter 14118 I started accumulatin' 6i' money7 The re'ular 'ames were 'ood8 and the side 'ames at the +orld Series of Poker were e cellent7 (ut this 'olden a'e for "oker "rofits didn9t last7 *id you know that satellites ruined the cash 'ames at the tournamentsE The "layers who "re!iously came to town ea'er to risk their 6ankrolls a'ainst the to" "ros in side 'ames suddenly disco!ered they could 'et their adrenaline rush 6y "layin' in these one>ta6le shootouts8 tryin' to win entries into the tournaments Bust 6y 6eatin' e!eryone at a sin'le ta6le7 It was addicti!e for them7 -nd it worked "erfectly to increase the num6er of entrants in the tournaments7 (ut it didn9t work well for those of us who had "re!iously 6enefited when these ine "erienced "layers 6um"ed heads a'ainst us durin'
$I

those tournaments7 Satellites had arri!ed8 and that kind of easy "rofit was 'one7 - few ad!enturous "layers still sou'ht us out8 wantin' the challen'e7 (ut mostly8 the o""ortunities for su"er>soft side 'ames at tournaments were 'one7 *es"ite this8 my "oker 6ankroll continued to 'row7 It was almost all smooth sailin'8 almost all success7 E!erythin' went strai'ht u"7 It was a time when the ,am6lers In!itational ,olf Tournament8 hosted 6y <ack (inion8 6rou'ht all the 'am6lers to'ether and 6oasted some of the 6i''est 'olf 'ames in the history of the s"ort7 Those who think that there9s 6i' money of the P,- tour ha!e no idea what 'oes on when a 6unch of 'olf> cra%ed 'am6lers 'et to'ether7 -nd it didn9t matter how well or how "oorly you "layed the 'ame8 if you had a 6ankroll and a set of clu6s8 we9d fi'ure out a way to make it a fair 'am6le7 *u6ious 5e"utations I made a load of money 'olfin'8 "artly 6ecause I had a re"utation for 'i!in' action7 ;ou9!e 'ot to 'i!e action to 'et action7 I used sheer mental tou'hness and com"etiti!eness8 as well as a ,od>'i!en 'ift for athletics8 to come out on to"7 There were million dollar days7 (ack then8 not e!eryone we wa'ered with at 'olf 6elon'ed in the @re"uta6le 'am6lerA cate'ory7 Take <immy )ha'ra8 a con!icted dru' dealer who was later re!ealed to 6e one of the 6i''est su""liers in the Lnited States7 +e9re talkin' 6oatloads from )olum6ia7 +ell8 that was the @successfulA side of )ha'ra7 On the less successful side8 he had his 'olf 'ame !astly o!errated7 He was so wron' a6out his a6ility that he demanded to "lay C1338333 Nassaus with automatic "resses anytime someone 'ot two holes down7 No6ody else could easily afford to "lay that hi'h8 so I decided take the challen'e and also to stake the le'endary "oker "layer Pu''y Pearson from Nash!ille and <erry Irwin from Indiana"olis8 6oth "artici"ants in <ack9s tournament7 Now Pu''y had a du6ious re"utation for takin' ad!anta'es that were8 well8 let9s Bust say they a""roached the 'ray area on a scale of 'olfin' "ro"riety7 -ll three of us 6eat )ha'ra the first two holes and8 on the third8 the automatic "ress started7
$/

Ne t hole7 Pu''y and I are on the 'reen in two8 while )ha'ra finds himself in a sand tra"7 There9s a meanin'less s"ot of sun>dried 'rass in front of Pu''y9s 6all8 a 6lemish on the 'reen "ath to the hole8 6ut not a hindrance to his "utt in any way7 For some reason I9ll ne!er li!e lon' enou'h to understand8 Pu''y mo!ed his 6all a few inches away from the suns"ot8 to no ad!anta'e7 May6e it9s Bust Pu'9s nature7 )ha'ra had his 6ody'uard ridin' in the cart with him7 @<immy8 Pu''y mo!ed his 6all8A the 6ody'uard announced7 +ell8 )ha'ra went 6allistic8 screamin'8 6ellowin'8 threatenin'8 @I9m 'onna 6low all you 6lankety>6lanks awayFA I fi'ure Pu''y cost me C$ million in future earnin's that day8 may6e more8 and I9!e ne!er let him for'et it7 +hile I "ersonally had success a'ainst )ha'ra after that8 Pu''y ne!er 'ot another chance7 He was 6anished fore!er from our 'rou"7 My Saddest Hour Life is like "oker sometimes7 <ust when thin's are 'oin' so 'ood that you think you9re su""osed to win e!ery "ot8 you 'et a monster hand cracked8 and it s"ells the 6e'innin' of a di%%yin' downward s"iral7 That9s how it was when *oyla died at ei'hteen7 She9d 6een attendin' LNLN7 +e knew she had a !al!e "ro6lem with her heart8 6ut it wasn9t su""osed to 6e serious7 They say it was too much "otassium that took her from us7 It was so une "ected8 like 6ein' kicked in the 'ut so hard you don9t think you can e!er stand u" a'ain8 6reathe a'ain7 ;ou know how each of us sometimes searches for the meanin' of lifeE Losin' *oyla started my search in earnest7 *oyla was a de!out )hristian8 as is her mother8 Louise7 To 6e sure8 I had )hristian 6eliefs8 too7 (ut I wasn9t really "racticin' them7 I 'uess I had strayed a6out as far away from ,od as you can and still 6e a 6elie!er7 Thinkin' 6ack8 I was too cau'ht u" in myself and my Juest for success8 my desire to 6e rich and famous and such7 I sunk into a lon' de"ression7 *urin' this time I studied the (i6le and other )hristian literature7 It awakened me7 ,radually8 so 'radually o!er the ne t year8 my stren'th returned8 and with it my resol!e and my s"irit7 I came to reali%e that ,od allows us to ha!e a free will and do as we "lease7
$1

-nd so8 *oyla had used her free will when she took too much "otassium8 the e!ent that "ut her system out of 6alance and sto""ed her heart7 It must not ha!e seemed like a 6i' thin' to her8 such a small mistake7 (ut sometimes choices we make ha!e conseJuences 6eyond what we could e!er ima'ine7 I remem6er *oyla e!ery day8 and the shock and the sadness of losin' her will ne!er end7 (ut I9m at "eace with ,od7 Had I not come to acce"t that "eace8 I could ne!er ha!e returned successfully to "oker7 I finally came to understand that *oyla9s and Louise9s )hristian 6eliefs were ri'ht for me7 -nd I was ready to re!isit "oker with a new !i'or7 I mo!ed to )alifornia and found !ery soft action at the "oker ta6les7 -t the (icycle )lu68 I won o!er a C1 million !ery Juickly7 I was 6ack7 Esse 8 En'land I9!e 6ecome more reflecti!e a6out life as I9!e continued to mature7 It9s stran'e to reali%e that a man can 'et to 6e fifty8 si ty8 and now se!enty and still find himself maturin'7 (ut that9s what ha""ens7 -6out twenty years a'o8 I took an interest in 'enealo'y8 wonderin' how I came to 6e7 I learned that 5o'er (runson8 the first historically recorded (runson in -merica8 could 6e traced to )onnecticut in 1/$I7 -nd you can trace my linea'e 6ack to Esse 8 En'land in the 1I33s7 -ctually8 the early surnames in my family weren9t all (runson7 They were (rownson8 meanin' son of (raun8 and (ronson7 (ut these were all related8 all from the same family tree7 I disco!ered that8 e ce"t for Nati!e -mericans8 no families can trace their roots to this continent further 6ack than the (runsons7 Sometimes I wonder if any of the (runsons who "receded me had 'am6lin' in their natures7 +ere they 'reat risk takersE *id they o!ercome ad!ersity or 'et 6uried 6y itE +hat an'uish did they face that in!ol!ed their familiesE +hat !ictories made them "roudestE History doesn9t "ro!ide me enou'h detail7 Still8 I wonder7 -s for me8 life9s "ath has 6een "e""ered with "retty "anorama and disastrous detours7 May6e e!eryone9s life is a little like that7 May6e thin's that ha""en to you Bust seem ma'nified and out of "ro"ortion when com"ared to e!ents that ha""en to others7
$0

Thinkin' (ack The e!ents that I most remem6er "lay out in my mind like sound 6ites7 Occasionally I can9t recall details or e!ents until one of these monumental moments in memory 'ets me started8 and then that tri''er leads me to the ne t remem6rance and the ne t7 Like my children lea!in' the nest7 Like when my closest friends and some of my family 6e'an to die off:Sailor8 *7)78 Mom8 three aunts8 and four uncles :all within two years7 -nd this8 once a'ain8 'ot me to wonderin' a6out the meanin' of life7 +hat9s it all a6outE (ut this time8 my newly disco!ered faith 6rou'ht me throu'h7 Then there were those 6ad in!estments:tele!ision stations8 minin' !entures8 you name it7 *es"ite my ad!anced education in 6usiness8 I Bust couldn9t seem to 'et it ri'ht7 May6e the Lord intended for me to 6e a "oker "layer7 May6e "oker is my "ath to 'reater awareness7 May6e whene!er I stray from that "oker "ath8 the Lord decides to yank me around a little and remind me to stay on course8 doin' what I do 6est7 It sure seems that way7 -nd I9!e noticed this in other 'reat "oker "layers as well7 They yearn to take a shot at somethin' 6eyond "oker8 and as likely as not8 whene!er they do it8 they end u" 'ettin' yanked around8 too7 Enter the +orld Poker Tour8 the tremendously successful tele!ised series that9s hel"ed to "o"ulari%e our 'ame as much as anythin' else in "oker history7 +hen Lyle (erman8 founder of the +PT offered me a chance to 6uy in8 I was so 'un>shy from failed in!estments that I turned it down7 Life9s stran'e7 Here I am8 all my life8 takin' shots at shaky in!estments ha!in' nothin' to do with "oker7 Many of those shots are doomed from the 'et>'o8 and here9s one with the ri'ht "eo"le 6ehind it8 with the ri'ht !ision8 at the ri'ht time8 in!ol!in' the ri'ht 'ame:my 'ame:and I turn it down7 ;eah8 life9s stran'e and so are the choices that "eo"le make in life7 ;ou ne!er know what the ne t deal 6rin's7 Sometimes you "lay hands and wish you hadn9t7 -nd sometimes you throw away hands8 only to see a "erfect flo"8 and you wished you9d stuck around to enBoy it7 More Twists and Turns My 6est friend o!er the "ast thirty years has 6een <ack (inion8 who took o!er
$4

as "rinci"al owner of the Horseshoe after his le'endary father8 (enny (inion8 died7 May6e you9!e heard a6out the family dis"ute that "itted <ack a'ainst his sister8 (ecky7 It was hi'hly "u6lici%ed7 Naturally8 my friendshi" dictated that I side with <ack8 and when he left the Horseshoe in his sister9s char'e and o"ened casinos down South8 I deserted the +orld Series of Poker for four years7 It was a hard thin' to do8 6ecause I was the leadin' money winner lifetime at the tournament8 and I knew that with e!er>'rowin' tournaments and 6i''er "ri%e money8 other "layers would likely 6e "assin' me as I sat on the sidelines7 ;et e!en today I remain in a tie with <ohnny )han and Phil Hellmuth for total first>"lace 6racelets won7 +e9!e each won nine7 That family dis"ute has 6lown o!er8 and may6e I9ll 6e a6le to add more 6racelets in the years ahead8 althou'h with the num6er of entrants "er e!ent often a""roachin' 18333 nowadays and sur"assin' $8/33 for the $332 main e!ent8 that 6ecomes a much tou'her challen'e7 Ni'htmare I remem6er the last year I "layed in the +SOP 6efore my 6oycott7 I finished first8 second8 and third durin' the series of e!ents7 (ut on the ne'ati!e side8 I was ro66ed at 'un"oint8 6eaten8 and hit o!er the head7 (ut the ni'ht it ha""ened tau'ht me Bust how saintly and 6ra!e Louise really was7 I9d always known it in my heart8 6ut this time she "ro!ed it in a way that will always haunt me7 ;ou9d think I9d know 6etter than to carry lar'e amounts of money8 and I do know 6etter7 (ein' held u" and hiBacked8 rolled and ro66ed from my earliest "oker days in Te as has tau'ht me caution7 (ut8 a""arently not enou'h caution7 It wasn9t cash I was carryin' si years a'o8 Bust chi"s from the "oker 'ames at the +SOP7 (i' chi"s7 Lots of them7 -nd I 'ot home with them safely7 -lmost7 One of the worst ni'htmares8 not only for a "oker "layer8 6ut for any citi%en8 is a home in!asion7 It was midni'ht7 -s I left my car8 headin' for my door8 I was confronted 6y two men8 one with a 'un7 They wanted the keys7 I flun' them far into the 6ushes8 6ut not far enou'h7 One of the men retrie!ed them7 I decided I sim"ly wasn9t 'oin' inside the house7 No way7 So8 I faked a heart
.3

attack7 It was a con!incin' act8 and they 6ou'ht into it7 (ut that didn9t send them scurryin' into the ni'ht7 They sim"ly unlocked the door and dra''ed me throu'h it7 Naturally8 we ha!e all sorts of security features8 as most hi'h>stakes "layers do7 One of those was a delayed alarm8 which had 6een set 6y Louise8 who was u"stairs slee"in'7 +hen I didn9t deacti!ate it8 the alarm sounded8 Bust as I9d ho"ed7 They demanded to know how to turn it off7 I ke"t fei'nin' semi> consciousness and 'i!in' them the wron' com6inations8 askin' them to call the "aramedics7 Sym"athy from them was not forthcomin'8 howe!er7 I was "istol>whi""ed and they 6roke my nose in the "rocess7 My face was 6adly cut u" when Louise came downstairs to in!esti'ate the commotion7 The "hone ran'7 @That9s the alarm com"any8A one of the men 'rowled7 @Tell them e!erythin'9s all ri'ht8 or we9ll kill you ri'ht nowFA It was8 indeed8 the security com"any8 res"ondin' to a standard alert7 In order to determine whether this was a false alarm8 they asked for a "assword that would let them know e!erythin' was okay7 Louise took the call and had the "resence of mind to 'i!e the wron' "assword8 Bust as I had 'i!en the wron' codes7 (ut instead of "ickin' u" on the clue that somethin' was terri6ly amiss at the (runsons9 residence8 the woman on the other end admonished Louise8 sayin' she had 6een 'i!en the wron' "assword7 @;es8 I know8A Louise confirmed "olitely8 ho"in' the intruders wouldn9t di!ine the direction of the "hone con!ersation7 She a'ain re"eated the in!alid code and hun' u"7 Now8 you9d think that was enou'h to send hel" on its way7 (ut no7 The "hone ran' a'ain7 -nd a'ain it was the security com"any7 This time one of the ro66ers answered and tried8 "athetically8 to sound like a woman7 He was told that the code "re!iously 'i!en is in!alid7 (elatedly8 the a'ent 'ot sus"icious and fi'ured it out7 Finally8 she hun' u" and called the "olice7 Slammin' the "hone down8 the ro66er lost his cool8 char'ed 6ack into the room where the other 6andit had a 'un to my head7 @*on9t kill him8 kill meFA It was my dear Louise9s !oice7 +hen the man had
.1

ste""ed 6ack from me8 she had Bum"ed 6etween me and the 'un7 The ro66ers seemed fla66er'asted7 They threatened us a'ain8 then took chi"s and some money from my "ockets7 They didn9t search the house8 and they wouldn9t ha!e found any cash there8 anyway7 I don9t kee" cash at home8 mostly 6ecause it could endan'er my family7 They sensed they were runnin' out of time8 and so they fled7 E!en throu'h the "ain8 one thou'ht struck home7 It was my astonishment at Bust how coura'eous Louise is7 I9d always known she was like that8 6ut that ni'ht set a new standard7 (y the way8 I9d learned that heart attack trick from another le'endary 'am6ler8 Titanic Thom"son7 It was in his 6ook7 (ut he would take it a ste" further8 comin' out with a hidden "istol7 They say he killed fi!e 'uys that tried to ro6 him7 - 5eunion My life has 6een a lon' chain of ad!entures7 -nd when I think 6ack8 I reali%e that the thin's you e "erience are your 'ifts to remem6er7 Permanent 'ifts8 like diamonds7 They s"arkle in your head8 and they are yours fore!er7 -nd I Bourney 6ack to my colle'e years at Hardin>Simmons7 It9s as if I can remem6er it all8 the 'ames8 the 'lory8 the shots I made8 the shots I missed7 It all "lays out a'ain8 like 6rand new8 on a 6asket6all court in my mind7 E!eryone9s there7 My friends7 My teammates7 The crowds7 It had 6een like that for many years8 those !i!id memories7 -nd so8 I in!ited my whole team to a reunion7 Sur"risin'ly8 all 6ut two were still ali!e: twenty>fi!e of them7 +ould you 6elie!e that twenty>two showed u" at my home8 more than fifty years after we9d had our cham"ionshi" season in the (order )onferenceE Our conference included 6i' time schools such as -ri%ona8 -ri%ona State8 New Me ico8 Te as Tech8 and LTEP8 then known as Te as +estern7 Our Hardin>Simmons team was one of si teen elite teams that com"rised the N)-- 6asket6all tournament at that time7 My old teammates had 6ecome educators and "reachers and 6usinessmen7 None was a "oker "layer7 I was the 6lack shee" of the uni!ersity7 Hardin> Simmons has stron' reli'ious roots8 and I9m 6ettin' I was the only one who turned out to 6e a "rofessional 'am6ler in the history of the school7
.$

No wonder I9!e 6een "assed u" for my colle'e9s Hall of Fame8 des"ite my accom"lishments in track and 6asket6all there7 (ut the reunion made u" for it8 and it turned out to 6e one of the fondest e "eriences of my life7 +e all reminisced a6out that cham"ionshi" year8 and time stood still7 -nd for a 6rief8 whimsical8 ma'ical moment8 I 6elie!ed:may6e we all 6elie!ed:we could still do it7 +e could do it a'ain7 Heart6reak and Peace -nd so my time on earth so far has 6een a Bourney7 -lon' the way8 I9!e faced heart6reak and found "eace7 I9!e stru''led 6ut ultimately conJuered7 -nd now8 ha!in' com"leted my se!enth decade on earth8 I reflect7 That9s one of the two thin's I do most nowadays7 5eflect7 -nd "lay "oker7 I don9t "lay in a lot of tournaments outside of Ne!ada these days8 6ut 6ecause the +PT has 'rown so "o"ular8 there9s a sudden interest in "oker7 I9!e 6een in!ited re'ularly to a""ear on TN shows8 the inter!iews for maBor "u6lications ha!e 6ecome common"lace8 and a mo!ie scri"t a6out my life has Bust 6een com"leted7 Poker is hot7 -nd I9m "roud of my "art in it8 honored 6y e!ery award that ties me to our 'reat 'ame of "oker:Poker Hall of Fame8 Seniors Hall of Fame8 Te as Hall of Fame8 Tro"icana )asino Le'ends Hall of Fame7 -s I sat writin' this section8 I had the honor of 6ein' interru"ted 6y an in!itation from the )ommerce )asino near Los -n'eles8 the 6i''est "oker "alace in the world7 I was one of three @"layersA to 6e inducted into their new Poker +alk of Fame8 alon' with actor <ames ,arner8 who "layed Ma!erick on the most "o"ular TN series in its day8 and ,us Hanson8 who won three maBor tele!ised tournaments last year7 That9s an ama%in' feat8 es"ecially in li'ht of the increased num6er of com"etitors "er e!ent7 This sur'e in "oker "o"ularity means more "layers to 6eat8 and you can 'o a lon'8 lon' time 6efore winnin' Bust one maBor tournament8 no matter how skillful you are7 +innin' three in a season is remarka6le7 -nd to show the im"ortance of all this e "osure8 not many would ha!e named ,us as a to" contender until that7 Today8 if you "lay well and 'et on a streak8 you9ll 6e in the s"otli'ht and can stay there for a lon' time7 ,us will7 Peo"le9s im"ressions of those tele!ised !ictories lin'er and are lon'
..

remem6ered7 ,us9s "erformance is the most e traordinary feat since <ohnny )han won two +SOP main e!ents 6ack>to>6ack in the same twel!e months that he won the two "resti'ious Hall of Fame main e!ents and then finished second at the +SOP the followin' year7 +ith the dramatically increased num6er of entrants8 a "erformance like that will surely ne!er 6e re"eated7 )han'es My life has e!ol!ed radically since the days that Slim and Sailor and I tra!eled Te as and the South in an old Fairlane Ford7 Thin's ha!e chan'ed so much7 I still "lay "oker re'ularly7 (ut often I decide to esca"e8 e!en thou'h it means sacrificin' some "rofit7 Then I stay at my "lace on Flathead Lake in Montana8 out of the Las Ne'as heat8 rela in'7 -t those times8 life is "assin' me 6y8 and I feel renewed7 -nd there8 as e!erywhere8 I reflect7 5eflectin' on my life8 and life in 'eneral8 has 6ecome almost an o6session with me in recent years7 +hat 'ood is life8 you know8 if you can only li!e it onceE ;ou own your e "eriences7 They are yours to kee"7 ;ou should think a6out that as you 'o throu'h life7 +hat you do now will 6ecome a "ermanent "art of you7 The 'ood thin's and the 6ad thin's7 I can9t tell you that the cards you9re dealt will 6e the ones you want8 6ut whate!er they turn out to 6e8 "lay them wisely7 That9s the secret7 It all 'oes 6y so Juickly8 life7 My son Todd and my dau'hters Pam and )heryl were Bust kids yesterday7 Now they9re 'rown7 -nd I9!e watched Todd Juit colle'e to follow in his father9s footste"s in the "oker arena7 He9s im"ressed me 'reatly8 e!er since he trium"hed in one of his first tournaments at the (icycle )lu67 Many world>class "layers ha!e told me that Todd is one of the 6est youn' "layers today7 So8 don9t Bust 'o 6y what I say7 I could 6e 6iased7 Todd has "ro!en himself to the "oker world8 and that9s why he9s in this 6ook7 I think 6ack on why I liked "oker in the first "lace7 It was the freedom8 I think7 ;ou9re as free as a cloud floatin' in the sky7 That9s the most 6eautiful "art of 6ein' a 'am6ler7
.2

Middle It at 1$3 -s you "ro6a6ly know8 I9!e 6een !ery hea!y most of my adult life7 Peo"le ke"t warnin' me of the health "ro6lems that 'o alon' with carryin' around those e tra "ounds7 (ut it didn9t really hit home with me 6ecause I was a6le to mo!e a6out swiftly8 'olf with a low handica"8 and stay acti!e7 (ut recently I sat down and chatted with myself7 Thin's were not as they had 6een7 I was o!er se!enty7 In recent years8 like a classic car8 my chassis wasn9t in 'ood sha"e7 My le's weren9t carryin' me well and my shoulder ached7 (ut my heart was healthy8 like a 'reat>workin'8 tireless car6uretor7 May6e that9s 6ecause 6lood has flowed !ery fast throu'h my !eins durin' the "ressure situations at "oker7 May6e that cleansed me7 Two different doctors ha!e told me that my 6ody must 6e "ro'rammed to li!e 1$3 years8 as 6adly as I9!e treated it7 One said 1.38 one said 1138 so I middled it at 1$37 Then I decided that I may as well "lan for a lot more hands of "oker8 and I had 'astric 6y"ass sur'ery to reduce my wei'ht7 I did that si months a'o8 and I feel a lot healthier now7 (ut what ha""ens after those 1$3 yearsE I9ll 6e 'one and "erha"s some as"irin' "layers will read this 6ook and new "oker stars will 6e created7 They9ll kee" "oker9s flame flickerin'8 and if the Lord allows8 I9ll o6ser!e from a6o!e and share their ad!entures7 -s for now8 I9m lookin' forward to the ne t fifty years7 -nd while that may not 6e e actly realistic and may not ha""en8 in life and in "oker8 the 6est you can do is try7 -nd I9ll 6e tryin'7 )randell -ddin'ton Some of my fondest memories of the old days include )randell -ddin'ton7 +e met o!er forty years a'o when we were 6oth sin'le and ad!enturesome7 +e "layed "oker in 6ackrooms8 sawdust Boints8 and hi'h stakes 'ames throu'hout Te as8 -la6ama8 Oklahoma8 Louisiana8 and other southern states7 +e sur!i!ed numerous ro66eries8 arrests and other situations that would ri!al the action scenes you see on the mo!ie screens today7 )randell8 myself8 and a half do%en other hi'h stakes "layers from Te as introduced no>limit Te as hold Oem to Ne!ada in the late 14/39s7 Then later
.I

on in 140I8 at the reJuest of (enny (inion8 )randell and <ack Strauss went on a month>lon' tour of ,reat (ritain to show their 'am6lers how to "lay the 'ame7 )randell was an ori'inal "artici"ant and the winner of the 14/4 Te as ,am6lers )on!ention held in 5eno8 the "rofessional "oker tournament that 6ecame the +orld Series of Poker in 14137 )randell then "layed in the +SOP the ne t nine years at (inion9s Horseshoe )asino in downtown Las Ne'as7 He com"iled an outstandin' record in the +SOP8 includin' two second "lace finishes7 Now retired from "oker8 )randell runs his oil e "loration com"any8 alon' with his "recious metals and "harmaceutical com"anies7 He remains one of the most colorful and 'reatest "layers in "oker history7

./

Click this link to download and install Full Tilt Poker. Receive the maximum deposit bonus of 100% up to $600. Bonus Code: 2XBONUS600

Click this link to download and install PokerStars. Receive the maximum deposit bonus of 100% up to $600. Marketing Code: PSP6964

THE HISTO5; OF NO>LIMIT TEP-S HOL*9EM 6y )randell -ddin'ton This is the story of how a small 6and of Te as 'am6lers unwittin'ly created the "oker colossus that is currently enBoyed 6y more than fifty million "rofessional and amateur "layers and is seen 6y millions of "eo"le worldwide on some of the most "o"ular shows on tele!ision7 Here9s how it all started7 In the early 14/3s8 "oker was an ille'al acti!ity throu'hout the Lnited States8 with the e ce"tion of Ne!ada and )alifornia7 (ut that didn9t sto" Te ans like Pinky 5hoden of Lu66ock8 @*uckA Mallard of Lockhart8 <esse -lto of )or"us )hristi8 <ack Straus of Houston8 and Tom Moore of San -ntonio from hostin' hi'h stakes 'ames all o!er their state7 Some 'ame o"erators e!en dis'uised their or'ani%ations as fraternal or'ani%ations8 such as the 5edmen and Elks )lu6s8 ho"in' to "re!ent raids from the authorities7 Sometimes this worked8 sometimes it didn9t7 These men and more:includin' the se!en Te ans who e!entually 6rou'ht no>limit Te as hold9em to Ne!ada:tra!eled from town to town across Te as and the dee" South "layin' "oker7 They 6ecame known as @outsideA or @roadA 'am6lers8 and they s"eciali%ed in Hansas )ity low6all draw and Te as hold9em8 then a new 'ame that offered the 6est "latform for de!elo"in' multi"le strate'ies and tactically im"lementin' them7 -round this same time8 Tom Moore8 Slim Lam6ert8 and 5ed (erry were runnin' a weekend casino with ta6le 'ames in the heart of Te as7 These @(oss ,am6lers of (e ar )ountyA o"erated their casino in the incor"orated city of )astle Hills8 which was entirely surrounded 6y San -ntonio7 In a ram6lin' house attached to the casino on +est -!enue8 they ran a second ille'al o"erationK a hi'h stakes "oker 'ame si days a week:fi!e days of no> limit8 one day of limit7 In 14/.8 at the a'e of twenty>fi!e8 I 6e'an to "lay in this 'ame7 This was one of the softest hi'h stakes no>limit 'ames in the state due to the num6er of "roducers it drew8 such as <ohn Monfrey8 the Falstaff 6eer distri6utor for South Te asD -ustin Hem"hill8 a Ford dealerD and other oilmen8 6ankers8 ranchers8 restaurateurs8 contractors8 and car dealers7 (ecause of this8 Moore
.1

was "rotecti!e of his 'ame8 and the only outside 'am6lers welcome to "lay were those of us who were his "ersonal friends7 Howe!er8 as soft as this 'ame was8 sometimes the fish ate the "elicans7 One ni'ht on +est -!enue8 I witnessed one of the 6i''est laydowns and three of the hi'hest hands that can 6e dealt in Te as hold9em7 The fish was a San -ntonio contractor who was a re'ular at the 'ame8 and fortunately for the two "elicans:,il6ert Hess of *allas8 who would later marry Felton Mc)orkindale9s widow8 and *oyle (runson:it occurred on the one ni'ht of the week when the limit 'ame was in session7 Otherwise the "elicans would ha!e had a smooth s"ot to shuffle on where all their chi"s had 6een7 The limit was C03#C1/38 chea" 6y today9s standards8 6ut hi'h enou'h 6ack then7 There was a round of raises 6efore the flo"8 then the flo" fell ->2>$7 The ma imum 6ets and su6seJuent raises were made and called 6y all three "layers7 -t this "oint8 *oyle was holdin' tri" aces8 ,il6ert Hess was holdin' tri" deuces8 and the fish was holdin' tri" fours7 The turn came a deuce7 *oyle led with aces full8 6ut when the dou6le raise came 6ack to him8 he laid down the hand7 Since I ha!e already told you that on this "articular ni'ht the fish ate the "elicans8 you already know that the ri!er card was the fourth four7 So the contractor won the hand a'ainst odds that only some to" "oker mathematician and theorist8 such as Mike )aro8 mi'ht 6e interested in calculatin'7 -nyway8 four years later8 Tom in!ited me to "artici"ate in the acJuisition of the Holiday Hotel in 5eno8 and thanks to my success at his ta6le8 I was a6le to acce"t7 In 14/18 I mo!ed to Ne!ada with him and his family7 Lnfortunately8 we ran into trou6le securin' a 'amin' license8 so the Holiday Hotel ne!er Juite "anned out8 for me at least7 The ori'inal licensees of the Holiday Hotel in 5eno 6ecame Tom8 <ohn Monfrey8 and -ustin Hem"hill8 who would later "artner with 5ed Mc)om6s8 owner of the Minnesota Nikin's and former owner of the San -ntonio S"urs and *en!er Nu''ets7 (ut8 hotel or not8 I was "layin' enou'h "oker to kee" me occu"ied7 I had decided a'ainst 6ecomin' an inside 'am6ler and instead continued tra!elin' all o!er the country and Me ico "layin' hi'h stakes 'ames7 +hat I didn9t
.0

know:what no one could ha!e known:was how our introduction of Te as hold9em would end u" chan'in' the landsca"e of "oker fore!er7 -t the time8 Ne!ada had only one le'al "oker room8 which was located in the ,olden Nu''et and o"erated 6y (ill (oyd8 a master fi!e>card stud "layer7 It was truly a @sawdust Boint8A with red>flocked wall"a"er on the walls and oiled sawdust co!erin' the floors7 Ne!ada and )alifornia "layers came there to "lay fi!e>card stud8 ra%%8 and )alifornia low6all draw7 This would chan'e when a small 'rou" of Te ans8 led 6y Felton Mc)orkindale and includin' *oyle (runson8 (ryan @SailorA 5o6erts8 <ohnny Moss8 -marillo Slim8 <ack Straus and me8 introduced hi'h>stakes no>limit Te as hold9em to Ne!ada7 Te as hold9em "ro!ed "o"ular amon' the "layers8 6ut for years there was no casino other than the ,olden Nu''et in which to s"read a 'ame7 The ,olden Nu''et didn9t e actly attract the same num6er of hi'h roller casino "atrons that the Stri" casinos reeled in 6y the thousands7 This meant there was !ery little o""ortunity to catch a dro">in "layer or "roducer at the "oker room7 (ut in 14/48 Sid +yman8 the 6oss of the *unes Hotel and )asino8 today the site of the (ella'io8 in!ited us to s"read a hi'h>stakes no>limit 'ame Bust outside the entrance to his main showroom8 where we were a6le to catch lots of dro"> ins8 includin' the late MaBor 5iddle8 the maBority owner of the *unes7 5emem6er8 Ne!adans and )alifornians were "rimarily fi!e>card stud "layers7 -nd althou'h he was ori'inally from Lockhart8 Te as8 5iddle was 6y now a trans"lanted Ne!adan7 -s such8 he had no e "erience "layin' a 'ame that reJuired such su6lime strate'y8 and it is fair to say that he and others new to the 'ame were faced with a stee" learnin' cur!e7 Their ine "erience hel"ed fill the lock6o es of the outside 'am6lers from Te as who 6rou'ht the 'ame west7 One such incident took "lace at the le'endary "oker ta6le in the *unes7 On one hand8 all 6ut Te an <ohnny Moss and MaBor 5iddle folded8 lea!in' a hu'e heads>u" "ot7 <ohnny was in the lead and ne!er checked his handD 5iddle ne!er hesitated to call <ohnny9s 6ets from 6efore the flo" or after the ri!er7 +hen all the cards were out8 the 6oard was H>H>4>4><7 Moss mo!ed in on 5iddle8 and 5iddle called him7 Moss rolled a "air of nines out of the hole for four of a kind7 MaBor 5iddle rolled a "air of deuces out of the hole7 See
.4

what I mean a6out the fi!e>card stud "layers and their learnin' cur!eE 5iddle had a wired "air8 and he was not a6out to lay them down8 not reali%in' that he had the worst hand "ossi6le in this situation and could not e!en 6eat the fi!e cards on the 6oard7 One "layer8 <oe 5u6ino8 who was from -la6ama and a 'ood Hansas )ity low6all "layer =6ut not much of a Te as hold9em "layer?8 went so far as to re'ister an o6Bection to <ohnny winnin' the "ot7 5u6ino claimed that since 5iddle could not 6eat the 6oard with his two deuces8 he should 6e a6le to take his last call 6ack7 It didn9t take <ohnny 6ut a second to tell him that sometimes the 6oard is the 6est "ossi6le hand in Te as hold9em and that his comment showed how little he knew a6out the 'ame7 He also told him a cou"le of other thin's a6out mindin' his own 6usiness when he was not in!ol!ed in a "ot7 -s the 'ame 6e'an to catch on in Las Ne'as durin' the late si ties and early se!enties8 hi'h stakes no>limit Te as hold9em 'ames ran'ed from C138333 to C1338333 chan'e>in =that9s a6out C/38333 > C/338333 in terms of today9s dollar?7 In 14/08 Tom and Lafayne Moore decided to hold a ta6le 'ames tournament in order to "romote the Holiday Hotel in 5eno7 They desi'ned ela6orate in!itations to The First -nnual ,amin' Fraternity )on!ention and sent them to a select 'rou" of a""ro imately fifty hi'h rollers7 The e!ent met with limited success8 so in 14/4 Tom decided to chan'e the format to a hi'h> stakes "oker 'ame and in!ite all the to" "layers and some of the 6i''est 6ookies in the L7S7 Moore8 a 'ood "oker "layer himself8 knew that the 6ookmakers would 6e the "roducers of The Second -nnual ,amin' Fraternity )on!ention7 This was the first e!er maBor "oker tournament8 and it drew twenty or thirty "oker "layers8 6ookmakers8 and "ool hustlers8 includin' myself8 <ohnny Moss8 *oyle (runson8 <ames @Lon''oodieA 5oy8 -u6rey *ay8 (enny (inion8 -marillo Slim8 Pu''y Pearson8 <immy )asella8 Minnesota Fats8 (ill (oyd8 <ack Straus8 Felton @)orkyA Mc)orkindale8 ,eor'e (arnes8 @SailorA 5o6erts8 <ohnny <ose"h8 and the notorious father of actor +oody Harrelson8 )harles8 now ser!in' life for the 1414 assassination of <ohn H7 +ood8 a L7S7 *istrict
23

)ourt Bustice in San -ntonio7 The e!ent8 which lasted one week8 featured Te as hold9em8 Hansas )ity low6all draw8 ra%%8 stud8 and ace>to>fi!e low6all draw7 -ll the 'ames were @li!eA 'ames8 that is8 "layers could re6uy chi"s if they went 6roke7 This meant that the winner had to 6e the 6est "layer8 not Bust the luckiest7 -t this tournament8 I won the @Mr7 OutsideA tro"hy8 desi'natin' me as the 6est outside or road 'am6ler at the tournament7 Oddly enou'h8 6oth Tom Moore and (ill (oyd8 who ran their own 'ames and therefore were thou'ht of as inside 'am6lers8 were under consideration for the award as well7 (enny and <ack (inion were im"ressed with the success of the tournament and acJuired the ri'hts to it when Tom Moore sold the Holiday in 14137 They renamed it the +orld Series of Poker7 For the inau'ural tournament8 which was held at (inion9s Horseshoe )asino8 he retained the multi>'ame format of Moore9s ,amin' Fraternity )on!ention8 6ut with the e ce"tion of a few 6ookmakers8 there were no "roducers7 E!en thou'h the "roducers had not yet found their way to the +orld Series of Poker8 this tournament was as successful as its "redecessor7 (ut unlike Tom Moore9s tournament8 the first +orld Series of Poker was attended 6y !arious re"resentati!es of the "rint media7 The followin' year8 Los -n'eles Times Bournalist Ted Thackrey su''ested to (inion a new formatK a sin'le no>limit Te as hold9em tournament7 Thackrey "romised that he and <immy @The ,reekA Snyder could 'et nationwide "u6licity if the e!ent were 6illed as a winner>take>all world cham"ionshi"7 That was all (enny (inion needed to hear7 The P5 cam"ai'n worked and "layers from far and wide flocked to the +orld Series of Poker7 Interestin'ly enou'h8 the "rinci"al attraction of the tournament was not the tournament itself8 6ut rather the o""ortunity to win lar'e sums from the "roducers in the li!e 'ames or side 'ames8 as they were sometimes called7 In li!e "oker 'ames8 "layers can 6uy more chi"s:as o""osed to tournament 'ames8 in which "layers are eliminated when they lose their ori'inal 6uy>in7 Li!e 'ames need "roducersD that9s a cardinal rule of hi'h stakes no>limit "oker7 -lthou'h a 'rou" of su"erior "layers mi'ht s"read a 'ame amon'st themsel!es8 as we often did8 it is the "roducers
21

=6ookmakers8 oilmen8 6usinessmen8 and so on? that make a no>limit 'ame thri!e7 Thanks to the e citement 'enerated 6y (inion9s P5 cam"ai'n8 there was no shorta'e of "roducers at the 1411 +orld Series of Poker7 In Las Ne'as8 this was the 6e'innin' of the halcyon days of no>limit "oker7 -t one such li!e 'ame in the se!enties8 *oyle (runson and I took on a "roducer named 5e )au6le8 a Te an who owned two e clusi!e western wear and tack sho"s in *allas and Houston8 which he named @)utter (ill9sA after a famous cuttin' horse7 -s it later turned out8 5e was also im"ortin' certain a'ricultural "roducts from Me ico that the *E- o6Bected to7 -nyway8 5e liked to "lay hi'h chan'e in no>limit Te as hold9em8 and he would show u" at the Horseshoe durin' the +orld Series of Poker with a si%ea6le 6ankroll7 Now8 *oyle and I ha!e 6een friends for o!er forty years8 and we9!e "layed in countless 'ames to'ether:6ut none ha!e e!er 6een as stran'e as this one7 On this "articular e!enin'8 5e wanted to "lay a CI38333 chan'e>in 'ame7 Four or fi!e of us took him u" on the challen'e7 (ut first8 *oyle was 'racious enou'h to 'i!e 5e a thirty>minute crash course on the finer "oints of hold9em7 Only after 5e was certain he had enou'h of the 6asics to "lay credi6ly8 did we all sit down7 Less than thirty minutes into the 'ame8 an unraised "ot came u" 6etween 5e and "oker world cham"ion (o66y (aldwin8 who 6eat me in 1410 for the title and who is now President of the (ella'io and )EO of the Mira'e "ro"erties7 There came a flo" of H><>$8 three suits7 (o66y checked in front8 and 5e checked7 The turn card was a /8 and 6oth "layers a'ain checked7 The ri!er showed a 28 with no flush "ossi6le7 (o66y checked8 5e 6et C18I338 and (o66y raised C.383337 5e 8 with C/38333 in front of him8 "ondered and "ondered8 seemin' to consider foldin' in order to "reser!e half his stack7 Finally8 clearly intimidated8 he reluctantly called7 (o66y trium"hantly rolled .>I out of the hole for the nuts7 His strai'ht couldn9t "ossi6ly 6e 6eat7 +hat do you think 5e rolled out of the holeE Since 5e was last to act and had C.38333 in chi"s still in front of him8 you would ne!er 'uess his holecards to 6e .>I8 the same as (o66y9s8 6ut they
2$

were7 5e had Bust smooth called with the nuts7 -t this "oint8 *oyle uttered his fa!orite "hrase of astonishmentK @I9ll 6e a sun6urned son of a 6itch7A I had to su""ress a lau'h7 (ut 6ack in the early days of the +orld Series of Poker8 this kind of thin' ha""ened7 The tournament attracted many "roducers like 5e 8 and some "layed with us for e!en hi'her stakes7 The "o"ularity of the +orld Series was not lost on Sid +yman8 an affa6le man and the "u6lic relations director for the *unes and the -laddin7 In 141.8 +yman 6rou'ht the 'ame of no>limit Te as hold9em across Las Ne'as (oule!ard to the -laddin8 which was o"erated 6y Sam *iamond7 Hosted 6y <ohnny Moss8 this hi'h>stakes no>limit Te as hold9em 'ame attracted not only the Te as and Ne!ada 'am6lers8 6ut also more and more dro">ins7 It was so well attended that 'ames often ran for days at a time8 and fortunes chan'ed hands7 MaBor 5iddle was a freJuent "layer at the -laddin ta6le8 and his "oor "lay led to his losin' maBority control of the *unes to "arties re"resented 6y Sid +yman7 Moss e!entually mo!ed his 'ame to the oldest casino on the stri"8 the Flamin'o8 which a'ain found itself the su6Bect of de6ate and criticism7 More than thirty years earlier8 in 142/8 the Flamin'o "ro!ed the critics of the 1423s wron' a6out the "ossi6ility of successful e "ansion of casinos from downtown to a dusty8 remote location that e!entually 6ecame known as the Stri"7 In 141/8 at the same hotel8 <ohnny Moss would "ro!e the critics of the 1413s wron' 6y successfully o"eratin' a "oker room in a Stri" casino7 -t the time8 other nota6le "oker "layers were 6e'innin' to see the ad!anta'e of hostin' hi'h stakes 'ames8 includin' )hi" 5eese at the *unes and Eric *rache and *oyle (runson8 who "artnered u" to o"erate the 'ame at the Sil!er (ird8 the casino that MaBor 5iddle had acJuired after losin' control of the *unes7 The e citement 'enerated 6y new "oker rooms on the Stri" and the +orld Series of Poker fueled Te as hold9em9s meteoric rise in nationwide "o"ularity7 These "ros"erous days lasted until a6out the middle ei'hties7 (y that time8 satellites had 6ecome so "o"ular that they were runnin' twenty>four hours a day and were occu"yin' more and more of the limited floor s"ace in the
2.

Horseshoe7 +hile at first8 this was seen as a "ositi!e chan'e for the tournament8 it had the ironic effect of crowdin' out the li!e 'ames:the !ery reason we had started the +SOP in the first "laceF Today8 the 'ame of no>limit Te as hold9em that we introduced to Ne!ada so many years a'o has 6een transformed8 thanks to its entertainment !alue8 to tele!ision audiences7 E!er increasin' "artici"ation in maBor free%e>out tournaments =more than $8I33 "layers in the $332 +orld Series of Poker? ha!e forced tournament hosts to im"ose ra"idly increasin' ante and 6lind structures in order to kee" the tournament times mana'ea6le7 -nd this has "roduced an a6erration of the "ure form of the 'ame7 +ith certain nota6le e ce"tions8 the 'ame of no>limit Te as hold9em is a 'ame desi'ned to 6e "layed after the flo"7 That9s when the real "lay is su""osed to 6e'in7 Howe!er8 many hands seen at tele!ised e!ents today are "layed 6efore the flo"8 when the "layers ha!e recei!ed only their holecards7 This style of "lay8 sometimes referred to as @catch an ace and take a race8A re>introduces a su6stantial amount of luck into a 'ame that had always fa!ored the 6est "layer o!er the 6est card catcher7 (ut it a""ears that nothin' can sto" an idea whose time has come7 -nd for the hundreds of thousands8 if not millions8 of "layers now acti!e on the online "oker sites around the world8 surely the time has come7 In the future8 you can e "ect to see time mana'ement "ro6lems de!elo" for the tournament hosts as more and more of the Internet "layers 'ain entries into the maBor tournaments7 Lookin' into the future8 it9s not hard to ima'ine the creation of a "rofessional "oker lea'ue8 with se!eral teams selected 6y some sort of draft7 In fact8 Bust such a lea'ue is in an early in!esti'ati!e sta'e today7 The creation of new o""ortunities to e "loit the "oker "henomenon is limited only 6y the ima'ination of men like (enny (inion7 So now you know the history of no>limit Te as hold9em:the story of a small 6and of Te as 'am6lers who chan'ed the 'ame of "oker fore!er and of how the modern "oker tournaments are descendants of an ille'al hi'h stakes 'ame in San -ntonio that 'y"sied to 5eno8 then 6lossomed into the +orld Series of Poker8 the "ro'enitor of e!ery "oker tournament "layed and
22

tele!ised today7

2I

ONLINE POHE5 6y *oyle (runson Technolo'y surrounds us7 Thin's chan'e7 -nd the swiftness of chan'e today is un"aralleled in history7 Nothin' makes "oker "layers more aware of this chan'e than the ad!ent of online "oker7 )om"uters chan'ed e!erythin':from "roducti!ity8 to research8 to 'ames7 Poker8 too7 ;ou see8 alon' came the Internet and suddenly you could find almost any answer in seconds8 6e anywhere in the world8 instantly:not "hysically8 of course8 6ut we learned we didn9t need to 6e "hysically "resent to 6e there7 -nd so we could "lay "oker without 6ein' "hysically "resent7 +e could 6e at the ta6le7 Instantly7 I remem6er the first time I "layed "oker online was in 14447 I think it was a tiny C. limit 'ame8 and I was used to "layin' C$8333 limit and hi'her 'ames where you could win or lose u"wards of C1 million without lea!in' your seat7 I9d 'otten curious8 6ecause Mike )aro had endorsed an online "oker site8 and I thou'ht this was stran'e8 considerin' he had "re!iously written a column warnin' of the "itfalls of online "lay7 If he9d chan'ed his mind8 then the least I could do was in!esti'ate for myself7 5emarka6ly8 it was as e citin' as any "oker I9d e!er "layed7 There I was8 "artici"atin' in "oker on the screen with o""onents seated inches away8 6ut knowin' they weren9t actually inches away7 They were in En'land and ,ermany and Hon' Hon'7 E!erywhere7 I was "layin' "oker in a 'ame that could ne!er ha!e 6een "ossi6le 6efore7 - TO5N-*O -nd so8 une "ected and out of nowhere8 online "oker 6lew onto the scene7 It was like a tornado swee"in' down the Te as Panhandle7 -nd I reali%ed: 'rud'in'ly at first:that it was here to stay7 ;ou could now "ut "oker into two main cate'oriesK online "oker and real>world "oker7 Notice that I9m sayin' @real>worldA "oker8 not @realA "oker7 That9s 6ecause online "oker is real "oker7 It is certainly real for the hundreds of thousands of new "layers around the world who are "layin' for real moneyF In fact8 what is there a6out online "oker that makes it unrealE Not much8 and that9s why I think most of
2/

us ha!e started differentiatin' "oker 6y Bust these two termsK online "oker and real>world "oker7 -nd real>world "oker8 the kind you sit down and "lay with "hysical cards at a real ta6le a'ainst o""onents you can reach across the ta6le and shake hands with8 can itself 6e di!ided into su6cate'ories7 For instance8 we could talk a6out home "oker and casino "oker7 Each offers a sli'htly different fla!or7 That9s the same with 6asket6all8 you know7 There is 6asket6all "layed outdoors on concrete sla6s8 hi'h school 6asket6all8 colle'e 6asket6all8 N(6asket6all8 and international 6asket6all that you see in the Olym"ics7 (ut it9s all 6asket6all7 -nd I9m here to tell you today8 that online or real world8 "oker is "oker7 It9s all "oker7 There9s hardly any ad!ice on these "a'es that won9t hel" you 6ecome a much 6etter online "layer8 sim"ly 6ecause it will hel" you to 6ecome a much 6etter "oker "layer8 "eriod7 *O;LE9S 5OOM www7doylesroom7com (efore I 'i!e you some s"ecific ti"s and insi'hts a6out "layin' "oker online8 I want to tell you somethin' that may sur"rise you7 The truth is8 it sur"rises me8 6ecause not too many years a'o8 I couldn9t ima'ine myself 6ein' in!ol!ed in online "oker at all7 (riefly8 I 'ot myself talked into endorsin' a friend9s start>u" we6site8 6ut I e tricated myself from that fiasco as soon as I reali%ed that nowadays only the 6i' 6oys can afford to "lay in this 6usiness7 )halk it u" as another of my 6ad !entures when tryin' to hel" others out7 +ell8 then I 'ot smart7 If you want to know how smart8 check out www7doylesroom7com for actual "lay in "ractice 'ames:and 6eyondF -nd for other thin's a6out learnin' "oker8 try its sister site8 www7"oker17com7 I9m ha""y to 6e the *oyle9s 5oom consultant and that they9re "uttin' my name on the site:6ecause they9re "ayin' me a handsome endorsement fee8 and 6ecause it9s a site I9m "roud to 6e "art of7 Lsin' doylesroom7com as an e am"le8 I9ll walk you throu'h online "oker7 5emem6er8 6y the time you read this8 doylesroom7com and other com"etin' sites may 6e e!en more ad!anced7 I en!ision 6ein' a6le to 6et Bust 6y s"eakin' and 6ein' a6le to scrutini%e li!e8 mo!in' ima'es of o""onents8
21

6rin'in' to the online world the most sorely missed element of traditional "okerK tells7 The one thin' that will shock you most is the num6er of "oker "layers currently online7 <ust 6efore this 6ook went to "ress8 I was honored to 6e inducted into the Poker +alk of Fame at the )ommerce )asino8 near Los -n'eles7 Ha!e you e!er !isited that casinoE It9s the 6i''est "hysical cardroom in the world7 There are hundreds of "oker ta6lesF Now8 in my whole life as a "oker "layer8 I ne!er en!isioned that there would e!er 6e fifty 'ames 'oin' under one roof8 let alone hundreds7 -nd )ommerce isn9t the only maBor "oker room to host a hu'e num6er of "oker ta6les7 -lso8 near Los -n'eles8 you ha!e the (icycle )asino8 Hollywood Park )asino8 Hawaiian ,ardens8 and the Hustler7 -nd there are now hu'e "oker rooms in Las Ne'as casinos8 includin' the (ella'io8 the ,olden Nu''et8 the Mira'e8 and others7 <ack (inion launched lar'e>scale "oker rooms in the Midwest8 and there are now 6i' rooms on the East )oast8 too8 includin' those in Fo woods in )onnecticut and others inside se!eral casinos in -tlantic )ity7 Poker is 6oomin' e!erywhere7 (ut "ut those all to'ether8 and you ha!e may6e 18333 ta6les7 This is somethin' I ne!er ima'ined when I started my career8 steerin' around the freJuent tum6le weeds that walked across the hi'hways of Te as8 'oin' from one sin'le>ta6le "ri!ate 'ame to another7 +hen you "lay real>world "oker 'ames8 you ha!e to tra!el from one casino to another to find the ri'ht 'ames7 +hen you "lay "oker online8 howe!er8 you9re instantly within reach of any ta6le7 - few clicks of your mouse and you9re at another ta6le8 may6e at the same online casino8 may6e at another7 <ust how many ta6les are we talkin' a6outE ;ou9ll often find o!er 18333 real> money online ta6les 'oin' on at the same time:some tournament ta6les8 some re'ular rin' 'ames7 Most days there will 6e o!er I38333 real>money "layers that you can choose to "lay a'ainst in minutes8 without lea!in' your home7 -nd then there are the free8 "ractice 'ames8 and I9d hesitate to count how many "layers and ta6les there are of those7 (etween the sudden sur'e of tele!ised "oker and online "oker8 more new
20

"layers ha!e 6een e "osed to our 'ame than e!er 6efore in history7 -nd it hel"s e!eryone7 The real>world casinos are flooded with new "layers7 *id you e!er think "oker would 'et this hotE I didn9t7 It9s a fantasy come true7 I 6elie!e many "otential "layers8 who otherwise would feel too em6arrassed to walk throu'h the front doors of a "u6lic casino to "lay "oker a'ainst more> e "erienced o""onents8 will find that coura'e now that they can "lay their first hands on the Internet7 So8 let9s see how "oker is "layed online7 T+O 5E-SONS +H; ONLINE POHE5 IS +O5SE Here are two ways that online "oker is worse than real>world "oker7 I readily acknowled'e that there are other minor 'rie!ances that could 6e added8 6ut to me8 these are the only two that stand out as im"ortant7 5eason G1K +here *id the Tells ,oE I think e!ery serious "layer "refers real>world "oker at times7 There9s no su6stitute for 6ein' a6le to stare an o""onent down and make decisions 6ased on your o6ser!ations7 -nd there9s no 'reater feelin' in "oker than that of intimidatin' o""onents into makin' costly mistakes7 Those elements are missin':and missed:when you "lay online7 The first thin' you need to know is that8 at the time of this 6ook9s "u6lication8 you can throw your skills at readin' o""onents9 6ody lan'ua'e out the window7 (ut if you9re readin' Su"er#System $ Bust a cou"le years down the road8 you may well 6e a6le to see real o""onents on your screen7 Poker will 6e like a !ideo conference8 and you9ll 6e a6le to focus on the "layers across the ta6le from you and read them7 I "redict8 throu'h li!e !ideo of each "layer re"lacin' the icons in the seats8 tells will 6e e!erywhere8 and then full>scale "sycholo'ical warfare will come to the online "oker 6attlefield :and nothin' will 6e missin'7 (ut for now8 online "oker sites:includin' doylesroom7com:de"ict "layers as icons7 Sometimes those are cartoon characters8 6ut *oyle9s 5oom uses your choice of sym6ols8 includin' fla's8 scenery8 and artistic words8 like
24

TILT7 Here are some of the icons you can choose to differentiate yourself from other "layers at the ta6lesK Think of it as selectin' one of those weird "ieces to re"resent yourself at Mono"oly as you roll the dice and "rance around the 6oard7 Players think it9s kind of fun choosin' their icon8 6ut you9re not 'oin' to 'ain any tells starin' at them7 +ell8 may6e that9s not Juite true7 For instance8 my 'uess is that "layers who choose an icon featurin' the word TILT are actually fairly ti'ht "layers8 tryin' to decei!e you7 -re there other tells onlineE Indeed there areF -lmost all of them center around the use of early action 6uttons7 Those are one of the in!entions that make online "oker the fast>"aced 'ame it is7 +hat are early action 6uttonsE They are in'enious inno!ations that take ad!anta'e of the fact that you can secretly tell the software what your ne t action will 6e:6efore it9s your turn to actF Since your o""onents are sittin' in their own homes8 "ossi6ly on the other side of the earth8 they ha!e no idea which 6utton you9!e decided to "ush7 Later8 I9ll discuss s"ecific tells associated with early action 6uttons7 (ut8 o!erall8 you9re 'oin' to find yourself at a disad!anta'e online if you earn a lot of your real>world "rofit 6y readin' your o""onents7 5eason G$K )an9t S"end the Money Immediately Part of the thrill of the "oker I 'rew u" with is that you can send your o""onents home with their tails tucked 6etween their le's8 whim"erin' and whinin'8 while you9re s"endin' some of your freshly won money7 Sadly8 that thrill is 'one from online "oker7 ;ou can9t send o""onents home whim"erin'8 6ecause they9re already home whim"erin'7 -nd you can9t s"end their money yet8 6ecause you can9t "hysically touch it7 It9s there in your account8 6ut if you want to s"end it8 you9ll ha!e to reJuest a cash>out and it will 6e se!eral days 6efore it arri!es7 Now8 I9ll wa'er you9re thinkin' that that mi'ht 6e a 'ood thin'7 I9m sure there are thousands of "oker "layers who unwisely wasted 6i' chunks of their 6ankrolls after a 6i' win and wish they9d had to wait a few days to recei!e their winnin's7 It9s hard for most "layers to acJuire the disci"line needed to
I3

han' on to a 6ankroll8 and I think that "layin' online hel"s "romote that necessary ha6it7 (ut I9m listin' this fact as a ne'ati!e sim"ly 6ecause I 6elie!e a 'rown>u" "oker "layer should 6e a6le to enBoy his winnin's 6y stuffin' them immediately into his "ockets7 )all me old fashioned8 6ut anythin' else doesn9t set Juite ri'ht with me7 (ut e ce"t for that and the fact that you can9t reach across the ta6le and shake an o""onents9 hand or read him the way you can in a real 'ame8 online "oker is Bust as 'ood as the traditional kind we9re accustomed to:and in some ways 6etter7 $$ 5E-SONS +H; ONLINE POHE5 IS (ETTE5 There are a 'reat num6er of ways in which online "oker actually e cels7 Each "layer has his own fa!orite reasons why he thinks online "oker is in some way su"erior to real>world "oker7 These are mineM 5eason G1K -lways a ,ame Online "oker makes a mockery out of how I went a6out findin' 'ood 'ames when I tra!eled the "oker circuit throu'hout Te as and the South in the 14/3s and early 1413s7 I mean8 sometimes you9d dri!e all day only to find that the lucrati!e oil well you were ho"in' to drill had Bust dried u" an hour 6efore you 'ot there7 Then you had to swallow the disa""ointment and "lan your ne t mo!e in accordance with how much it would cost to tra!el7 +as the 'ame you9d heard a6out8 far down the road8 worth the hassle and the e "enseE Then came casino "oker7 That hel"ed8 6ecause there was often a choice of 'ames in town7 (ut many ni'hts there was only one 'ame of interest8 and some ni'hts there weren9t any7 So8 ima'ine how I feel:ha!in' e "ended most of my effort findin' the ri'ht 'ames8 rather than enBoyin' them:6ein' a6le to sit down at my com"uter on a slee"less ni'ht and find the 6est 'ame in the world after a few mouse clicks7 +hat9s e!en 'reater is that online "oker ne!er slee"s7 It9s always "rime time for "oker somewhere in the world8 and you can Boin those 'ames8 e!en if no6ody else is awake in your nei'h6orhood7
I1

5eason G$K Play -'ainst O""onents ;ou9d Seldom or Ne!er Meet in Person The Internet has made the world so much smaller7 It mi'ht not look like it now8 with all the "olitical flare>u"s and re'ional wars in the news8 6ut I 6elie!e that encounterin' "eo"le from far away "laces and strikin' u" instant friendshi"s is 6ound to make the world more ci!il e!entually7 ;ou read a6out Internet romances that lead to marria'e7 (usiness associations are formed that would ha!e 6een "hysically im"ro6a6le7 It9s a 'ood thin'7 -nd one of the 6est effects of the Internet is what9s ha""enin' to "oker7 (it 6y 6it8 "oker is 6ecomin' the world9s common lan'ua'e of 'amin'7 In a real sense8 online "oker is doin' its "art to make the world 6etter:as well as hel"in' to showcase the 'ame7 - main !irtue of online "oker is that it makes 'ames "ossi6le amon' ea'er "layers who li!e so far a"art that they9d seldom ha!e a chance to sit down to'ether at a real>world ta6le7 5eason G.K Take a Quick Fi!e>Minute (reak to Play Often you only ha!e a half>hour or less to s"are8 sometimes as little as fi!e minutes7 If you had the ur'e to "lay "oker "rior to online "lay8 there wasn9t anythin' you could do a6out it7 There certainly wouldn9t 6e time to sit down and 6e dealt in7 Now8 that9s all chan'ed7 Sometimes8 I9ll lo' into a 'ame when I ha!e Bust a few minutes to s"are7 I mi'ht only "lay half a do%en hands at C133#C$33 limit8 6ut so whatE Lsually8 I wouldn9t "lay that small8 6ecause :for me:it9s not worth the effort7 (ut those are hefty limits 6y online standards8 where the maBority of "eo"le "lay C1I#C.3 limits and often much smaller7 So8 I "lay those few hands8 and I can do the same thin' a'ain on my ne t 6reak7 Those hands all add u"8 and so does the "rofit7 5eason G2K ,reat Practice for Those New To Poker I9m 6ettin' one of the reasons that "layers didn9t flock to the "oker rooms in years "ast is that they Bust didn9t know what to e "ect when they 'ot there7 That can 6e intimidatin'8 ste""in' into a real world 'ame for the first time8 not knowin' how you9ll 6e acce"ted 6y the other "layers7 -nd for 6e'inners8
I$

the anonymity of online "lay 'i!es timid "eo"le the coura'e to di!e into the "oker "ond8 whereas8 if it were a face>to>face 'ame8 they9d Bust ne!er 'o near the water7 I 6elie!e many "layers will learn to e cel at "oker who mi'ht otherwise ne!er ha!e "layed the 'ame7 It9s all 6ecause of the online "oker o""ortunity7 5eason GIK No Need to *ress L" or ,room I 'ot to thinkin':there are times when you like to dress u" and times when you don9t7 I try to look my 6est when I 'o to church or 'o to a decent restaurant with my family7 It makes me feel 6etter a6out myself7 (ut there are times when I9d rather 6e flat>out comforta6le and I don9t care if I9m dressed to im"ress7 One of those times is when I9m "layin' "oker7 Lnless I9m 6ein' filmed8 I9m less choosey a6out what I wear to a "oker 'ame7 Of course8 I dress reasona6ly well8 e!en then8 6ecause I think some of the attire seen at the "oker ta6les is a downri'ht dis'race and reflects "oorly on our 'ame7 (ut8 6asically8 I don9t o!erdo it7 The truth is8 thou'h8 if it weren9t for how others mi'ht !iew me8 I9d rather not 6other a6out how I look when I "lay "oker7 -nd online "lay 'i!es me the o""ortunity to dress howe!er I like7 -s many ha!e noted8 you can "lay "oker online in your "aBamas and no one will care7 Now8 that9s definitely a 6onus you 'et only when "layin' "oker 6y com"uter7 5eason G/K Heads>L" )hallen'es If you like to "lay heads>u"8 online cardrooms are 6e'innin' to "ro!ide "re!iously una!aila6le o""ortunities7 Ha!e you e!er wondered why there are so few heads>u" matches in real>world casinosE Surely8 heads>u" can9t 6e that un"o"ular8 6ecause Bust the thou'ht of a hi'h>intensity one>on>one 'ame can make "ulses race7 -nd aren9t the final heads>u" hands in a tournament the most e citin' to watch on tele!isionE Let me tell you8 ha!in' enBoyed a lot of e "erience in this situation8 those final heads>u" hands are not Bust the most e citin' to watch:they9re also the most e citin' to "layF So8 why no heads>u"E It9s 6ecause those 'ames are not economical for casinos7 Each 'ame takes u" !alua6le real estate:a full ta6le7 +orse8 each 'ame reJuires a dealer:who is hired to "ro!ide ser!ice to u" to ten "layers at a ta6le:Bust to accommodate two customers7
I.

(ut online8 this all chan'es7 It costs nothin' to set u" a new ta6le for two "layers8 and online casinos don9t worry a6out you usin' u" their ta6les8 6ecause they can "ro!ide as many as they want at no cost7 No ta6les to "urchase7 No cardroom floor s"ace limitations7 (ut 6i''er than that is the fact that online casinos don9t worry a6out "ayin' dealers7 The cards are all shuffled and distri6uted 6y com"uter7 There9s no cost in!ol!ed in dealin' more cards or addin' more7 That9s one reason why I 6elie!e you9re 'oin' to see a sur'e in heads>u" "lay online7 There9s another8 darker reason why some "layers mi'ht choose heads>u" online7 They fear collusion8 6ecause they9!e heard that o""onents mi'ht 6e on the "hone sharin' information a6out each other9s hands in order to 'an' u" on honest "layers7 Now8 while collusion is always somethin' to 6e alert to :whether you9re "layin' "oker online or in the real>world:the fact is that online "oker has an ad!anta'e in that there9s a data6ase of e!ery hand e!er "layed7 Each hand you "lay is worth money8 when you9re "layin' the way I ad!ise in this 6ook8 and twice the hands can mean u" to twice the "rofit7 5eal>world sur!eillance and 'ame "rotection has also increased dramatically in recent years8 and I9m certain that8 on a!era'e8 "oker is more honest today than it9s 6een at any time in history7 If you dou6t this8 Bust look at the "layers who are re'ularly winnin' the maBor tournaments7 Often8 these are unknown "layers:some rank amateurs7 That8 in itself8 is a testiment to the inte'rity of real>world "oker today7 Still8 for those who are so concerned that they don9t trust anyone and don9t want to risk "layin' a'ainst multi"le o""onents they can9t "hysically scrutini%e8 heads>u" Bust mi'ht 6e the answer7 One o""onent can9t collude7 To me8 that isn9t an issue7 Online 'ames can 6e monitored in ways so so"histicated that they9d shock those who aren9t technically sa!!y7 +hile I enBoy shorthanded 'ames and e!en heads>u" 'ames8 I9m !ery comforta6le a'ainst multi"le o""onents and sometimes "refer to "lay a'ainst a ta6le full of o""onents online7 Heads>u" is often a war of e'os7 -nd only online can you sit in London and "lay a hotly contested match a'ainst someone at home in 6ed with a la"to" com"uter in -ustralia7
I2

5eason G1K More Hands Per Hour +hen online "oker first de6uted in the late nineties8 "oker rooms actually 6uilt in a delay to simulate the time it took to deal cards in the real world7 (oy8 was that a mistakeF It Juickly 6ecame a""arent that "layers didn9t want the delays7 The faster their cards arri!ed8 the ha""ier they were7 That9s why doylesroom7com and most other online rooms ha!e taken all the air out of dealin' and shufflin'7 There is no delay7 ;ou can "lay many more hands "er hour online8 a6out twice as many as you9d "lay in the real world7 That means you can make more money faster7 Each hand you "lay is worth money when you9re "layin' the way I ad!ise in this 6ook8 twice the hands can mean u" to twice the "rofit7 5eason G0K Play Two or More ,ames at Once ;ou see some "retty weird thin's at "oker7 I9!e seen "layers hold seats at adBoinin' ta6les and scurry 6ack and forth8 tryin' to "lay 6oth 'ames for short "eriods of times7 This usually ha""ens when the "layer has free hands remainin' 6efore the 6lind at one 'ame and has 6een called to a seat from the waitin' list for another 'ame7 Needless to say8 "layin' two 'ames at once in the real world doesn9t work well7 It9s "hysically im"ractical8 and you9re almost certain to rudely delay the "lay of a hand at one ta6le8 while com"letin' action at another7 (ut online8 it9s much sim"ler7 ;ou Bust click to enter a second8 third8 or e!en more 'ames7 +hen it9s your turn to act8 the software notifies you8 and you sim"ly click on your decision to fold8 call8 check8 or raise7 Since you don9t ha!e to 'et out of your seat and "hysically mo!e to the other ta6le8 multi"le 'ame "lay 6ecomes "ractical online7 *oes this mean more "rofit for youE It can:if you9re 'ood enou'h7 Try to remem6er8 thou'h8 that you won9t 6e a6le to focus as closely as you would on a sin'le 'ame7 ;ou9ll miss some of the nuances and won9t 6e a6le to track your o""onents9 tendencies as readily7 That means your a!era'e earnin's "er 'ame are sure to suffer when you "lay more than one7 (ut when you add those sli'htly diminished "rofits from multi"le 'ames to'ether8 you9ll "ro6a6ly find that you9ll earn more total "rofit7 +hether you do de"ends on your skills7
II

I recommend that you stick to Bust one 'ame at first8 6ecause it can 6e Juite hectic concentratin' on two or more at once7 (ut as you 'et accustomed to "layin' multi"le 'ames8 you mi'ht find it e citin' and rewardin'7 )ertainly8 there9s no eJui!alent in real>world "oker7 5eason G4K Pre>Select (uttons One of the 'reat in!entions of online "oker are the early action or "re>select 6uttons7 Since you aren9t 6ein' watched 6y other "layers8 you can decide what to do in ad!ance of the action reachin' you7 In real>world "oker8 "re> selectin' wouldn9t 6e a""ro"riate8 6ecause that would let o""onents who act 6efore you know how you "lanned to res"ond7 The early action choices hel" s"eed u" the "lay8 and they9re es"ecially useful if you9re "layin' other 'ames simultaneously7 For instance8 when you know you9re 'oin' to fold8 no matter what8 you can Bust click the fold 6utton 6efore the action 'ets to you and concentrate on a different ta6le8 where you hold a more "romisin' hand7 The "re>select choices chan'e accordin' to the action7 Here9s an e am"le from *oyle9s 5oomK Here I9m holdin' the se!en and three of clu6s on the left side of the ta6le7 It9s a strai'ht limit 'ame8 and I9m waitin' for *r7 (lue6erry8 at the 6ottom of the screen8 to act7 (ut8 if you9re in a situation like this8 you don9t ha!e to wait until it9s your turn to make a decision7 Look at the 6ottom of the screen7 ;ou can click ri'ht now Fold8 )all I8 )all any8 5aise I8 or 5aise any7 There is somethin' I find useful a6out these "re>select 6uttonsK they can "ro!ide tells7 +atch the s"eed with which someone acts7 If a decision is "re> selected8 then it usually will occur instantly when the action reaches that "layer7 I say @usually8A 6ecause occasional la"ses in Internet communication can cause a delay7 Most of the time this delay won9t ha""en8 and you can 'et some information 6ecause of o""onents9 use of these s"ecial 6uttons7 The main thin' I kee" in my head is that when an action ha""ens instantly8 it9s "ro6a6ly a result of a "re>selected action7 +hy would an o""onent "re> selectE There9s only one reason I can think of7 That o""onent knows that he9s 'oin' to take that action8 no matter what anyone else does in front of him7 That "uts an added em"hasis to that o""onent9s decision8 in my mind7
I/

-lthou'h the screen shot you Bust looked at was for a situation where someone had already 6et8 sometimes no one has 6et7 Then one of the "re> select 6uttons will 6e to check7 +hat if an o""onent checks instantlyE )hances are8 that "layer has determined in ad!ance that he is 'oin' to check7 -t *oyle9s 5oom8 he may ha!e selected either the )heck#Fold 6utton8 which is a !ery freJuent choice8 or the less likely )heck#)all any 6utton7 If )heck#Fold is the choice8 then I can assume that the instant check means the "layer "ro6a6ly would ha!e automatically folded if there had 6een a 6et7 In that case8 I 'i!e the "layer less credit for ha!in' a stron' hand7 Similarly8 if an o""onent raises instantly8 I9m "retty sure he intended to raise no matter what8 and that usually indicates a !ery stron' hand7 There are other tells you can di!ine from these "re>select 6uttons8 when you take the time to think a6out what an instant action means7 If an o""onent seems to freJuently use the "re>select 6uttons8 6ut occasionally hesitates8 you can fi'ure him for a ty"e of hand where the decision is not o6!ious7 So8 always consider what an instant action:or the lack of one:mi'ht mean7 ;ou can8 of course8 wait until the action reaches your seat7 Here9s a no>limit e am"le of what your choices would look like thenK 5eason G13K The Shuffle Some "layers dou6t whether the shuffle in online "oker is as random as in real>world 'ames7 In fact8 online shuffles are instant and more random than real>world shuffles7 That9s 6ecause any com"etent online cardroom knows the ri'ht formulas to "ut into the software7 They tell me that the science of simulatin' random e!ents8 includin' card distri6ution8 is !ery mature7 I 'uess that means that a lot of research has 'one into it8 and it9s im"ossi6le for a human dealer to e!en come close in dealin' cards with the same efficiency or un"redicta6ility7 -nother im"ressi!e thin' a6out com"uteri%ed shufflin' and dealin' is that you won9t ha!e any misdeals7 -nd you9ll ne!er encounter one of the common irritations of real>world "oker8 6ecause no cards will 6e inad!ertently flashed7 5eason G11K 5akes -re -ctually Less
I1

-t the hi'her limits I "lay8 "ots are seldom raked7 Instead there9s an hourly seat rental7 (ut most e!eryday limits8 C13#C$3 and often hi'her8 are raked7 If you9re lookin' for a 6ar'ain8 you9ll find that those rakes are a little less online7 5eason G1$K No Ti""in' It9s customary to ti" the dealer when you win a "ot7 It9s not mandatory8 6ut most "layers do it7 In a CI#C13 'ame8 you mi'ht throw a dollar the dealers way whene!er you win a "ot with any si%e to it7 The dealer9s make most of their income from these ti"s8 6ecause they9re "aid !ery low 6ase wa'es7 These dollars you ti" add u"8 and you could 6uy some nice )hristmas "resents at the end of the year if you didn9t ha!e to "ay them7 +ell8 online8 you don9t7 In fact8 you can9t8 6ecause there is no real dealer to a""reciate or acce"t your 'esture7 (ut I had a stran'e thou'ht7 Players 6ein' as su"erstitious as they are8 I9m wonderin' if *oyle9s 5oom should add an o"tional Ti" 6utton7 I 6elie!e so many "layers would choose to ti" the non> e istin' dealer that I mi'ht wai!e my endorsement fee and 'et rich off those ti"s7 5eason G1.K Poker )lock In "oker8 an o""onent can9t stall fore!er8 whether it9s an e!eryday 'ame or a tournament7 -lthou'h it9s rare8 you9ll sometimes see a "layer take a lon' time 6efore actin' on a hand7 Now8 in no>limit "lay8 this is occasionally acce"ta6le7 *ecisions can ha!e e treme im"ortance8 and a "layer needs time to think a6out the situation and study his o""onent7 (ut e!en in no>limit8 most "layers act more Juickly than you9d e "ect7 It9s rare for them take a lot of time to "onder7 -nd in limit 'ames8 it9s downri'ht rude to waste time o!er and o!er a'ain when the action 'ets to you7 I 6elie!e8 if you know you9re 'oin' to fold8 then you should usually Bust fold7 *on9t make a show of it7 Sometimes "layers take so lon' that if you allowed them to stall fore!er8 the 'ame would come to a halt7 That9s why in real>world "oker8 you can always ask to "ut the clock on an o""onent7 That 'i!es him a set amount of time to
I0

com"lete the decision7 Failure to act constitutes a fold7 The "ro6lem with that system is you don9t want to 6e needlessly rude to o""onents7 May6e they really do need the time7 May6e they9re losin' and confused7 May6e they9re darin' you to ask for the clock8 so they can 6e hostile in return7 +ho knowsE The 'ood thin' a6out online "oker is that it takes away the awkwardness of askin' for the clock7 If a "layer doesn9t click on a decision 6utton8 after 13 seconds or so he9ll 6e "rom"ted to do so7 Some sites "ro!ide a countdown clock7 *oyle9s 5oom uses 'entle chimes to warn that you ha!e 13 seconds left to act7 +hat ha""ens if you don9t act online differs from cardroom to cardroom and situation to situation7 If you ha!en9t "ut any money in the "ot8 your hand will 6e folded7 If you ha!e8 you9ll usually 6e treated as if you9re all>in8 e!en thou'h you still ha!e chi"s in front of you7 That means com"etin' for a "artial "ot7 ;es8 unscru"ulous "layers sometimes try to use the all>in feature unfairly to their ad!anta'e7 They9ll "retend to 6e ha!in' Internet communications "ro6lems8 not reali%in' that most sites can tell if they9re actually still connected7 Sometimes they9ll succeed in 'ettin' a free shot at "art of a "ot8 when they would otherwise ha!e folded7 That9s why most sites only allow one or two artificial all>ins to 6e used "er session8 6eyond which hands are folded8 no matter what7 That9s also why "layers who a6use the treat>as>all>in "ri!ile'e are sus"ended or 6arred7 *es"ite this timed>out issue8 which is hard to deal with and uniJue to online "oker8 the "resence of an automatic clock kee"s the 'ames mo!in' swiftly7 It9s "art of the reason why there are so many more hands dealt to you each hour online7 5eason G12K +ith More Hands8 ;our 5esults +ill E!en Out More Quickly In most 'ames of skill8 the ri'ht decisions are Juickly rewarded7 In "oker8 the ri'ht decisions can cause misery in the short term7 If you9re not "re"ared for the frustrations that 'o with Juick chan'es in fate8 you don9t ha!e the ri'ht tem"erament to 6e a "rofessional "oker "layer7 -lthou'h su"erior "layers win in the lon' run8 and you hardly e!er hear
I4

a6out any full>time "ros ha!in' a losin' year8 it9s not hard to s"end weeks or e!en a month sufferin' a net loss7 (ut the lon'er you "lay8 the more Juickly that familiar law of "ro6a6ility takes hold8 and the closer your results 'et to what really should ha""en7 (ut e!en thou'h we talk a6out chance takin' time to e!en out8 it really doesn9t take a lot of time:it takes a lot of hands7 +hat if you could 'et all those hands "layed in a short timeE +ell8 suddenly8 when you9re "layin' online8 instead of in a "hysical casino8 you9re "layin' a lot more hands7 The deals are ama%in'ly 6risk7 The action is swift7 E "ect to 'et twice as many hands "layed each hour7 -nd that9s if you only "lay at a sin'le ta6le7 Many winnin' "layers re'ularly "lay two or three 'ames at once7 That9s u" to si times as many hands "er hour7 +hat does this mean in terms of a 6ad streakE It means that a streak that would ha!e droned on for si days will sto" showerin' misery on you after only one day7 For certain8 thin's will e!en out faster online7 So8 if you9re a su"erior "oker "layer8 you can e "ect to win more consistently on a week>to> week 6asis when you "lay online7 5eason G1IK Tournaments on *emand This is amon' online "oker9s 'reatest ad!anta'es7 ;ou can "lay tournaments day and ni'ht7 ;ou mi'ht see e!ents scheduled for three in the mornin':so8 if you ha""en to 6e awake8 di!e ri'ht in7 +hy so early in the mornin'E 5emem6er that "oker is now a worldwide s"ort8 and when it9s early in the mornin' for you8 it9s afternoon somewhere else7 (ut if tournaments scheduled around the clock aren9t enou'h for you8 try the unscheduled onesF There9s a fast>and>furious form of tournament "oker:the sin'le>ta6le shootout7 ;ou "lay down to one winner8 with second and third "lace finishers also recei!in' money7 It9s the same as those "o"ular one>ta6le satellites that annoyed me 6y dryin' u" the side action years a'o at the maBor tournaments7 The difference online is that you9re "layin' for cash8 not for a seat into a lar'er tournament7 +hat you need to know a6out these tournaments is that there9s no scheduled startin' time7 That9s why the "o"ular name for them today is Sit>and>,oes7 ;ou take a seat at the ta6le =or "ut your name on the list?8 and as soon as
/3

there9s a full ta6le8 the cards automatically 'et dealt7 ;ou can "ut your name on other SN, lists and then "lay se!eral of these tournaments at a time7 Lsually8 they take less than an hour:and a ty"ical "layer will last a6out $3 minutes8 on a!era'e8 sometimes 6ein' eliminated almost immediately8 sometimes sur!i!in' lon' enou'h to win7 ;ou can "lay them all day if this is your fa!orite "oker form7 <ust take a seat or click to 'et on the list7 In other words8 sit7 -s soon as there9s a full ta6le8 it9s time for the tournament to 6e'in7 - ta6le often fills in a matter of a minute or two7 In other words8 'o7 Sit>and>'oes can 'et to 6e a ha6it in a hurry:and a !ery "rofita6le one for accom"lished "layers7 The trick is to "lay a solid 'ame8 tryin' to sur!i!e and share in one of the three "ayouts for first8 second8 and third7 -s much as my tem"erament tells me to always 'o for first "lace8 this really isn9t the 6est strate'y in these one>ta6le shootouts8 where no6ody kee"s track of your @cham"ionshi"sA anyway7 It9s 6etter to "lay a more conser!ati!e 'ame than you would in a re'ular rin' 'ame7 ;ou should "lay a little more selecti!ely8 tryin' to sur!i!e until there are Bust two "layers left8 and then o"en u"7 The same is true of all online tournaments where you "lay down to a few "layers who share the "ri%e money7 ;ou won9t ha!e the same o""ortunities to "sycholo'ically conJuer o""onents as you would in real>world 'ames8 so the "ro!en 6est choice is to "lay more solidly7 5eason G1/K More )omforta6le Than at a )rowded Ta6le I hate sittin' el6ow to el6ow7 I9m a 6i' man:at least I was until my recent 'astric 6y"ass sur'ery:and you can ima'ine how im"ortant it has 6een throu'hout my "oker career to ha!e enou'h room to feel comforta6le7 In the real world8 I usually "lay shorthanded8 6ut when I ha!e to crowd into a nine> or 13>hand 'ame8 as I do for tournaments8 I9m always wishin' for more s"ace7 Online8 I don9t worry a6out that7 I can "lay from a recliner with a key6oard in my la"8 if I want to8 and still 6e at a full ta6le7 5eason G11K Small>Limit ,ames That -re Ln>Economical in the 5eal +orld In my mind8 this is online "oker9s 'reatest contri6ution to our 'ame7 Most "rofessionals don9t think of C$ and C2 'ames as meanin'ful limits7 (ut when you9re Bust startin' out and on a small 6ankroll8 e!en the difference 6etween a
/1

CI3 win and a CI3 loss can 6e im"ortant7 Those small limits can 6e uncomforta6le for "layers Bust learnin' the 'ame7 I9ll 6et it9s occurred to e!eryone who "lays "oker seriously that it would 6e a 'reat idea to ha!e formal 'ames for 6e'inners where you could 6et Bust 13 cents7 Those would 6e the trainin' 'round for those neo"hytes who are too timid to risk meanin'ful money at "oker7 ;ou9d let new "layers 'et comforta6le with the 'ame8 "layers who would otherwise ne!er e "erience the thrill of "oker in a casino7 -s I "ointed out earlier8 real>world casinos can9t afford to do this8 6ecause of the costs in!ol!ed in "ro!idin' "hysical ta6les and "ayin' human dealers7 (ut online "oker rooms can and do make this 'reat contri6ution to our 'ame7 5eason G10K Free ,ames for Practice (ut why not take this ad!anta'e of 6ein' a6le to s"read 'ames economically online a ste" furtherE +hy not offer Bust>for>fun 'ames for those who aren9t ready to "lay "oker for kee"sE Most online "oker rooms do e actly that7 They let "layers learn the mechanics of the 'ame 6y "layin' for ima'inary money7 -nd they char'e nothin' for this "romotional ser!ice to the "oker community7 5eal>world casinos can9t afford to do that7 Look closely at the 'ame 6elow7 Notice that this *oyle9s 5oom 'ame says8 @Play Money Ta6le8A down toward the 6ottom of the cloth7 I wouldn9t 6e sur"rised if many successful real>world "layers8 and e!en future +orld Poker Tour and other cham"ions8 will launch their careers on free online ta6les Bust like this one7 5eason G14K Hi'h Percenta'e of 5eal>+orld Tournament Players +ho Qualified Online ;es8 I was ske"tical of the !alue of online "oker a few years a'o7 So were many of the "eo"le who mana'ed real>world cardrooms7 They were afraid that online "oker would si"hon off their 6usiness more than it would hel" 6rin' in new "layers to their "hysical cardrooms7 That ar'ument has 6een resol!ed7 Today8 it9s hard to find anyone in the industry who doesn9t reali%e that online 'ames ha!e hel"ed in the resur'ence of real>world "oker7 I meet "layers e!eryday at the (ella'io8 )ommerce8 and
/$

elsewhere who 6e'an 6y "layin' "oker online7 -nd the one thin' that "ro!es the "oint most con!incin'ly is the num6er of "layers at the maBor tournaments who Jualified online7 For some8 these real> world tournaments constitute their first e "osure to casino "oker7 They like the ad!enture of "layin' a'ainst li!e o""onents they actually can shake hands with and s"eak to at the ta6les7 -nd they enBoy tryin' to read them and s"ot tells:somethin' that isn9t "ossi6le online7 )ount the new "layers "ourin' into casino "oker tournaments throu'h online channels8 and you9ll 6e as con!inced as I am that online "oker has hel"ed 'reatly to 6rin' our 'ame into the "u6lic s"otli'ht8 'i!in' it the res"ect it always deser!ed8 6ut ne!er had7 5eason G$3K O"tional Four>)olor *ecks I9!e 'ot to confess8 I9!e ne!er 6een a fan of four>color decks7 +ith the traditional deck of cards I 'rew u" with8 hearts and diamonds are 6oth red8 and s"ades and clu6s are 6oth 6lack7 They tell me that four>color decks8 with each suit ha!in' its own color8 were tried o!er a hundred years a'o7 -""arently8 it wasn9t as economical to "rint them that way8 and two colors 6ecame the custom7 I "refer two>color decks8 6ecause that9s what I9m used to7 (ut8 there9s o6!iously a stron' ar'ument for a four>color deck7 It makes it much easier to s"ot flushes and flush "ossi6ilities at a 'lance7 +hen Mike )aro "u6licly started makin' a 6i' deal a6out chan'in' to four>colors ten years a'o8 I thou'ht he was 'oofy7 He tried unsuccessfully to introduce four>color decks to real>world casinos8 e!en 'oin' so far as "romotin' a @)>*ayA for )olor *eck *ay where this no!elty was introduced to si ty>fi!e casinos simultaneously7 The effort fell flat8 6ecause "oker "layers don9t like chan'e and 6ecause the differences in colors that he chose were too su6tle to 6e easily distin'uished across the ta6le7 Old timers like me 6alked8 while many 6e'inners liked the decks7 It would ha!e 6een nice if e!eryone could "lay with the deck they "referred8 6ut that was o6!iously im"ossi6le7 ;ou had to choose one or the other8 and the traditional two>color deck continued to rule in real>world casinos7
/.

Online8 it9s different7 ;ou can "lay with the deck of your choice7 That9s 6ecause the deck you choose is only dis"layed on your own com"uter screen7 ;our o""onent can 6e lookin' at a different deck8 and it won9t make any difference to you7 That9s why four>color decks ha!e 'ained a new lease on life online:and only online8 so far7 5eason G$1K Software Lets ;ou Hnow +hen It9s ;our Turn ;ou9!e had this ha""en 6efore7 - "layer sits "atiently8 6ecause he doesn9t reali%e it9s his turn7 ;ou sit "atiently8 too8 6ecause you don9t want to 6e rude while8 you assume8 he9s makin' a decision7 ;es8 we9!e all seen this im"asse time and a'ain7 Online8 this awkward moment ne!er ha""ens7 The software "rods "layers for a decision8 lettin' them know "recisely when it9s time to act7 5eason G$$K No Social Sti'ma -6out Lea!in' a ,ame Early with ;our +innin's I 6elie!e that a "layer should ne!er need to "ro!ide a reason for lea!in' a 'ame7 The common notion that you9re 6ein' unfair if you sit down for a short time and lea!e with a 6i' "rofit is nonsense7 In "oker8 you "ut your money at risk7 If you win8 it9s your money8 and you can 'et u" and lea!e anytime you feel like it7 Still8 this is sometimes hard to do in the real world7 If you hit and run too often8 you9re a"t to 'et a re"utation as the ty"e of "layer some don9t like to "lay a'ainst7 It ne!er 6others me when "layers win and lea!e Juickly8 6ut it does 6other others7 Personally8 I usually "refer to "lay lon'er sessions8 6ut I don9t frown on those who9d rather "lay short ones7 Online8 you won9t encounter any resistance when you take the money and run7 O""onents reali%e that you mi'ht only ha!e ten minutes to "lay ri'ht then8 and you can Bust click Lea!e Ta6le and 6e out of the 'ame without fanfare or makin' e cuses7 In fact8 "layers need to "ay attention to e!en notice who comes and 'oes in a 'ame8 6ecause it ha""ens so Juickly online7 If you9re one of those "layers who likes to "lay short sessions and lea!e with your winnin's intact8 online "lay is your kind of "oker7 For the most "art8 no6ody cares or e!en notices7
/2

+H-T -*<LSTMENTS +ILL ;OL NEE* TO M-HE ONLINEE Finally8 I9ll 'i!e you some 6asic ad!ice a6out how to win online7 -lmost e!erythin' in this 6ook a""lies7 Online "oker is real "oker7 Hee" in mind how I ad!ise "layin' a'ainst 6ad "layers8 6ecause you can Bust assume most of the "layers you9ll confront online are 6ad7 Or at the !ery least8 you9ll find yourself u" a'ainst more unso"histicated and too>loose "layers than you will in real>world casinos7 The trick to 6eatin' 'ames a'ainst that ty"e of "layer is to seldom do anythin' fancy7 ;ou don9t need to7 Most of your "rofit will come from choosin' to do the o6!iously correct thin'7 5aise when your lo'ical first choice is raisin'7 Fold when your hands are weak7 (luff s"arin'ly in limit 'ames7 -'ainst the ty"e of "layer you meet online8 you should try a lot less tricks than you would in the real world7 Mike )aro and I are in the "rocess of makin' instructional !ideos a6out real> world "oker and online "oker7 Some of these !ideos will 6e 'i!en away at doylesroom7com e clusi!ely7 Many others will 6e a!aila6le to the "u6lic7 +e e "ect this "roBect to do for "oker !ideos what Su"er#System did for "oker literature7 Lse all the "rofessional techniJues you9!e learned in this 6ook8 6ut kee" it sim"le whene!er "ossi6le7 That9s the "urest "ath to online "oker "rofit7

/I

EP)LLSINE SLPE5#S;STEM $ TIPS F5OM MIHE )-5O LNINE5SIT; Mike )aro From his earliest days as @)ra%y MikeA to his current stature as the le'endary @Mad ,enius of PokerA and @-merica9s Mad ,enius8A Mike )aro has "ioneered some of the most im"ortant conce"ts used 6y the to" "layers today7 In "u6lic8 he can 6e off>the>wall and entertainin'8 6ut when he offers ad!ice and research8 world>class "oker com"etitors take his word as 'os"el7 -nd e!en those "layers who ha!en9t had "ersonal contact with Mike ha!e no dou6t 6een 'reatly influenced 6y his "ioneerin' theories in ways they don9t e!en reali%e7 +hen I met him in 14118 Mike was thirty>two and already the 6est draw "oker "layer in the world7 Since then he has e!ol!ed into the "remier authority on "oker strate'y8 "sycholo'y8 and statistics7 Now at si ty8 he has hel"ed 'enerations of "layers reach le!els of achie!ement they ne!er dreamed "ossi6le throu'h his 6ooks8 columns8 seminars8 and !ideos7 - few years a'o8 he founded Mike )aro Lni!ersity of Poker8 ,amin'8 and Life Strate'y with an online cam"us located at www7"oker17com8 yet another inno!ation that electrified the "oker community7 5eco'ni%ed as @the manA in "oker circles8 his unJuestioned inte'rity8 un"recedented in'enuity8 and tireless de!otion to our 'ame ha!e left their mark throu'hout the world of "oker7 In the followin' "a'es you9ll 'et a taste of what Mike teaches at his standin'> room>only seminars7 These "owerful ti"s and conce"ts will likely 6e as !alua6le as any ad!ice you9ll e!er recei!e7 2. EP)LLSINE SLPE5#S;STEM $ TIPS F5OM MIHE )-5O LNINE5SIT; (y Mike )aro Each ti" in this cha"ter works in conBunction with e!erythin' *oyle (runson and his colla6orators teach in the followin' cha"ters7 I know this 6ecause "oker is "owerful science7 I know this 6ecause8 in many ways8 "oker is e act
//

Click this link to download and install Full Tilt Poker. Receive the maximum deposit bonus of 100% up to $600. Bonus Code: 2XBONUS600

Click this link to download and install PokerStars. Receive the maximum deposit bonus of 100% up to $600. Marketing Code: PSP6964

science7 I know this 6ecause any true world>class "layer:"articularly one selected 6y *oyle:must honor all esta6lished laws of "oker science7 I also know this 6ecause I9!e already seen the cha"ters7 The followin' ti"s are selected from o!er 18333 candidates in the li6rary of articles8 lectures8 courses8 and seminar transcri"ts found at Poker17com7 That9s the online home of Mike )aro Lni!ersity of Poker7 M)L ser!es as the e clusi!e educational win' for doylesroom7com8 where you can "lay internet "oker a'ainst real o""onents worldwide7 ;ou9ll find *oyle9s teachin's online8 alon' with my own8 at Poker17 (ut this is the way I still "refer to teach:offline8 in traditional "rint7 For many years8 I didn9t want my "oker conce"ts to a""ear in "rint at all7 I ne!er wanted to share "oker secrets7 I was "erfectly content to 6e a "rofessional "oker "layer for the rest of my life7 (ut in 14118 *oyle "ersuaded me to create the draw "oker and statistics sections for the ori'inal Su"er#System8 and in doin' so8 he o"ened my eyes to the "ros"ect of "ro"ellin' "oker 6eyond its dark and din'y history7 He dreamed of 6rin'in' our 'reat 'ame into the li'ht of day8 writin' o"enly a6out tactics8 and hel"in' the "u6lic see "oker as a worthy strate'y 'ame8 Bust like chess8 6ack'ammon8 and 6rid'e7 -s soon as Su"er#System was "u6lished in 14108 I reali%ed the sco"e of *oyle9s dream7 Poker "layers8 who had 6een hun'ry for real analysis:not homes"un hit>and>miss wisdom found in "re!ious 6ooks:e "ressed their 'ratitude o"enly8 not Bust to *oyle8 6ut to me and all the e "erts on the first Su"er#System team7 ;es8 the early research I contri6uted 6ack then was ahead of its time8 6ut it doesn9t com"are with the truths we9!e learned since7 Today8 we9re unra!elin' some of "oker9s 'reat tactical mysteries8 as you9ll disco!er when you mo!e 6eyond this cha"ter7 *raw Is *ead @*raw "oker is dead8A *oyle said8 and he su''ested that8 rather than re!isin' and moderni%in' 6oth the fi!e>card draw hi'h and low6all sections for Su"er#System $8 I create an introductory @seminar8A 6ased on the ones I
/1

"resent to casinos8 6ut with dee"er e "lanations worthy of Su"er#System7 The ti"s would a""ear on @screens8A Bust as they do at my li!e "erformances7 Fine7 I don9t a'ree that draw "oker is dead8 6ut let9s do that seminar8 anyway7 I9!e di!ided the "resentation into four sessionsK =1? Insi'hts and -ttitudeD =$? Strate'y and TacticsD =.? Psycholo'y and TellsD and8 =2? Two Final (onus Ti"s7 If you9re ready8 I am8 too8 so let the e clusi!e M)L Su"er#System $ seminar 6e'inF Insi'ht and -ttitude TIP 1 I know what you9re thinkin'7 That9s a stran'e way to 6e'in a cha"ter tar'eted to readers who seek to "lay "oker seriously7 I read your mind8 ri'htE ,et used to it7 ;ou9re lookin' at my most famous Juote8 so let me e "lain why it is an im"ortant startin' "oint7 The main skill that successful "eo"le "ossess is the a6ility to closely estimate their chances in life7 The main skill that winnin' "oker "layers "ossess is the a6ility to closely estimate their chances of winnin' a hand or makin' a "rofit in a 'ame7 How do you closely estimate your chancesE It9s a matter of o6ser!in' what 'oes on around you and determinin' how likely e!ents are to affect you7 Easier said than done8 ri'htE 5i'htF -nd you9ll ne!er 'et anywhere near "erfect when it comes to estimatin' your chances7 (ut the closer you come8 the more likely you are to conJuer o""onents at life and at "oker7 (ut8 here9s what you need to understandK If you don9t know how to estimate chances or you don9t ha!e any information at all a6out a situation8 then that e!ent a""ears to 6e an e!en money situation7 E "erience tells us that some thin's are not e!en money7 If you lea" from a twenty>story 6uildin'8 you "ro6a6ly won9t land safely7 (ut8 waitF ;ou mi'ht
/0

land safely7 ;ou mi'ht ha!e your fall 6roken 6y a 'iant "ile of feather "illows7 Of course8 you and I know it9s not an e!en>money "ro"osition that this will ha""en7 +e know that lea" "ro6a6ly isn9t 'oin' to end "retty7 Okay8 so how would you know it wouldn9t end "retty if you didn9t understand 'ra!ity or fallin' or collisions with concrete or anythin' elseE ;ou wouldn9t7 ;ou9d Bust Bum" and take your chances7 To you8 the act would seem no more or less dan'erous than slee"in'7 Landin' safely would seem like an e!en>money 6et to you7 (ut as you 'ain e "erience and 'ather information8 you9re a6le to 6etter assess your chances7 In fact8 your 'oal in "oker and in life is to defeat the notion that a situation is e!en money and re"lace it with truer odds:which sometimes mi'ht actually turn out to 6e e!en money after all7 ;ou don9t necessarily do this 6y kee"in' actual odds or num6ers in your head8 Bust 6y usin' 'ood Bud'ment 6ased on the information a!aila6le7 In the lon' run8 the "erson who does that 6est succeeds most7 +e want you to succeed at "oker7 The information in this 6ook will hel" you monumentally when it comes to assessin' your chances8 makin' the ri'ht decisions8 choosin' the ri'ht 'ames8 and decidin' which 'am6les are 'ood for you7 TIP $ -'ain8 you9re "ro6a6ly 6ewildered8 6ecause the ti" seems too sim"le7 I9m 6ettin' you9re thinkin' somethin' like8 @O6!iously money you don9t lose is Bust as 'ood as money won8 6ecause you sa!ed it7 -nd sa!ed money can 6e s"ent7A Fine8 6ut then how come most "layers8 e!en most "rofessionals8 often "lay "oorly when they9re losin'E If you sometimes find yourself doin' that8 then you need to "ay close attention now7 Here9s the way I e "lain the conce"t at li!e seminars7 If you9re losin' C48$$I in a CI3#C133 limit 'ame8 it "ro6a6ly won9t feel much different to you if you lose C484$I instead7 E!en thou'h lo'ically you know that the difference is C1338 emotionally it doesn9t seem like C133 you can s"end7 +hen you lose C48$$I8 you9re thinkin' in terms of that money no lon'er 6ein' a!aila6le7 Same 'oes for losin' C484$I7 ;ou9re not thinkin' that you can s"end anythin'8 in either case7 (ut you canF
/4

If you lost Bust C48$$I8 you9d still ha!e C133 to s"end that you wouldn9t ha!e if you had lost C484$I7 O6!ious8 I know7 (ut the difference doesn9t feel like much in the heat of "oker com6at7 +hen you 6e'an "layin' for the day8 thou'h8 you would ha!e felt that you were ahead if you9d won C133: o6!iously7 That9s 6ecause it would 6e !ery clear to you that you ha!e C133 e tra to 6uy thin's with7 +ell8 the same is true if you "lay as well as you can when you9re runnin' 6ad and cut the loss 6y C133 throu'h su"erior "lay7 ;ou ha!e C133 to s"end8 e!en thou'h8 in our e am"le8 you lost o!er C483337 If you9re una6le to see it that way8 may6e this will hel"7 Su""ose you were ha!in' a really rotten year and had lost C$2383337 Now a 'enie "o"s out of a 6ottle7 *on9t snicker:this actually ha""ens to me re'ularly7 The 'enie says8 @+anda8A assumin' your name is +anda8 which it mi'ht not 6e8 @I can rewrite history and make you e!en for the year7A ;ou say8 @That9s 'reat8 'enieF Thank you so !ery muchFA @There9s Bust one thin' I need to know7A @I knew there was a catch8A you com"lain7 @<ust tell me8A the 'enie continues8 i'norin' your una""reciati!e remark8 @whether you want me to rewrite history 6y addin' a little to each of your wins8 so that they total C$238333 more8 or take a little from each of your losses8 so that they total C$238333 less7A Immediately you 6lurt8 @I don9t care8 'enie7 It doesn9t matter7 <ust do it7A -nd then you reco'ni%e the meanin' of your own words7 It really doesn9t matter8 6ecause sa!in' a little from each loss:e!en a 6i' loss:is Bust as im"ortant as addin' to a win7 It9s not almost the same money or theoretically the same money8 6ut e actly the same money7 -nd once you reali%e the truth of this8 you will always "lay "oker with the same amount of care8 whether you9re winnin' or losin'7 It always matters eJually7 TIP . In order to 6e successful at "oker8 you must understand this7 -lways make your decision a6out whether to call8 fold8 check8 or raise in accordance with how much money is in the "ot8 wei'hed a'ainst what it will cost you to wa'er7 That decision should 6e the same whether the "ot is "ro!ided as a "romotion 6y the casino or you somehow "ut the entire sum in yourself7
13

Once you "ut money in the "ot8 it9s u" for 'ra6s and is no lon'er yours8 any more than it is anyone else9s7 For that reason8 you should ne!er consider how much you "ersonally ha!e in!ested in a "ot in e!aluatin' a "oker decision7 The same conce"t 'o!erns your e!eryday life7 Let9s su""ose you fancy yourself a world>renowned collector of antiJue radiator ca"s8 as many of us dreamed of 6ein' when we were kids7 Two years a'o you were a6le to acJuire a radiator ca" si'ned 6y Edward <ones Miscellania8 a res"ected local automo6ile mechanic8 for C.3383337 Two years later8 an a""raisal "laces the true !alue at a disa""ointin' C1I83337 Then a fellow collector offers you C1I383337 Okay8 now you ha!e a choice7 ;ou can say8 @*on9t 6e ridiculousF I already ha!e C.338333 in!ested in this radiator ca"7A Or you can correctly reasonK +hat I "ersonally ha!e in!ested doesn9t matter7 The only thin' I should consider is whether the C1I38333 is a 'ood "rice for my radiator ca"7 If you o"t for the second choice and "ocket the C1I383338 you9!e learned a key secret in life and "okerK +hat you "ersonally ha!e in!ested ne!er matters7 TIP 2 ;ears a'o a re"orter asked me8 @+hat9s the main o6Becti!e in "oker:e ce"t8 of course8 winnin' "ots7A +ell8 I had to e "lain to him that winnin' "ots isn9t an o6Becti!e in "oker8 at all7 ;ou shouldn9t e!en care whether you win a "ot7 ;ou should only care a6out makin' the correct decisions7 Makin' Juality decisions is the only thin' you 'et "aid for in "oker7 In fact8 it9s easy to 6ecome the 'rand cham"ion of winnin' "ots7 -ll you need to do is call and raise your way toward the showdown e!ery chance you 'et7 If you don9t "ick u" the "ot early8 e!ery hand that could "ossi6ly ha!e 'otten lucky enou'h to win8 will win that final showdown7 Many of these will 6e hands with lon'>shot8 un"rofita6le chances that you stu66ornly continued to "lay a'ainst the odds7 If you9d thrown all of them away8 you would ha!e sa!ed a lot of money8 6ut you wouldn9t ha!e won any e tra "ots7 If you don9t throw any hands away8 you9re "ro6a6ly 'oin' to win more "ots than anyone else:ri'ht u" until you 'o 6roke7 So8 o6!iously8 the o6Bect in "oker isn9t to win "ots7 ;ou need to take that attitude to the "oker ta6le7 +hene!er you make the correct decision to fold a
11

hand8 you9!e made money7 Notice that I didn9t say that you sa!ed money7 That9s 6ecause:as you learned from the "re!ious ti":money made and money not wasted can 6e s"ent eJually well7 So8 there9s "rofit in throwin' hands away7 Of course8 makin' the ri'ht decisions can sometimes hel" you win a "ot8 es"ecially when you 6luff at a "rofita6le moment7 (ut it9s that decision you 'et "aid for8 not winnin' the "ot7 Stri!in' to make the ri'ht decisions:not to winnin' "ots:is so im"ortant that I do somethin' you9re 'oin' to consider weirdK I root for my o""onents to win "ots7 This kee"s me 'ood>natured in a "oker 'ame and makes my o""onents 6elie!e I 'enuinely care a6out them: 6ecause it9s true7 (y rootin' for an o""onent to win the "ot8 only two thin's can ha""enK =1? If the o""onent wins8 I9m ha""y7 =$? If the o""onent loses8 I 'et the "ot as a consolation "ri%e7 I9m always aware that the more times my o""onents 'o a'ainst the odds and win8 the "oorer they9re "layin'8 and the more money I9ll earn e!entually: es"ecially in limit 'ames8 where a!era'e "layers enter too many "ots7 This attitude and this success come from reali%in' that winnin' the "ot is not the o6Bect of "oker7 TIP I ;ou want to 6e in the most "rofita6le 'ames8 ri'htE +ell8 when you hear lau'hter8 it9s often an indication that "layers are there to enBoy "oker8 not to take it seriously7 On a!era'e8 friendly 'ames8 es"ecially those with lau'hter8 are the most easily 6eata6le7 )on!ersely8 silence is usually an indication that o""onents are "layin' way too seriously8 and your "ros"ects for makin' a "rofit are diminished7 +hen you ha!e a choice8 choose a ta6le where "layers are lau'hin'7 TIP / Ty"ical "oker tournaments continue until one "layer has all the chi"s8 and e!eryone else 'oes 6roke7 (ut if the stakes Bust stayed the same8 a tournament mi'ht last many years7 It would 6e !ery hard to eliminate "layers7 So8 in tournaments8 the stakes kee" 'ettin' lar'er and lar'er "eriodically8 until all
1$

6ut one "layer is 'one7 (ut8 you know whatE If you only ha!e a small 6ankroll8 you can make your own tournament any day7 (uy into a small 'ame and kee" mo!in' to a 6i''er limit e!ery hour until you either 'o 6roke or win at the CI8333#C138333 limit or lar'er7 ;ou see what I9m 'ettin' at8 ri'htE ;ou9re almost certain to 'o 6roke8 6ut you mi'ht 'et e tremely lucky and increase your 6ankroll hundreds of times7 Most likely8 you9re 'oin' to end u" misera6le7 ;ou9d 6e sur"rised how many otherwise skillful "layers fail at "oker8 sim"ly 6ecause they treat their 6ankrolls like tournament 6uy>ins7 Sure8 they don9t do it all in one day8 as in the e a''erated e am"le I "ro!ided7 (ut they kee" "romotin' themsel!es to hi'her and hi'her le!els that the si%e of their 6ankrolls can9t Bustify7 -lmost all of them 'o 6roke8 des"ite their skills7 Please don9t do that7 TIP 1 @+hat "ercenta'e of hands should I enter "ots withEA It9s a common Juestion7 @It de"ends on your ima'e and what you9re tryin' to accom"lish7A That9s my answer7 -s stran'e as it may seem to you8 one "rofessional can "lay twice as many hands as another and 6oth can earn the same amount of "rofit in the lon' run7 How comeE It9s 6ecause so many hands are mar'inal8 meanin' they will 6reak a6out e!en8 that you could "lay almost all of them or almost none of them and still earn the same7 Most of your "oker "rofit comes from relati!ely few Juality hands7 Still8 you need to consider the 'ood and the 6ad a6out "layin' a lot of mar'inal hands7 +hen you do8 you9re seen as an action "layer8 and you9re likely to make more money when you hold your 6est hands8 6ecause o""onents feel comforta6le "layin' a'ainst you7 That9s 'ood7 (ut8 6ecause o""onents don9t "ercei!e you as conser!ati!e8 it will 6e harder for you to 6luff "rofita6ly7 That9s 6ad7 -lso8 when you "lay most of your mar'inal hands8 the si%e of your 6ankroll 6ecomes more !olatile8 and that means you need more money to afford the same si%e 'ames7
1.

+hen I9!e esta6lished a friendly8 carefree ima'e8 which is what I usually stri!e for8 I 'enerally "lay most mar'inal hands7 In addition to fittin' my ima'e8 this strate'y 'i!es me o""ortunities to e tract "rofit from small ed'es later in hands when o""onents make mistakes7 These small>"rofit o""ortunities add u"8 and they wouldn9t 6e a!aila6le to me if I didn9t "lay those hands7 In 'eneral8 *oyle and almost all world>class "layers a'ree and "lay a lot of mar'inal hands7 (ut8 you need to kee" in mind that mar'inal hands are mar'inal for a reason :they a6out 6reak e!en7 -nd since there are so many hands in this cate'ory com"ared with so few hi'h>Juality hands8 it9s easy to see how one "rofessional "layer can contend for twice as many "ots as another and 6oth can e!entually end u" with a6out the same "rofit7 TIP 0 *on9t 6e too "roud of your success callin' 6ets in limit "oker 'ames7 5emem6er8 the "ot is always lar'er than the si%e of the 6et8 6ecause there will always 6e some money in the "ot when the 6et is made7 In limit 'ames8 the "ot is usually many times the si%e of the 6et7 Let9s say you9re heads>u" and your o""onent 6ets C233 into a C$8233 "ot on the last 6ettin' round7 )learly your call only needs to 6e successful once in a while8 not e!ery time7 S"ecifically8 there9s C$8033 out there to win =the C233 Bust 6et8 "lus the C$8233 that was already there?8 and it will cost you C233 to find out if your hand is 6est7 ;ou9re 'ettin' 1 to 1 odds =C$8033 to C233?7 That means if you win once in ei'ht times when you call in this circumstance8 you9ll 6reak e!en =se!en C233 losses8 totalin' C$80338 !ersus one C$8033 win?7 So8 this is a call you should make8 e!en if you estimate that you9re 'oin' to lose I out of / times7 That would cost C$8333 for the fi!e unsuccessful C233 calls and "ro!ide C$8033 for the one successful call:a net 'ain of C033 for si calls7 That9s a6out C1.. "rofit "er call8 on a!era'e7 So8 if you don9t make that call:6ecause you know you9re usually 'oin' to lose: you9re costin' yourself a lot of money7 Now8 sometimes you call 6ecause you9!e read your o""onent and are actin' in res"onse to a "owerful tell7 If you9re 'ood at readin' o""onents:and I9ll hel" you out with that in a few minutes:you will increase the "rofit you
12

make 6y callin'7 Otherwise8 most of your calls will 6e made on the 6asis of e!aluatin' the cards in relation to the si%e of the "ot7 ;ou see8 in those cases8 you9re usually not su""osed to win when you call7 (urn this into your 6rain once and for allK @I9m "ro6a6ly 'oin' to lose when I call8 6ut it9s a 'ood thin'FA ;ou could8 of course8 only call with your most>likely winnin' hands7 Then you9d a!era'e a lot of "rofit "er call7 (ut that would 6e !ery 6ad8 6ecause in order to a!era'e a lot of money callin'8 you must sacrifice 6y not makin' calls that are indi!idually less "rofita6le8 6ut hu'ely "rofita6le com6ined7 The truth is that you don9t want to a!era'e a lot of "rofit "er call8 and you shouldn9t 6e "roud of the fact8 if you do7 TIP 4 It makes no sense to stay in a "oker 'ame8 stru''lin' to 'et e!en8 unless you would normally continue to "lay that 'ame if you were ahead7 If you9re a "rofessional "layer8 then the more hours you s"end in 'ames8 under 'ood workin' conditions8 the more "rofit you9ll earn7 ;ou 'et "aid 6y the hour: "ure and sim"le7 Sometimes it mi'ht not seem that way8 6ecause the fluctuations in "oker are so 'reat that it9s hard to ima'ine yourself workin' for an hourly wa'e7 (ut that9s what9s ha""enin'7 E!entually8 the more hours you "lay under "rofita6le conditions8 the more your 6ankroll will 'row7 (ut8 you only ha!e so many hours to in!est in "oker8 and you need to in!est them wisely7 Find the 6est 'ames7 Make sure you9re "layin' when you9re in condition to do the 6est Bo67 ;ou need to wei'h e!erythin'7 For instance8 it9s not 'ood to "lay "oker when you9re tired7 (ut if the 'ame is !ery 'ood8 you mi'ht occasionally choose to continue "layin'8 e!en if you9re tired7 )on!ersely8 sometimes you mi'ht choose to 'o home early and rest8 e!en thou'h the 'ame is "rofita6le8 6ecause you think another 'ame will 6e more "rofita6le tomorrow7 So you need to make choices a6out which hours will 6e the most "rofita6le7 Okay8 6ut what you do not need to do is choose to "lay for hours on end in an attem"t to 'et e!en for the session7 +hether you win or lose today has nothin' whatsoe!er to do with your o!erall success7 It doesn9t matter when you Juit or when you "lay:as lon' as your decision is 6ased on how
1I

"rofita6le the ne t hour will 6e7 Think a6out thisK ;ou start e!ery "ot e!en7 ;our 6ankroll is always only as 6i' as when the "ot 6e'ins7 ;ou9re ne!er winnin' or losin' when the cards are dealt7 ;ou9re always e!en7 So it makes no sense to try to 'et e!en7 ;ou already are7 TIP 13 @I9!e won twenty>three days in a rowFA Peter was "roud as he told me this7 (ut he shouldn9t ha!e 6een7 Earlier durin' this win streak8 he9d 6ra''ed a6out ha!in' 6een 6uried one day for C18133 in the C13#C$3 hold9em 'ame he "layed as an as"irin' "rofessional7 @I stuck it out like a world>class "ro8A he9d 6ra''ed7 @-t a Juarter to fi!e in the mornin'8 I counted down my stack and I was C0 ahead7 I didn9t e!en 6other to "lay out my free hands until the ne t 6lind7 I Bust cashed out immediately7 That 'i!es me se!enteen wins in a rowFA Now8 you see the "ro6lem hereE Peter was manufacturin' his win streak7 It9s a "retty easy thin' to do7 ;ou Bust refuse to take a loss until it 'ets so 6i' that there9s hardly any ho"e of reco!ery7 If you 'et lucky and reco!er8 you cash out immediately with a small win7 If you start off winnin'8 you9re Juickly satisfied8 and you also settle for a small win7 The hallmark of a "layer who manufactures winnin' streaks is that his a!era'e wins are much smaller than his a!era'e losses7 ;es8 you tend to ha!e a lot of lon' winnin' streaks8 6ut at what costE (y tryin' to reco!er from a dee" loss8 you9re likely to find yourself "layin' in the worst conditions:when 'ames yield smaller "rofits8 on a!era'e7 -lthou'h there are e ce"tions8 always kee" in mind that 'ames where you9re losin' are likely to 6e made u" of stron'er o""onents7 These 'ames will therefore 6e less "rofita6le than 'ames where you9re winnin'8 which tend to consist of weaker o""onents7 -lso8 when you9re losin'8 many o""onents are aware of this and don9t see you as much of a threat7 Often they9re moti!ated 6y your 6ad run and "lay 6etter7 For these reasons8 you9ll "ro6a6ly 6e in a less "rofita6le situation if you stick around8 stru''lin' to 'et e!en7 5emem6er8 you9re 'ettin' "aid 6y the hour8 and here you are8 "uttin' in lots of e tra hours under "oor workin' conditions8 with "oor "ay7
1/

It9s also 6ad to Juit when you9re winnin'8 Bust to kee" your streak ali!e7 ;ou9ll !ery likely 6e desertin' a 'ood 'ame7 +hen you9re winnin'8 'ames are more "rofita6le on a!era'e than when you9re losin'7 -nd "layers you9re 6eatin' are more easily intimidated8 6ecause they9!e seen you winnin'8 fear you more8 and are less likely to "lay their 6est 'ame a'ainst you7 So8 when you lea!e a 'ame to enhance a winnin' streak8 you9re usually takin' off work under the 6est conditions8 where the hourly wa'es were hi'hest7 Put it all to'ether and you can see why a manufactured win streak isn9t a 'ood thin'7 It9s certainly nothin' you should 6e 6ra''in' a6out7 TIP 11 This 6rin's us to "oker9s stu"idest JuestionK @+hy didn9t you Juit when you were aheadEA S"ecifically8 "eo"le will ask this Juestion after you9!e lost a lot of your winnin's or unfortunately turned a win into a loss7 Often they know a""ro imately how much you were winnin' and will "hrase the Juestion similarly to what you see a6o!eK @+hy didn9t you Juit when you were C118333 aheadEA I9ll tell you why I didn9t Juit when I was C118333 aheadF I didn9t Juit8 6ecause I wanted to make more money7 I didn9t Juit8 6ecause when I9m winnin'8 'ame conditions tend to 6e 6est8 and since I 'et "aid 6y the hour8 I wanted to 'et in more hours under those conditions7 I didn9t Juit8 6ecause neither you nor I had any way of knowin' at the time whether the cards would 6e 'ood or 6ad from that "oint on7 Here9s the main reason that @+hy didn9t you Juit when you were C118333 aheadEA is the stu"idest Juestion in "okerK +hen you win CI383338 no6ody e!er asks it7 TIP 1$ Most serious "layers understand this ti"8 6ut few understand its full !alue7 Since the action mo!es clockwise around the ta6le in "oker8 "layers to your ri'ht usually act 6efore you7 I say usually8 not always8 6ecause if the "layer on your ri'ht is in the dealer "osition8 he9ll act last throu'hout the hand7 Or if he9s in one of the 6linds and you9re not8 he9ll act after you on the first 6ettin' round7 -lso8 in a stud 'ame8 the face>u" cards:not ta6le "osition:dictate who 'oes first8 6ut you still ha!e an o!erall "ositional ad!anta'e a'ainst stud
11

"layers to your ri'ht7 For the most "art8 you will act after "layers to your ri'ht8 and this means you9ll usually 'et to see what they do 6efore makin' your decision7 That9s called "ositional ad!anta'e7 In fact8 "ositional ad!anta'e is so hu'e in full>handed 'ames that most of the money you make in your "oker>"layin' career comes from the "layers one or two seats to your ri'ht8 and most of the money you lose 'oes to "layers one or two seats to your left7 TIP 1. (ecause most of your lifetime "rofit comes from "layers who act 6efore you do8 it9s im"ortant to choose a seat8 whene!er "ossi6le8 that "laces the correct ty"es of "layers to your ri'ht7 In other words8 you sit to the left of them7 +hen you ha!e a choice8 sit to the left of "layers who either "ose the 6i''est threat or who su""ly the most money7 In the 6i''est threat cate'ory are "layers who are so"histicated8 a''ressi!e8 and un"redicta6le7 ;ou can 'reatly diminish their effecti!eness 6y forcin' them to act first8 'i!in' you "ositional ad!anta'e o!er them7 If they were seated to your left8 they could use that ad!anta'e to "ummel you7 (ut e!en more im"ortant to your lon'>ran'e "rofit is sittin' to the left of loose o""onents8 "articularly non>a''ressi!e ones7 Loose 6ut non>a''ressi!e "layers su""ly most of the money you win8 6ecause they enter too many "ots and don9t always take full ad!anta'e of "rofita6le o""ortunities 6y 6ettin' or raisin' when they ha!e you 6eat7 They9re likely to lose8 and you9ll ha!e a 6etter shot at their money if they act first7 +hen you hold your most "rofita6le hands8 you9ll freJuently see them callin' a 6et with weak hands 6efore you raise7 Then8 when you do raise8 they9re tra""ed for more money7 If the situation were re!ersed and you acted 6efore them with an o""ortunity to raise another o""onent8 your raise would likely scare away those weak "layers to your left =alon' with their weak hands?7 The two ty"es of "layers you want to sit to the left of are almost o""osite in nature7 One ty"e is loose and timidD the other is selecti!e and a''ressi!e7 ;ou9ll often ha!e to choose 6etween ha!in' your 6i''est money su""lier or your 6i''est threat on your ri'ht7 (ut try to make sure one or the other is
10

there:and sometimes you9ll 6e fortunate enou'h to accom"lish 6oth when your loosest o""onent and8 also8 your most threatenin' one sit in the two seats to your ri'ht7 Now let9s talk a6out the seat on the other side of you7 +hat ty"e of "layer can you sit to the ri'ht of8 there6y surrenderin' your "ositional ad!anta'eE Here9s the secretK Ideally you should ha!e !ery conser!ati!e 6ut unima'inati!e "layers actin' after you7 These "layers don9t enter enou'h "ots to interfere with your strate'y !ery often and don9t "lay a''ressi!ely enou'h to e "loit their su"erior "osition8 e!en when they do 'et in!ol!ed7 ,i!en all these considerations8 my first "riority is usually to sit to the left of my loosest o""onents7 I want to act after them8 6ecause they9re the most likely to 6uild my 6ankroll7 TIP 12 I9ll admit I s"ent a lot of my ener'y in my youn'er days "layin' a'ainst the tou'hest o""onents7 This was !alua6le as a way to hone my skills8 6ut I o!erdid it7 -lthou'h8 I "layed "rofessionally for fourteen years8 I think I would ha!e made e!en more money had I concentrated more on findin' weaker 'ames8 rather than 'ainin' res"ect 6y 6eatin' world>class o""onents7 TIP 1I The full name of M)L is Mike )aro Lni!ersity of Poker8 ,amin'8 and Life Strate'y7 I take the life strate'y "art of that seriously8 and in my teachin's there are many o!erla""in' themes 6etween "oker and e!eryday endea!ors7 Few conce"ts ha!e resonated with students more than )aro9s Threshold of Misery7 I continually recei!e letters8 e>mails8 and face to face thanks from 6oth "oker "layers and "eo"le in the @real world8A tellin' me how much this sim"le truth has meant to them7 Here9s how it 'oesK Su""ose you9re a small> to medium>limit "layer8 and you can en!ision yourself comforta6ly losin' a ma imum of C18I33 today7 I9m not su''estin' that you9ll 6e ha""y a6out losin' that much8 Bust that you can comforta6ly handle it and that anythin' more will 6e'in to feel uncomforta6le7 Okay8 now you find yourself down CI338 then C181338 then:6efore it
14

re'isters:you9!e %oomed "ast C18I33 and are losin' C180337 ;ou9!e entered dan'erous territory7 -nd it 'ets worse7 -nd worse7 Hours later8 you find yourself losin' C28I.37 Now8 your mind is num67 I 6elie!e that most "eo"le at this "oint can9t mentally com"rehend added losses7 It all feels the same7 ;ou9!e crossed )aro9s Threshold of Misery8 which is the "oint at which mental and emotional "ain is ma imi%ed and anythin' further won9t re'ister7 ;ou must 6e aware when you cross the threshold8 6ecause 6eyond it decisions don9t seem to matter7 This is true in real life8 too7 +hen romances unra!el or 6usinesses fail8 you mi'ht cross the Threshold of Misery and sto" carin' a6out makin' critical decisions re'ardin' other thin's7 That9s 6ecause the "ain is already ma imi%ed and anythin' else that 'oes wron' can9t add to the a'ony7 Listen closely7 -t these times8 in "oker and in life8 the secret is to kee" "erformin' as if you care7 5emem6er that8 althou'h you can9t emotionally feel the im"ortance of makin' Juality decisions at the moment8 there will come a time when you will feel that im"ortance and 6e 'rateful for the 'ood decisions that you make now7 ;es8 you9!e crossed the threshold and decisions don9t seem to matter7 They do still matter8 and anythin' that su''ests otherwise at this moment is an illusion7 Strate'y and Tactics TIP 1/ E!en some "rofessional "layers make the mistake of 6ettin' a''ressi!ely after dece"ti!e "layers check7 They9d earn much more money if they didn9t ha!e this 6ad ha6it7 Throu'hout your "oker "layin' years8 always think a6out the "layer you9re a6out to 6et into 6efore firin' away with a medium>stron' hand7 If it9s a tricky "layer8 you should 6e much less moti!ated to 6et8 6ecause he won9t Bust fall in line and call meekly7 He will sur"rise you occasionally 6y raisin' as a 6luff8 sometimes 'ettin' you to throw away the 6est hand7 -nd he will also tend to 'et ma imum !alue out of his stron' hands 6y raisin' darin'ly8 costin' you an e tra 6et whene!er you call and lose the showdown7 ;ou should tend to 6et much more often when the check comes from meek and non>dece"ti!e foes7 So8 you should not 6et as
03

freJuently or as willin'ly after a dece"ti!e o""onent checks7 Make that a "art of your "ermanent 'ame "lan7 TIP 11 This is another M)L ma im that some "rofessionals too often i'nore8 costin' them e tra "rofit for their whole careers7 +hen a freJuent 6luffer waits to act after you8 there can 6e considera6le !alue in lettin' him make his "rimary mistake:6luffin' too often7 -'ainst this ty"e of "layer8 a medium>stron' hand will often earn more in the lon' run as a 6luff catcher than a hand you would 6et a''ressi!ely for e tra !alue7 TIP 10 One of the reasons 6luffs are successful is that they often 6eat other eJually weak hands7 Had you checked8 you would ha!e won some showdowns 6etween 'ar6a'e hands7 -nd you would ha!e lost some7 (y 6ettin'8 you ensure a win under those circumstances8 and that adds su6stantially to the !alue of the 6luff7 (ut when a freJuent 6luffer checks8 it9s much less likely that you can win 6y chasin' away an almost eJually weak hand that mi'ht ha!e sJueaked throu'h in a showdown7 So that factor won9t work in your fa!or7 -dditionally8 freJuent 6luffers check a dis"ro"ortionate num6er of hands that they intend to call with7 That makes a 6luff e!en riskier7 I won9t tell you to ne!er 6luff when a freJuent 6luffer checks8 6ut you wouldn9t cost yourself much 6y ado"tin' that "olicy7 ;ou need to 6e !ery certain you9re on solid 'round7 Otherwise8 don9t 6luff7 TIP 14 - !alue 6et is sim"ly an a''ressi!e wa'er that tar'ets e!ery last dollar of "otential "rofit7 +hene!er you !alue 6et8 the decision is close enou'h that you could easily ha!e checked8 instead8 without so"histicated o""onents thinkin' you did anythin' stran'e7 The "ro6lem with !alue 6ettin' is that many "layers do it as a matter of "olicy8 without reali%in' that there are times you should and times you shouldn9t7 (y !alue 6ettin' without a""lyin' the correct 'uidelines8 these
01

"layers turn a tactic that should add 'reatly to their "rofit into one that may do little more than 6reak e!en7 I don9t want that to ha""en to you7 So here are two lists tellin' you whether to !alue 6et or to checkK Four )onditions That Fa!or a Nalue (etK 17 ;ou9!e Esta6lished a *ominant and Ln"redicta6le Ima'e This intimidates your o""onents8 makin' them more likely to call with weaker hands out of confusion7 $7 ;ou9re +innin' This also intimidates your o""onents8 makin' them less likely to raise a''ressi!ely8 which will cost you e tra money when their hands are somewhat 6etter than yours7 .7 ;our O""onent Is Timid O""onents who are8 6y nature8 timid8 are unlikely to "ress a su"erior hand for ma imum !alue or steal the "ot with an une "ected 6luff>raise7 27 ;our O""onent Tends to )all More Often Than the -!era'e Player That9s e actly what you9re seekin' from your !alue 6ets:lots of calls with weaker hands7 Four )onditions That Fa!or a )heckK 17 ;ou9!e Failed to Esta6lish a *ominant and Ln"redicta6le Ima'e This usually means your o""onent is not intimidated and less likely to call out of confusion7 $7 ;ou9re Losin' ;our o""onents8 aware that you9re losin'8 often 'ain the coura'e to 'et ma imum !alue 6y raisin' with hands that may 6e sli'htly 6etter than yours8 costin' you e tra 6ets7 .7 ;our O""onents Ha!e a Tendency to 5aise Li6erally This means that due to their nature8 they 'et ma imum !alue from hands that are sli'htly 6etter than yours7
0$

27 ;our O""onent Plays Ti'ht Ti'ht "layers are unlikely to call li6erally with weaker hands than yours8 takin' the !alue out of your 6et7 These lists don9t co!er e!ery concei!a6le thin' you mi'ht consider7 (ut they do include the thin's I consider first when decidin' whether or not to !alue 6et7 If you do that8 too8 you9ll make a lot of e tra money7 Nalue 6ettin' Bust for its own sake doesn9t make much money7 Nalue 6ettin' for the ri'ht reason does7 TIP $3 +hene!er you hold an un6eata6le hand:or one close to it:you mi'ht consider checkin' and then raisin' if an o""onent 6ets8 also known as sand6a''in'7 (ut when two or more o""onents are in!ol!ed in the "ot with you8 there9s an im"ortant factor you9ll need to consider 6efore decidin' whether to 6et or to sand6a'7 Here it isK ;ou should sand6a' your stron'est hands when the "layer immediately to your left is the one most likely to make the first 6et8 and usually not otherwise7 +hy is thatE (ecause 6y sand6a''in' with a "owerful hand8 you9re tryin' to win more money7 ;ou9re declinin' to 6et8 riskin' direct money throu'h calls8 in the ho"es that someone else will do your 6ettin' for you8 and then you can raise and win e tra7 +ell8 su""ose there are three "layers in the "ot7 If you check8 the "layer to your left checks8 and the other o""onent checks8 you win nothin'7 ;ou 'am6led that someone else would 6et8 and you lost that 'am6le7 If you check8 the "layer to your left checks8 and the other o""onent 6ets8 that9s not so 'ood8 either7 ;ou 'et to raise8 6ut your seatin' "osition relati!e to your o""onent9s 'reatly reduces the effecti!eness7 ;our raise will make it !ery difficult for the "layer to your left to Bustify callin' with anythin' 6ut a nearly un6eata6le hand7 ;ou9ll almost certainly chase that "layer away7 ;ou mi'ht 'et the 6ettor to your ri'ht to call your raise8 6ut you mi'ht not7 +hat you9d really like to see ha""en after you check is a 6et from the "layer to your left7 Then8 if all 'oes well8 the other o""onent will call8 and then you can raise and ho"e they 6oth call the raise7 This call and o!ercall often ha""ens in a limit 'ame8 6ecause the "ot is so lar'e8 relati!e to the cost of the
0.

call7 That 'reat outcome8 where you win four 6ets:two from each o""onent:is only likely to ha""en if the o""onent to your left is the most likely 6ettor7 So8 6ecause sand6a''in' a hu'e hand is often only mar'inally su"erior to 6ettin'8 usually you should try it only when the "layer to your left is the one you think will 6et7 This ha""ens a lot in hold9em when the "layer to your left 'ot the last raise in 6efore the flo" and many "layers are still contestin' the "ot7 Now8 if the flo" hits you "erfectly and mi'ht 6e satisfactory to the "layer to your left8 you often should check7 If that first>round a''ressor a'ain 6ets8 you mi'ht see a lot of other callers 6efore the action returns for your raise7 ;ou should also consider the "layin' styles of the "layers you9re checkin' into7 In "articular8 you should 6e more willin' to sand6a' your stron'est hands when the "layer to your left is a li6eral 6ettor7 +hen you9re first to act8 ha!e a 6i' hand8 and are considerin' a sand6a' a'ainst two or more o""onents8 ask yourself who9s most likely to 6et7 Left is ri'ht7 5i'ht is wron'7 TIP $1 Lots of money is lost in "ots with at least three "layers when one of them raises from a middle seat on the last round of 6ettin'7 Lower le!el "rofessionals Juite often make the mistake of raisin' with fairly stron'8 6ut not in!inci6le8 hands7 ;ou seldom want to raise with this secondary stren'th7 (y @secondary8A I mean that the hand is !ery "owerful8 6ut falls short of "rimary stren'th8 which consists of hands that cannot 6e 6eat or8 at least8 are !ery nearly in!inci6le7 -''ressi!e "layers that are accustomed to dominatin' the 'ame 6y 'ettin' ma imum !alue throu'h 6ettin'8 ty"ically raise much too li6erally in this situation7 The mistake costs them dearly8 6ut they "ro6a6ly don9t e!en reali%e it7 The "ro6lem with this middle raise is that hands with secondary stren'th usually make more money if you 'i!e a third "layer the chance to o!ercall7 raise will likely chase away that money and8 if the first "layer is 6luffin' or has a hand too weak to call8 that raise 'ains you nothin'7 (y not raisin'8 you
02

also "rotect yourself a'ainst losin' more money with a second>6est hand when you collide with the "erfect hand7 The solutionK Seldom raise in the middle "osition on the last 6ettin' round7 ;ou can make an e ce"tion and raise ifK =1? ;ou ha!e a weak hand and you think you9re 6ein' 6luffedD or =$? ;our hand is e tremely stron'7 In the first case8 you raise to eliminate the "layer waitin' to act 6ehind you8 so you can 6eat the "ossi6le 6luff7 In the second case8 you raise strictly 6ecause your hand is stron' enou'h to withstand a reraise from anyone and you9ll 6eat the "layer 6ehind you8 if he calls a raise7 E!en in the second case8 you mi'ht choose to Bust call7 So seldom raise7 TIP $$ +hile most to" "rofessionals understand this8 some don9t7 -nd the maBority of second>tier "rofessionals8 alon' with most serious amateurs8 don9t seem to understand it at all8 6ased on the way they "lay in this situation7 I9ll try to e "lain it as sim"ly as I can8 6ut you9ll need to work with me a little7 The mistake ha""ens mostly in limit 'ames7 Ima'ine thisK ;ou9re "layin' C$33#C233 hold9em7 Three of you ha!e sur!i!ed to see the ri!er card and here comes the final round of 6ettin'7 ;ou9ll 6e last to act8 and you9re holdin' -R <R with a 6oard of <S 2R HR 4T QT7 The "ot is C.8133 and the first "layer 6ets8 makin' it 'row to C.8I337 ;ou e amine the situation and estimate that you ha!e rou'hly 1 chance in / of 6eatin' this 6ettor in a showdown7 -s you know8 1 chance in / means that the odds are I to 1 a'ainst you7 That means8 in order to 6reak e!en on the call8 the "ot would need to 6e at least fi!e times as lar'e as your C233 call7 +ell8 the "ot in this case is already C.8I33:much lar'er than the C$8333 needed to Bustify a call:so o6!iously you9re su""osed to call7 In fact8 if you made si calls and won once8 you9d lose C233 fi!e times8 for a total of C$83338 and win C.8I33 once:an o!erall 'ain of C18I338 or C$I3 "er call7 (ut8 waitF There9s another "layer in!ol!ed in this "ot7 Her name is (eth and
0I

you9!e "layed "oker with her many times 6efore7 She 'ets to act 6efore you do7 (eth calls the 6ettor8 and you estimate her chances of ha!in' a 6etter hand than his to 6e Bust a6out the same as yours7 Now whatE Now you need to consider what your chances are of 6eatin' 6oth the 6ettor and (eth7 The mistake "layers make here is that they tend to o!ercall with the same hands: or only sli'htly stron'er ones:than they would ha!e called with had (eth folded7 That9s wron'F ;ou need a si'nificantly stron'er hand to o!ercall than you need to call7 Here9s whyK 5emem6er8 you feel that you ha!e an eJually 'ood chance of 6eatin' the 6ettor as (eth does7 Mentally8 here9s where most "layers:e!en !ery e "erienced ones:'o off course with their lo'ic7 They think8 @If she can call8 then so can I8 6ecause I ha!e Bust as 'ood a chance as she does and now the "ot is e!en 6i''er7A -nd they9re "artially ri'htK The "ot is e!en 6i''er nowD it was C.8I338 and now8 with (eth9s C233 call8 it9s C.84337 So8 should you o!ercallE NoF If your estimates are correct8 and we9re assumin' they are8 then you still ha!e 1 chance in / of 6eatin' the ori'inal 6ettor in a showdown7 (ut8 if you succeed there8 you still must 6eat (eth8 and you9!e estimated that you ha!e an e!en money shot of doin' that7 So8 if a !ery similar hand were "layed o!er and o!er throu'h eternity8 for e!ery two times you 6eat the 6ettor =and that would only ha""en 1 out of /8 or $ out of 1$ attem"ts?8 you9d also need to 6eat (eth =and that would only ha""en half the time?7 So8 (eth9s "resence takes away half your chances of winnin' the "ot8 makin' your real chances only 1 in 1$8 instead of $ in 1$7 How does that translate in terms of money chancesE How 6i' would the "ot need to 6e to callE If you followed the earlier lo'ic8 analy%in' the odds 6efore (eth9s call8 you know that at 1 chance in / 8 you needed a "ot fi!e times as lar'e as the call to 6reak e!en7 Now8 at 1 chance in 1$8 the odds are 11 to 1 a'ainst you8 and you need a "ot ele!en times the si%e of the C233 call to 6reak e!en7 So8 in order to Bustify this o!ercall8 the "ot needs to 6e at least C28233 lar'e7 It isn9t7 It9s only C.84337 Lsin' the same formula as 6efore8 we see that we9re 'oin' to lose C28233 on those ele!en failed calls8 and win C.8433 once7 That lea!es us CI33 short of 6reakin' e!en o!er twel!e tries8 so the a!era'e cost is Bust less than C2$7
0/

*o you see what ha""ened hereE It was worth C$I38 on a!era'e8 e!ery time you called Bust the 6ettor8 6ut costs you C2$ e!ery time you o!ercall after (eth7 I know this was a tou'h lesson8 6ut it9s somethin' you need to know7 Thanks for indul'in' me7 Let9s mo!e onM TIP $. ;ou9!e heard a lot a6out thinnin' the field7 The term refers to eliminatin' some of the "layers that are in com"etition for the "ot7 Thinnin' the field is sometimes an im"ortant wea"on7 Indeed8 there are hands that can 6e "layed more "rofita6ly a'ainst one or two o""onents than a'ainst a whole herd of them7 I9m on record as not 6ein' a fan of thin>the>field strate'y8 6ecause I 6elie!e that "layers usually attem"t it at times when they would make more money 6y allowin' e tra o""onents in7 The really 6i' issue I ha!e with this strate'y is that8 if you succeed in thinnin' the field8 you !ery likely ha!e chased away the weakest hands8 which mi'ht ha!e "ro!ided "rofit to you had they stayed in the "ot7 Instead8 you9!e left yourself stranded a'ainst only the stron'er hands that you wanted to chase from the "ot8 6ut didn9t7 Okay8 now that I9!e shared my innermost thou'hts a6out thinnin' the field8 here9s when to try it and when not to try it7 The most ad!anta'eous time to thin the field is when weak "layers are already committed to the "ot and stron' "layers are waitin' to act 6ehind you7 If you raise8 you9re likely to chase stron' "layers out and "lay a'ainst weak o""onents and weak hands7 The worst time to use this strate'y is when stron' "layers are committed to the "ot and weak "layers remain to act 6ehind you7 If you raise8 you9re likely to chase weak "layers out and "lay a'ainst Bust the stron' "layers with stron' hands7 Ne t time you attem"t to thin the field8 don9t Bust think a6out the num6er of o""onents you9d like to thin8 think a6out which "layers you9re 'oin' to thin7 TELLS -N* PS;)HOLO,; TIP $2
01

;ou want weak "layers in your 'ame7 Lsually8 they9re "layin' recreationally8 not seriously7 They9re a"t to "lay hands for the sheer fun of it7 They may e!en enBoy 'oin' u" a'ainst the odds7 +hen you insult them for their @6adA "lays8 you9re makin' them uncomforta6le and moti!atin' them to "lay 6etter in the future7 *on9t do that7 )oncludin' his se!en>card stud hi'h>low cha"ter8 Todd (runson 'i!es further insi'ht a6out the disastrous mistake some "rofessionals make 6y rudely critici%in' weak o""onents7 I feel so stron'ly a6out this that I often 'i!e encoura'ement to "layers who 'o u" a'ainst hea!y odds to win a "ot from me7 I9ll say8 @+owF Most "eo"le don9t e!en "lay 2>. offsuit8 and usually I don9t8 either7 (ut I won with it three times yesterday7 May6e you and I are on to somethin'FA *o you understand why I say thatE I9m makin' the weak "layer feel 'ood a6out 'ettin' lucky7 I9m "ractically makin' him into a hero7 -t the same time8 I9m tellin' him that I @usuallyA don9t "lay that hand8 makin' me sound sincere and 6elie!a6le7 =-t a "oker ta6le8 it9s "erfectly "ermissi6le to lie a6out your hands and a6out the way you "lay them7 In fact8 it9s "art of the "sycholo'y of winnin'7 -nd once in a while8 you should throw in the truth8 Bust to kee" o""onents off 6alance7? (ut8 I9m sayin' more7 I9m claimin' that I "layed the same hand successfully8 e!en thou'h I su''est that I know 6etter7 This 'i!es him @"ermissionA to "lay 6adly a'ain in the future7 If I do it8 so can he7 It will 6e fun for him to try to succeed a'ain and 6e rewarded with more "raise7 +hen "layers make him feel 6adly a6out weak "lays8 they9re "roddin' him to "lay 6etter7 That9s e actly the o""osite of what they should want7 -nd it isn9t fair to other com"etitors to make their money su""liers uncomforta6le a6out su""lyin' money7

TIP $I +hile I often "raise weak o""onents for 6ad "lays8 I ne!er "raise them for 'ood "lays7 That would make them "roud of @"leasin' me7A They mi'ht decide to take the 'ame seriously:and wouldn9t that 6e a disasterE
00

TIP $/ I9!e seen e!en some of the 6est "layers in the world !iolate the ad!ice shown a6o!e7 Ne!er for'et that recreational "layers su""ly most of your "rofit7 They came for the fun of "oker8 not to analy%e it to death or to take it seriously7 +hen you sit at the ta6le discussin' the finer "oints of "oker strate'y8 you9re alertin' the "layers who su""ly your "rofit that they mi'ht 6e com"etin' a6o!e their lea'ue7 ;ou9re makin' them uncomforta6le8 and it9s Juite "ossi6le that they9ll either decide to sit in your 'ames less often or to "lay 6etter7 ;ou don9t want either of those thin's to ha""en7 I often hear so"histicated "layers de6atin' the technical merits of how a hand was Bust "layed in the "resence of weak o""onents7 Serious discussions of strate'y can alert these recreational "layers to the notion that there is strate'y7 ;ou don9t want to do that7 -nd8 e!en more "eculiar to me8 the de6ates are usually o!er somethin' as inconseJuential as whether a call or a raise in a 6orderline situation was the 6etter choice7 These way>too>technical ar'uments can ne!er really 6e resol!ed =e ce"t8 "ossi6ly8 6y me?8 6ecause there are too many side factors in!ol!ed8 such as how o""onents were likely to res"ond emotionally at the moment and what the 6ettor9s ima'e was7 The truth is8 the discussion is often a6out which choice is .1U 6etter8 when Bust 6y talkin' a6out it in front of a recreational "layer8 the de6aters "otentially are costin' themsel!es thousands of dollars7 Let me "ut in 'ently8 without insultin' some of my "oker>"layin' friends who9!e made this mistakeK The economic ad!isa6ility of discussin' ad!anced strate'y at a "oker ta6le "o"ulated with weak o""onents is here6y 6rou'ht into Juestion7 TIP $1 Now I9m 'oin' to tell you a story7 I9!e told it many times8 6ut I think it illustrates this "oint so well that I9!e chosen to immortali%e it 6y includin' it in Su"er#System $7 I9m not sure what year it was:140I8 I think7 +ell8 actually8 it was 6oth 140I and 140/8 6ecause this ha""ened on New ;ear9s E!e and shortly thereafter7 Okay8 I9m "layin' "oker at the (icycle )asino near Los -n'eles8 not 6ecause
04

I9m a "oker Bunkie8 6ut 6ecause my wife Phyllis )aro is in char'e of the dealers and is workin' that ni'ht7 -nyway8 as the hour a""roaches midni'ht8 'ames start to 6reak as "layers head home to their families7 Pretty soon there are sadly no 'ames with much si%e to them7 *on9t you hate it when "layers 'et their "riorities confusedE So I settle for killin' some time "layin' a tiny no>limit 'ame with C1 and C$ 6linds7 -s you9re "ro6a6ly aware8 no>limit isn9t a6out the si%e of a "oker 'ameD no>limit is a method of 6ettin' in a "oker 'ame7 Since the forced>6lind 6ets are the initial tar'ets8 all wa'erin' should 6e in "ro"ortion to the si%e of those 6linds7 Theoretically8 no>limit 'ames with C133 and C$33 6linds should result in "ots that are8 on a!era'e8 133 times as lar'e as the "ots in the 'ame where I now sit8 with "altry C1 and C$ 6linds7 -ctually8 I could ha!e sat in that 'ame for that hour 6efore midni'ht8 seen a6out twenty deals8 folded e!ery hand8 and it would ha!e only cost me C/ in 6linds7 That9s how small the 'ame should ha!e 6een7 Notice that I said8 @should ha!e 6een7A ;ou see8 somethin' stran'e was ha""enin'7 I9m sure the a!era'e "ot was o!er C1338 and many "ots were thousands of dollars lar'e7 I was suddenly winnin' a 'reat deal of money in a 'ame I hadn9t e!en considered to 6e a "rofit>makin' o""ortunity7 I mean8 here was the loosest8 wildest 'ame of "oker I9d e!er seen in my lifeF Midni'ht a""roaches7 The (icycle )asino staff "asses out those annoyin' noise makers and 'oofy hats7 They also 'i!e away streamers you9re su""osed to throw in the air to show how thrilled you are that time mo!ed forward smoothly to the ne t year8 Bust as most scientists "redicted it would7 I know I sound 'rum"y8 6ut lucrati!e "oker 'ames should not 6e interru"ted for this sort of silliness7 It 'ets to 6e a cou"le minutes to the hour7 That hour7 - second>6y>second countdown 6e'ins7 E!eryone has left the ta6le8 'ettin' ready to kiss their 'irlfriends8 6oyfriends8 or s"ouses7 Me too7 I fi'ure8 @+hy notEA No6ody9s sittin' at the stu"id ta6le anyway7 So e!eryone smooches and hu's and "roduces stran'e8 loud 6ellows that sometimes sound more an'uished than Boyful7 I kiss Phyllis8 6ut make no loud noises whatsoe!er7 Streamers snake throu'h the air and sully the car"et7 More o6no ious sounds are comin' from
43

e!erywhere8 courtesy of the (icycle )asino9s free noise makers7 It 'oes on for a cou"le of minutes and e!eryone returns to the "oker ta6le7 Let me tell you8 this is now the ti'htest "oker 'ame in the history of our "lanet7 No6ody9s 'am6lin'F ;ou know why8 ri'htE New ;ear9s resolutions7 E!eryone has decided to "lay 'ood this year8 and:knowin' "oker "layers as I do:this resol!e mi'ht last for twenty minutes7 So8 I cash out my winnin's and hurry home7 +hat9s the "oint of this storyE The "oint is that your o""onents resol!e to "lay well from time to time8 not Bust on New ;ear9s E!e7 -nd you need to 6e "re"ared for it7 Ty"ically8 "layers will resol!e to "lay 6etter when they Bust sit down for the ni'ht7 They9re "ro6a6ly thinkin'K @This is the day I9m finally 'oin' to stay disci"lined and "lay 'ood7A -nd like I said8 their resol!e can last u" to twenty minutes8 6ut ne!er any lon'er7 *urin' this 6rief window of o""ortunity8 you can 6luff successfully a'ainst them7 -nd they won9t 6e "layin' weak hands7 The same holds true for "layers who were 6uried in a 'ame and "layed recklessly with the faint ho"e of 'ettin' e!en7 If they miraculously do 'et e!en8 e "ect their style of "lay to ti'hten7 -'ain8 you can 6luff them8 and they won9t 6e "layin' fri!olous hands7 So8 adBust your strate'y accordin'ly7 TIP $0 +hen "layers com"lain a6out 6ad luck8 they9re seekin' sym"athy7 They9re feedin' off their own misery8 and they want to show you the hands they lose with to "ro!e their "oint7 It9s rare that "layers who are com"lainin' in this way will try to 6luff7 More often they9ll sim"ly show you that they missed and8 "erha"s8 say8 @See what I mean7A So8 when they 6et8 it9s !ery unlikely that they9re 6luffin'8 and it9s usually safe to fold medium hands you mi'ht otherwise call with7 TIP $4 +hat ha""ens when you com"lain a6out 6ad 6eatsE *o your o""onents 'row sym"athetic and teary eyedE No7 They mi'ht fei'n sym"athy8 6ut actually they9re thinkin'8 @HeyF There9s someone more unlucky than I amF There9s
41

some6ody I can 6eatFA -nd they 6ecome ins"ired and "lay 6etter a'ainst you7 There "ro6a6ly aren9t any "oker "layers who ha!en9t sometimes felt as if they were settin' the world record for 6ad 6eats7 That9s 6ecause it9s lonely at the ta6le8 and when your luck turns terri6le8 you9re the only one that9s "ayin' full attention to it7 The most you 'et from anyone else is !a'ue awareness and an occasional half>hearted8 @+owF (ad 6eatFA -nd that9s it7 It 'ets so 6ad sometimes that you wish you could show a !ideo of what ha""ened to you8 so e!eryone could ooh and ahh a6out what you went throu'h7 @+ant "roofE ;9all meet me o!er at my house8 we9ll ha!e a 6ar6eJue8 and then we9ll all sit around and watch tele!ised e!idence of how 6adly I9!e 6een sufferin' at "oker7A For'et a6out itF E ce"t for 6ein' ins"ired 6y your sadness8 no6ody cares7 Hee" your 6ad luck to yourself7 Now8 the last thin' I want is for su"erstitious o""onents to 'et ins"ired 6ecause I9m runnin' "oorly7 So8 I don9t 6roadcast my 6ad 6eats7 I deny them7 -nd I make a deal with my students7 I e "lain8 @+hen you tell me a 6ad 6eat story8 I don9t really listen7 I nod sadly and "retend to care8 6ut actually I9m usin' the time to think a6out more im"ortant thin's7 That way8 you feel the sym"athy you9re seekin'8 and I "ut my time to 'ood use7 It works for 6oth of us7A I e!en deny that I9m ha!in' a 6ad run8 if someone mentions it at the ta6le7 I9ll often say somethin' like8 @That was a "retty stran'e 6eat8 6ut actually I9!e 6een !ery lucky lately7A +hile I9m not su"erstitious and don9t allow my students to 6e8 many o""onents are7 They think luck runs in streaks7 (ut8 as I9!e 6een "ointin' out for twenty>fi!e years8 a streak is Bust somethin' you see in the rear!iew mirror7 It mi'ht continue and it mi'ht not8 6ut you9re 'au'in' the len'th of a streak on the 6asis of what9s already ha""ened8 what9s 6ehind you in the mirror7 ;ou see8 the latest la6 research su''ests that cards lack the "hysical stren'th to re"osition themsel!es7 So8 e!en if they were determined in their tiny 6rains to make your life misera6le8 their muscles are too weak to follow throu'h7 TIP .3

4$

;our o""onents didn9t come to the card room ho"in' to throw hands away7 They ha!e a 6ias toward callin'7 -nd most of them are lookin' for reasons to call8 e!en if they ha!e to in!ent those reasons7 That9s why you9re more likely to 6e called if you9re sli'htly animated7 O""onents mi'ht unconsciously 6e aware that you twitched or si""ed your coffee7 They9re instincti!ely thinkin'8 @That9s stran'eD may6e that means he9s 6luffin'7A They9re a little 6it like snakes8 "redis"osed to strike at the sli'htest mo!e7 E ce"t they9re "oker o""onents8 "redis"osed to call for the sli'htest reason7 I9!e 'i!en this uni!ersal "oker condition a nameK The )allin' 5efle 7 -nd it9s easy to take ad!anta'e of it7 In fact8 here9s one hu'e ti"K +hen you hold a stron' hand and you know your o""onent is a6out to fold8 do anythin'F It9s a freeroll8 6ecause you9re already a6out to lose the call8 and if you can chan'e an o""onent9s mind at the last moment8 you9ll win a whole 6et you would ha!e lost 6y Bust sittin' there7 It9s "ure "rofit7 So8 always kee" in mind that your o""onents ha!e callin' refle es7 -s they 6e'in to fold:assumin' you want to 6e called:Bitter8 shift your wei'ht in your chair8 knock o!er some chi"s8 Bust do somethin' new7 Once in a while8 you9ll 'et your o""onent9s attention8 he9ll 'et sus"icious8 reconsider8 and call7 ;ou won9t usually 6e a6le to tri''er that callin' refle at the last moment8 6ut you will sometimes7 It9s like makin' a snake strike7 -nd it doesn9t cost anythin' to tryF TIP .1 I9!e written a whole 6ook a6out the 6ody lan'ua'e of "oker:a6out your o""onents9 mannerisms that su''est whether they9re holdin' stron' or weak hands and whether they9re 6luffin' or not7 These mannerisms are called @tellsA in "oker8 6ecause they often tell you somethin' a6out your o""onents9 secret cards7 The main thrust of the 6ook is that o""onents are either actin' or they aren9t7 If they9re actin'8 you should usually determine what they9re tryin' to con!ince you to do and disa""oint them7 If they9re e hi6itin' what I term @in!oluntary tells8A they9re not actin'8 and if the tell is stron' enou'h8 you should react directly in accordance with what it im"lies7 (e aware that the most e "erienced "layers in the 6i''est 'ames e hi6it tells less
4.

freJuently7 -nd when they do8 the tell is likely to 6e a more su6tle !ariation of the one you9ll see when confrontin' weak and a!era'e o""onents7 One of the core "rinci"les 'o!ernin' acted tells is that a "layer lookin' away is always more dan'erous than a "layer starin' at you7 - "layer starin' away from the a""roachin' action8 as you see here8 is "retendin' to 6e uninterested in the "ot7 -ctually8 he has a stron' hand and is "re"arin' to 'et in!ol!ed7 He9ll "ro6a6ly raise if you9re silly enou'h to 6et a !ulnera6le hand into him7 If you see a "layer starin' away like this when it9s your turn to act8 6ewareF TIP .$ Here9s one of the most misunderstood and most "rofita6le tells in "oker7 It9s not acted7 It9s a natural reaction that your o""onents can9t control7 ;ou9ll occasionally see this e!en amon' a few to" "layers in the 6i''est limits:and when you do8 you can sa!e a lot of money 6y foldin'7 I9m talkin' a6out a suddenly shakin' hand7 Please "ay attention to what I Bust said:a @suddenlyA shakin' hand7 If your o""onent9s hands tend to 6e unsteady most of the time8 this tell won9t hel" you much7 (ut8 fortunately8 few "layers e hi6it constant trem6lin'7 So8 what ha""ens when:all of a sudden:the o""onent 6ets and his hand 6e'ins to trem6le7 I9ll tell you what ha""ens in a lot of o""osin' "layers9 minds7 They think8 @Look at that hand shake7 That 'uy9s ner!ous7 I9ll 6et he9s 6luffin'8 so I9m 'oin' to callA Now8 there9s a thou'ht that9s 'uaranteed to cost you moneyF Ty"ically8 "layers who 6luff 6olster themsel!es and often 6ecome ri'id7 They don9t allow themsel!es to shake8 6ecause they9re afraid the shakin' would make you sus"icious and "rom"t you to call7 +hen you see an o""onent shakin'8 it9s a release of tension that comes automatically when the sus"ense ends7 That o""onent has made a 6i' hand: often a truly monumental one:and e "ects to win7 If this seems counter> intuiti!e to you8 start watchin'7 - suddenly shakin' hand si'nals the ha""y endin' to a drama7 It indicates that the "layer has 'otten lucky and is mentally already stackin' those chi"s7 The trem6lin' means a stron' hand8 and you should almost always fold:unless your own hand is also !ery "owerful7
42

TIP .. +e talked a6out the callin' refle 8 and oddly8 most o""onents are instincti!ely aware of it7 They9re not aware to the e tent that they9re a6le to harness their own callin' refle 8 6ut su6consciously they9re aware that the other "layers ha!e one:althou'h they9!e "ro6a6ly ne!er "ut it in words7 (ecause of this !a'ue awareness8 your o""onents are afraid of tri''erin' your callin' refle after they 6et weak hands7 So8 they instincti!ely make themsel!es less noticea6le7 Sometimes they free%e and sometimes they e!en sto" 6reathin'F +hen o""onents a""ear not to 6e 6reathin' after they 6et8 there9s a much hi'her>than>normal chance that they9re 6luffin'7 TIP .2 Here9s Bust another mem6er of the same "owerful family of tells7 )losely o6ser!e o""onents who are suckin' on candy or chewin' 'um7 If they continue to do so naturally after 6ettin'8 they9re "ro6a6ly rela ed and ho"in' for your call7 If they sto" suckin' or chewin'8 it9s likely that they9re 6luffin'7 ;ou can sometimes force this tell when you9re holdin' a mar'inal callin' hand 6y reachin' sli'htly toward your chi"s7 Often a "layer who is 6luffin' will 'row concerned and all suckin' or chewin' will suddenly cease7 That9s when you should call7 If you don9t 'et that reaction8 fold7 TIP .I ;our o""onents are always conscious that you mi'ht 6e o6ser!in' them7 It makes them uncomforta6le8 and that9s why they 6ecome actors8 es"ecially in the low> and medium>limit 'ames7 They try to fool you 6y almost in!aria6ly actin' weak when they hold stron' hands and stron' when they hold weak hands7 This means that when you see an o""onent shru' or hear a si'h8 that9s an act intended to con!ey sadness7 *on9t 6e fooled7 ;ou9re "ro6a6ly facin' a "owerful hand7 +hy would "layers 'o out of their way to con!ey sadness and make you sus"icious if they didn9t want you to callE They wouldn9t7
4I

)onfronted with cons"icuous sadness8 you should usually fold all medium> stron' hands7 TIP ./ -nother common way that o""onents try to con!ey sadness is throu'h the tone of their !oices when they say @6et7A Listen closely for it7 +hene!er you hear8 @I 6etA s"oken in a sin'son'8 drawn>out manner that su''ests8 @,osh8 I wish I didn9t ha!e to do this8A that9s almost certainly an indication of a "owerful hand7 Seldom call unless you ha!e one8 too7 TIP .1 Here9s an occasional tell that you9ll see8 sometimes e!en in the 6i''est>limit 'ames7 Su""ose an o""onent tries to 6et a stack of chi"s8 6ut some s"ill off the to" as he "ositions them in the "ot7 +hat does that im"lyE Lsually nothin'7 It9s what ha""ens ne t that matters7 If the "layer is holdin' a weak hand or is 6luffin'8 he9s "ro6a6ly worried that the mistake will make you sus"icious and in!ite you to call =remem6er the callin' refle E?7 So if you9re facin' a weak hand8 you9re likely to see the o""onent try to neaten u" the chi"s:to erase the error7 If that ha""ens8 you should 6e much more willin' to call7 (ut8 if there is no attem"t to correct the fum6led 6et8 you9re likely to 6e a'ainst an o""onent who isn9t worried8 and you should 6e reluctant to call7 TIP .0 One of the stron'est ti"s for hold9em or Omaha "layers is to a!oid watchin' the flo"7 It will still 6e there later7 -s the dealer turns o!er those first three 6oard cards8 o6ser!e your o""onents7 This is a 'oldmine for tells7 Most "layers are unaware that you9re watchin' them at the moment the flo" hits8 so they9re unlikely to 6e actin' ri'ht then7 +hat you9re lookin' for is "rimarily thisK =1? Players who instincti!ely 'lance immediately toward their chi"s liked the flo" and are considerin' 6ettin'7
4/

=$? Players who stare at the flo" a little lon'er "ro6a6ly didn9t 'et any hel"7 This falls somewhere in the 'ray area 6etween acted tells and in!oluntary tells7 Starin' for a short time is in!oluntary8 indicatin' the "layer didn9t 'et hel" and has no reason to either look at his chi"s or look away as if uninterested8 in an effort to make your 6et seem safe7 )ontinued starin' for a lon'er time usually indicates weakness:the "layer is fei'nin' interest8 6ut "ro6a6ly won9t call a 6et7 The flo" affords you the o""ortunity to read 6oth acted and non>acted tells7 The first instinct of some "layers who hel" their hands is to 'lance toward chi"s8 "re"arin' to "ut them to use7 That9s non>acted7 The "layer8 ha!in' hel"ed his hand8 will often closely follow this in!oluntary 'lance 6y lookin' away from the a""roachin' action as if uninterested7 That last "art is an act8 "ortrayin' weakness8 which actually indicates stren'th7 Players who continue to stare at either the flo" or their chi"s lon' enou'h that they think you9re watchin' are tryin' to con!ey an interest in the "ot that their cards don9t merit7 They9re usually not a threat7 -nd many "layers8 who see a flo" that hel"s them8 don9t instincti!ely 'lance toward their chi"s at all 6efore lookin' away7 They9ll Bum" ri'ht to the lookin' away "art:an act that also tells you they9re holdin' stron' hands7 Payin' attention when the flo" hits can earn you a lot of money7 (ut8 this can only ha""en if you9re "ayin' attention to the "layers7 If you9re "ayin' attention to the cards instead8 like almost e!eryone else is8 you9ll miss this o""ortunity7 TIP .4 (efore you act on your hand8 e amine the "layers who will act after you7 The four "oints a6o!e are stron' indications that o""onents aren9t interested in callin' any 6ets7 This is "articularly im"ortant on the first round of 6ettin'7 I9m a6le to con!ince e!en "rofessional o""onents that I9m in the 'ame to 'am6le8 "layin' hands that are too weak for my "osition:without actually doin' itF HowE It9s sim"le7 I Bust look 6ehind me and when I see one or more
41

o""onents "ro!idin' these stron' indicators that they9re 'oin' to fold8 I rela my hand reJuirements8 su6stitutin' what I would need if I were that many seats later in "osition7 It means I can "rofit from hands I wouldn9t ha!e 6een a6le to "lay if I weren9t o6ser!ant8 and8 at the same time8 it does wonders for esta6lishin' my carefree ima'e7 TIP 23 (ut8 if I see these indicators when I e amine "layers who will act after I do8 then I9m in trou6le with a weak or medium hand7 I need real stren'th to Bustify a 6et7 -nd I9ll 6e more willin' to sand6a' a su"er>stron' hand on later 6ettin' rounds8 6ecause it looks like someone will do my 6ettin' for me8 if I check7 TIP 21 Now that we9!e discussed some key tells8 I need you to understand somethin'7 Nery few tells are 133V accurate7 ;ou need to use them like you would any other 6it of information7 For instance8 if you9re "layin' se!en>card stud and you raise with a Jueen showin' on the first 6ettin' round8 a reraise from an o""onent with a kin' showin' !ery likely indicates a "air of kin's7 (ut it mi'ht not:the clue isn9t "erfect7 ;ou need to adBust your tactics so that you 'i!e more consideration to a "air of kin's than you would ha!e8 while kee"in' o"en the "ossi6ility that you9re facin' a "air of 6uried aces8 a smaller 6uried "air8 three suited cards8 or an outri'ht 6luff7 The raise is an indicator that makes you ree!aluate the likely hands your o""onent has7 - "air of kin's 6ecomes more likely8 other hands less likely8 6ut still "ossi6le7 It9s the same with a tell7 It9s Bust another factor8 Bust an indicator7 The stron'er it is8 the more it should influence your decision7 (ut you should seldom let a tell 6e the only factor that 'oes into your decision7 One other word of cautionK (ecause "layers ha!e a 6ias toward callin'8 many will use tells incorrectly7 They9ll 'o out of their way to s"ot ima'inary tells that "rom"t them to call and almost com"letely i'nore actual tells that "rom"t
40

them to fold7 If you do that8 you9ll "ro6a6ly lose money with tells and would 6e 6etter off not usin' them at all7 My ad!ice is that you 'et as 'ood as you can at usin' tells and a""lyin' "oker "sycholo'y7 If you9re a serious winnin' "layer8 you mi'ht easily dou6le your income 6y masterin' these skills7 Two Final (onus Ti"s TIP 2$ I see this mistake Juite often8 and it dri!es me cra%y7 =I ha!e to 6lame my condition on somethin'8 ri'htE? Let9s say your hand is fairly weak for the situation8 6ut the "ot is so 6i' that you9re 'oin' to call a 6et no matter what7 Faced with this circumstance8 "layers instincti!ely try to "re!ent a 6et8 "erha"s 6y reachin' for their chi"s menacin'ly7 Listen8 if you know you9re 'oin' to call8 you should encoura'e your o""onent to 6et8 e!en if you9re ho"in' he doesn9tF That9s 6ecause the only times you9re likely to succeed in discoura'in' a 6et are when your o""onent holds weak hands or would ha!e 6luffed7 Those are "recisely the hands you would ha!e 6eaten with your call7 (y not discoura'in' a 6et8 you9re in!itin' an o""onent to 6et all the hands that will 6eat you:which he would do anywayF Plus8 you9re makin' him feel comforta6le a6out 6ettin' all those e tra hands you can 6eat when you call7 *iscoura'in' a 6et you intend to call only sto"s o""onents from 6ettin' hands you9ll 6eat8 not from 6ettin' hands you won9t 6eat7 So don9t do it7 TIP 2. For most "layers8 it9s !ery uncomforta6le facin' a "oker 6ully:one that tries to dominate the 'ame throu'h su"er>a''ressi!e "lays8 mi ed with 6ewilderin' 6luffs7 (ut it9s easy to defeat "oker 6ullies and send them home cryin' for their mommies7 ;ou9re lookin' at the three>ste" formula now7 If you follow it: rather than 6e lured into an escalatin' 6attle to determine who can 6e more forceful and creati!e:6ullies can9t dama'e you7 There is no counter>strate'y
44

a!aila6le to them8 and ultimately they ha!e no choice other than to 'i!e you their money or 6eha!e7 I9!e enBoyed s"endin' this time with you7 -nd now I9ll return the sta'e to *oyle (runson and the rest of his world>class e "erts7

133

SPE)I-LIWE O5 LE-5N TO PL-; POHE5 6y Ste!e Wolotow THE FOP -N* THE HE*,EHO, Se!en>hundred years 6efore the 6irth of )hrist8 the ,reek "oet -rchilochus distin'uished 6etween the fo and the hed'eho'8 sayin' @The fo de!ises many strate'iesD the hed'eho' knows only one8 6ut he uses it !ery effecti!ely7A -s a 'am6ler which should you stri!e to 6eE Should you try to learn a lot of 'ames or Bust oneE Many "oker "layers ado"t the hed'eho'9s strate'y7 +hen "resented with an encyclo"edic 6ook such as this one8 they immediately turn to the cha"ter that co!ers their fa!orite 'ame and study that cha"ter e clusi!ely7 They either 'i!e a cursory 'lance to sections dealin' with other 'ames8 or they o"t not to look at them at all7 The ad!anta'e to 6ein' a hed'eho' is !ery sim"le7 ;ou can 6ecome !ery 'ood8 "erha"s e!en 'reat8 at your s"ecialty7 +hat could 6e wron' with thatE If you 6ecome an e "ert at one 'ame8 you won9t 6e afraid of any o""onent8 and you9ll win consistently7 So why would you e!en consider the fo 9s strate'yE +hy learn a !ariety of 'ames8 es"ecially if it is !irtually im"ossi6le to "lay multi"le 'ames as well as you can learn to "lay Bust oneE Here are fi!e reasons whyK 17 Times )han'e ;our chosen 'ame mi'ht not stay "o"ular fore!er7 Some 'ames that were once !ery "o"ular ha!e faded almost com"letely away7 Ima'ine how much the fi!e>card>stud or draw>hi'h e "erts make now7 +hen I first "layed in New ;ork )ity8 many home 'ames "layed hi'h>low declare7 I ne!er see declare 'ames 6ein' "layed these days7 $7 -da"ta6ility Means Hi'her Profits ;ou ne!er want to "ass u" the o""ortunity to make money at another 'ame7 Say you ha!e a choice 6etween a tou'h stud 'ame and an un6elie!a6ly weak Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter 'ame7 - 'reat se!en>stud hed'eho' mi'ht 6arely co!er the rake8 while a fo who is 6arely com"etent in Omaha will o"t for the weak 'ame and clean u"7
131

.7 Hnowin' More Ne!er Hurts +hile learnin' one 'ame8 you mi'ht "ick u" somethin' that hel"s you master another7 (efore I started "layin' "ot>limit Omaha8 I didn9t understand the im"ortance of makin' 6i' laydowns on the ri!er in that 'ame7 -nd you need to 6e !ersatile in learnin' the difference 6etween cash 'ames and tournaments8 too7 ;ou ne!er know where the "rofit will 6e7 In cash 'ames8 how you "lay with or a'ainst a short stack isn9t !ery im"ortant7 In tournament "lay it is a crucial skill you can de!elo"7 27 Fle i6ility If you are a fo 8 you will 6e a6le to "lay mi ed 'ames or dealer9s choice 'ames7 Many home 'ames and most of the 6i''est 'ames are mi ed 'ames8 in which the 'ame chan'es after a set num6er of hands is "layed or a certain amount of time ela"ses7 The most "o"ular multi>'ame mi in casinos is H7O757S7E78 an acronym for the com6ination of hold9em8 Omaha ei'ht>or> 6etter8 ra%%8 stud>hi'h8 and ei'ht>or>6etter stud7 Some common two>'ame mi es are stud and hold9emD no>limit hold9em and "ot>limit OmahaD and hi'h>low stud and hi'h>low Omaha7 +ith so many 'ames to "lay8 a hed'eho' would ha!e a lot of trou6le com"etin' at these ta6les7 I7 Nersatility - fo is much 6etter "re"ared for any new 'ames that de!elo" than a hed'eho'7 The more !ersatile you 6ecome8 the easier it will 6e for you to "ick u" a new !ariation when you are faced with it7 +H-T TO LE-5N +hat "oker !ariations should you learn firstE To some e tent that de"ends on where you are and what 'ame you normally "lay7 No>limit hold9em is a 'ood 'ame to master first7 Not only is it the most "o"ular 'ame8 6ut it9s also 'rowin' faster than any other7 If you intend to "lay a lot of tournaments8 you should definitely learn no>limit hold9em8 6ut don9t for'et to study the limit and "ot>limit !ariations7 On the East )oast8 stud is "o"ular and should 6e your second choice7 In Euro"e and the South8 "ot>limit Omaha should 6e your second choice7 In
13$

Ne'as and )alifornia8 Omaha hi'h>low s"lit is a reasona6le second 'ame to learn8 6ut make sure you learn how to "lay 6oth tournaments and li!e 'ames7 E!entually you should "ractice enou'h to feel comforta6le "layin' limit8 "ot> limit8 and no>limit 'ames7 ;ou should also stri!e to learn all the most "o"ular 'ames8 includin' hold9em8 se!en>stud8 Omaha hi'h8 Omaha hi'h>low8 se!en> stud hi'h>low8 deuce>to>se!en tri"le>draw8 ra%%8 and low6all draw:6oth ace> to>fi!e8 usually "layed limit8 and deuce>to>se!en8 usually "layed no>limit7 The to" "layers know and "lay all of them7 +hy shouldn9t youE I would e!en recommend the study of certain academic disci"lines8 es"ecially mathematics and "sycholo'y7 Psycholo'y will hel" you 6etter understand your o""onents and what they are doin'7 It may also ena6le you to find8 understand8 and eliminate some of your own mistakes7 Pro6a6ility and statistics are e tremely useful as well7 Poker "layers ha!e 6een known to use 'ame theory to determine the "ercenta'e of 6ets that should 6e 6luffs7 -ssumin' you are e tremely intelli'ent:and you must 6e if you are readin' this 6ook:and hard workin'8 you should 6e a6le to master all of these 'ames and academic disci"lines in a""ro imately fi!e lifetimes7 That9s why8 in order to make the most money8 you should master one or two 'ames8 while achie!in' hi'h com"etence in the others7

13.

LIMIT HOL*&EM POHE5 6y <ennifer Harman Thou'h <ennifer Harman is "roficient in all "oker 'ames8 I chose her to write the limit hold9em cha"ter 6ecause I9!e seen her win consistently at this 'ame8 often 6eatin' the 6est "layers in the world7 Ha!in' "layed hi'h>stakes "oker with <ennifer the "ast few years8 I9m con!inced that she9s not only the 6est all>around female "layer ali!e8 6ut also ranks amon' the elite "oker "layers of the world7 Her a''ressi!e "lay8 a style that fits ri'ht into the "ower "oker I ha!e always recommended8 has im"ressed me for years7 <ennifer is one of the few women who ha!e won o"en e!ents at the +orld Series of Poker8 and she is the only woman who has done it twice7 In $333 she won the deuce>to>se!en title:a 'ame that was new to her at the time:and in $33$ she won the limit hold9em cham"ionshi"7 To further illustrate her !ersatility8 <ennifer also has a""eared at the final ta6le at the +SOP in se!en>card stud8 "ot>limit hold9em8 and twice in limit hold9em e!ents7 She won the no>limit hold9em cham"ionshi" at the )ommerce )asino in 14408 the same year that she won the limit hold9em e!ent at the Orleans O"en7 In $33$ <ennifer made her final ta6le de6ut at the "resti'ious +orld Poker Tour in -ru6a7 +e9ll 6e hearin' more roars from this 133>"ound "oker lioness in the future7 INT5O*L)TION There are si'nificant differences 6etween limit and no>limit hold9em7 One o6!ious difference is that in no>limit8 if you "lay your cards ri'ht8 you can tra" your o""onents for all their chi"s7 That9s Bust not the case in limit hold9em7 +hile no>limit is a 'ame of tra"s8 limit hold9em is all a6out !alue 6ettin'8 which means you want to 'et ma imum !alue for your hand8 often throu'h a''ressi!e 6ettin'7 ;ou9ll find that in limit hold9em it9s 6est to "lay in a strai'htforward manner8 that is8 6et and raise when you actually ha!e a decent hand7 (ut don9t 6e "redicta6le8 and don9t for'et that 6luffin' is one of the most "owerful wea"ons you can use in limit hold9em7 Let9s 'et to itF

132

(LIN*S -N* -NTES I would like to start with a discussion of 6lind structures7 -fter all8 "ostin' the 6linds is the first ste" in any hold9em 'ame7 In this cha"ter we are 'oin' to co!er the different a""roaches that should 6e considered 6ased on the 6lind structure 7 - full>limit hold9em 'ame has either nine or ten "layers seated at the ta6le7 These 'ames are often referred to as rin' 'ames7 Ty"ical lower limit 'ames are "layed ten>handed8 6ut as the limits 'o u"8 ei'ht> and nine>handed 'ames are more common7 ,ames with three to si "layers are called shorthanded 'ames8 and those "layed with Bust two "layers are called heads>u" 'ames7 Hold9em is a "ositional 'ame7 - little "uck or 6utton mo!es clockwise around the ta6le re"resentin' the dealer7 In home 'ames8 the deal sim"ly mo!es to the left each hand8 6ut casino 'ames use a "rofessional dealer7 The "osition of the 6utton on the ta6le determines the order of action7 -fter the first round of 6ettin'8 the 6utton always acts last8 which is a 'reat ad!anta'e7 -s the last "layer to act8 the 6utton is a6le to watch his o""onents act on their hands8 re!ealin' "ossi6le stren'ths and weaknesses8 6efore he makes his own decision7 Two "layers8 the 6linds8 are forced to "ut money into the "ot 6efore the hand is dealt7 The small 6lind sits directly to the left of the 6utton8 and the 6i' 6lind sits directly to the left of the small 6lind7 There are two 6asic ty"es of 6lind structuresK a two>and>three chi" and a two>and>four chi"7 In a two>and> three chi" 6lind structure8 the small 6lind "uts in two chi"s8 while the 6i' 6lind "uts in three chi"s7 For e am"le in a C1I#C.3 limit hold9em 'ame8 the small 6lind must 6et C13 while the 6i' 6lind must 6et C1I7 In a two>and>four chi" 6lind structure =a one>and>two chi" structure is identical?8 the 6i' 6lind "osts dou6le the amount of the small 6lind7 So in a C$3#C23 limit hold9em 'ame8 the small 6lind would 6e C13 and the 6i' 6lind would 6e C$37 O"timal limit hold9em strate'y differs de"endin' on which 6lind structure you are "layin'7 - two>and>three chi" 6lind structure will cost you more money "ro"ortionately "er round than the two>and>four chi" structure7 -s a result8 two>and>three chi" 'ames are looser than two>and>four chi" 'ames8
13I

and you will need to com"ensate for this 6y "layin' more hands7 The difference 6etween the two structures seems "retty insi'nificant8 so why the need to adBust your "layE Two>and>Three )hi" Structure In the two>and>three chi" structure8 the small 6lind already has $#. of a 6et in the "ot7 If there is no raise 6efore the flo"8 it9s hi'hly likely that the small 6lind will com"lete the 6et and see the flo"7 There are few8 if any8 situations in which the "layer in the small 6lind should fold a hand rather than kick in one more chi"7 For e am"le8 let9s say you are in the small 6lind in a C.3#C/3 hold9em 'ame7 - "layer from middle "osition calls C.38 as does the 6utton7 -s the "layer in the small 6lind8 you already ha!e C$3 in!ested8 and includin' the 6i' 6lind9s C.38 the "ot already stands at C1137 Since callin' will only cost you C138 you are 'ettin' 11 to 1 odds on your in!estment7 -nd since there are !ery few hands that would 6e worse than an 11 to 1 underdo' to win8 it9s 6asically an automatic call no matter what you are holdin'7 If only you and the 6i' 6lind remain8 remem6er that there is already CI3 in the "ot and you ha!e to throw in Bust one more chi" to call7 In this case8 you are 'ettin' I to 1 on your money8 and you only ha!e to 6eat one "layer7 E!en if you lim" in with a mar'inal hand and the 6i' 6lind raises you8 it9s not the end of the worldD you9!e still made the ri'ht "lay7 In a two>and>four chi" 6lind structure8 the 'ame should 6e "layed a 6it more conser!ati!ely7 -s the small 6lind8 you9ll ha!e to "ut in one>half more 6et to see the flo"8 as o""osed to the 1#. 6et in the two>and>three chi" structure7 Let9s a""ly the scenario a6o!e to a two>and>four chi" structure7 Once a'ain8 you are in the small 6lind8 this time with a C13 6et in!ested7 - middle "osition "layer lim"s in for C$38 as does the 6utton7 There is C13 in the "ot8 and you ha!e to call C13 more to see the flo"7 In this scenario8 you are 'ettin' 1 to 1 on your money8 which isn9t 6ad7 ;ou should still "lay a maBority of your hands8 6ut not as many as you would ha!e in the two>and>four chi" structure7 If only you and the 6i' 6lind remain8 you9ll ha!e to call C13 into a C.3 "ot:not that hi'h a "rice a'ainst Bust one "layer8 6ut it9s still much less enticin' than in the two>and>three chi" 6lind structure7 -s the small 6lind in this ty"e of 'ame8
13/

you should "lay more conser!ati!ely8 as it costs you less money "er round7 +hen decidin' what limit to "lay8 consider what ty"e of 6lind structure suits your style7 If you are an a''ressi!e "layer 6efore the flo" and like to "lay a lot of hands8 the two>and>three chi" 6lind structure is "ro6a6ly the 6est choice7 )on!ersely8 if you are the ty"e of "layer who likes to sit 6ack and wait for 6i' hands8 then the two>and>four chi" structure is definitely 6etter suited to your style7 P5E>FLOP ST5-TE,; +hen "eo"le who are new to "oker ask me for "ointers8 I usually tell them to "lay fewer hands7 If you are a 6e'inner8 you should stick to strict 'uidelines with your "re>flo" hand selection7 This will 6enefit you in two key waysK =1? ;ou9ll learn the im"ortance of "atience and disci"line7 =$? ;our daily swin's won9t 6e as lar'e7 +hen you are Bust startin' out8 your 'oal should 6e to 'et accustomed to the 'ame7 -s you im"ro!e8 you9ll 6e a6le to e "and your startin' reJuirements and "lay e!en more hands for a "rofit7 -s with strate'ies for any "oker !ariation8 there are 6asic "rinci"als and 'uidelines you should kee" in mind8 6ut remem6er that nothin' is set in stone7 -s your "oker a6ilities im"ro!e8 you9ll want to add some creati!ity to your "re>flo" "lay so your o""onents will ha!e a tou'her time 'ettin' a read on you7 ;our "re>flo" strate'y will differ 'reatly de"endin' on the num6er of "layers at the ta6le7 Later in the cha"ter8 we9ll discuss different strate'ies for 'ames of all si%es8 6ut for now let9s look at o"timal "re>flo" strate'y for rin' 'ames8 those "layed nine> or ten>handed7 Position is an im"ortant factor in hel"in' you decide how to "lay any 'i!en hand7 In a ty"ical ten>handed 'ame8 there are three "ositions other than the 6linds =we9ll 'et to 6lind "lay later in the cha"ter? you can 6et fromK early8 middle8 and late7 The later you act8 the 6etter your "osition8 and the more hands you can "lay for a "rofit7 )on!ersely8 if you are in a 6ad "osition =early "osition?8 you need a "remium startin' hand to enter the "ot7 For the sake of this discussion8 we9ll call "ositions three throu'h fi!e to the left of the 6utton
131

the early "ositions8 "ositions si throu'h ei'ht the middle "ositions8 and "ositions nine and ten =the 6utton? the late "ositions7 In a nine>handed 'ame8 "layers one and two are in the 6linds8 "layers three and four in early "osition8 fi!e throu'h se!en in middle "osition8 and ei'ht and nine in late "osition7 The last "layer of each "osition falls in the middle of the two "ositions7 Early Position +hen in early "osition8 it is im"ortant to remem6er that the rest of the "layers act 6ehind you8 so your hand has to 6e stron' enou'h to stand a raise7 So as a 'eneral rule8 you should only "lay the followin' hands in early "ositionK ->-8 H>H8 Q>Q8 <><8 13>138 ->H8 and ->Q:"lus ->< suited and H> Q suited7 These may sound like strict 'uidelines8 6ut kee" in mind that the te ture of the 'ame will dictate whether or not you can e "and on them7 If you find yourself in an a''ressi!e 'ame with a lot of "re>flo" raisin'8 you9re 6etter off stickin' to these 'uidelines7 On the other hand8 if you are in a "assi!e 'ame with little a''ression or "re>flo" raisin'8 you can 6roaden your hand selection to include ->13 suited8 4>48 and 0>07 If you are dealt a "remium hand in early "osition8 you should raise7 If you always raise with a "remium hand8 you9ll actually 6e 'i!in' away less information a6out the stren'th of your hand than if you only raise with aces and kin's7 If you ado"t this strate'y of always raisin' with a "remium hand8 your o""onents won9t know if you are raisin' with ->-8 ->H8 H>Q8 and so on down the list7 Howe!er8 if you always lim" in with hands other than aces and kin's8 your o""onents will soon 6e onto you and learn to ne!er call when you raise7 ;our "re>flo" raise with these hands ser!es two "ur"osesK =1? It enlar'es the "ot7 +hen you are holdin' "remium cards8 you want as much money as "ossi6le in the "ot7 =$? It narrows the field7 The !alue of your 6i' "airs decreases in multiway "ots7 (y narrowin' the field with a raise8 you increase the chances that your "remium hand will stand u"7 -s you 6ecome more comforta6le with the 'ame8 you mi'ht consider occasionally lim"in' in with a "remium hand in order to throw off your
130

o""onents7 (y lim"in' in8 you mi'ht cause many "layers to rule out the "ossi6ility that you9re holdin' aces or another "remium hand7 ;our "re>flo" dece"tion mi'ht win you more 6ets in later rounds7 ;ou could e!en consider lim"in' in with ->H suited in early "osition7 If it is raised 6ehind you8 you could 'o ahead and reraise when it 'ets 6ack to you7 (y doin' this8 you could actually re"resent aces or kin's7 So e!en if you miss the flo"8 you can 6et out and try to take it on the flo"7 Lim"in' in from Early Position Some e "ert "layers like to lim" in with kin's in early "osition7 I9m not a 6i' fan of this "lay7 If someone is 'oin' to 6eat me with an ace>ra' hand8 I want to make sure I make him "ay for it 6efore the flo"7 If more than three "eo"le see the flo" and an ace flo"s8 you can Juietly de"osit your kin's in the muck7 If the "ot was three>handed or heads>u" and an ace flo"s8 you mi'ht want to test the waters and 6et out7 If you 'et raised8 you9ll ha!e to rely on your Bud'ment when it comes to decidin' whether to call or fold7 ;our decision should 6e 6ased on your read of your o""onent7 +ould he raise me here with a drawE Mi'ht he e!en raise me with middle "airE *oes this 'uy e!er 6luffE +ould this 'uy "lay ace>ra'E (y answerin' all of these Juestions8 you should ha!e a sufficient num6er of clues to hel" you make the ri'ht choice7 This is why it9s so im"ortant to "ay attention to the hand you9re in!ol!ed in8 as well as hands you9!e already folded7 (y watchin' the 'ame8 you should 6e a6le to fi'ure out who likes to lim" with -> and who "refers "layin' suited connectors7 ;ou may consider lim"in' with H>Q suited as well7 Lnlike hi'h "airs like -> - or H>H and other "remium hands8 this hand "lays well in multiway "ots7 *ece"tion and mi in' u" your "lay should 6e an im"ortant "art of your 'ame8 6ut unfortunately there is only so much you can do from early "osition7 For the most "art8 you Bust want to "lay fundamentally sound "oker7 +hen you find yourself under the 'un8 don9t try too hard to 6e creati!e8 6ecause it may cause you to 6e faced with more difficult decisions later in the hand8 and you can end u" outwittin' yourselfF Middle Position In middle "osition8 you should definitely "lay the "remium hands we
134

mentioned a6o!e8 6ut now8 with fewer "layers actin' after you8 you can "lay a few more7 -lthou'h middle "osition allows you to 6roaden your hand selection8 remem6er that8 unlike early "osition8 you now ha!e to take into account what has ha""ened in front of you7 Playin' Premium Hands from Middle Position =->-8 H>H8 Q>Q8 ->H? For the most "art8 you should "lay your "remium hands from middle "osition the same way you would from early "osition7 If you are the first one in with ->-8 H>H or ->H8 you should raise7 If some6ody has raised in front of you8 you should 6e a''ressi!e and reraise7 -s you read on throu'h this cha"ter8 you9ll find a recurrin' themeK a''ressionF Sometimes8 you mi'ht want to "ractice a little 6it of dece"tion 6y callin' a raise with a hand like ->H suited8 the 6est drawin' hand of them all7 E!en if you flo" a flush draw with no "air8 you still ha!e fifteen outs a'ainst a hand like Q>Q8 which8 6y the way8 would make you the fa!orite to win the "ot7 If you are u" a'ainst another un"aired hand8 you9d ha!e the 6est hand8 as well as the 6est draw7 There are other reasons why you mi'ht Bust want to call a raise with ->H suited7 Say you are holdin' -E HE in a loose 'ame with lots of action7 (y smooth callin'8 you mi'ht "ersuade others to stay in the "ot7 (ein' heads>u" with the initial raiser wouldn9t 6e horri6le8 6ut it mi'ht 6e e!en more "rofita6le to let others in7 So let9s say you call8 as do three others8 and the flo" comes 6ad for your hand:1>0>4 with two hearts8 for e am"le7 No "ro6lem:Bust check>muck it8 thus sa!in' one 6et7 Playin' Middle Pairs from Middle Position =<><8 13>138 4>4? If you are the first to enter the "ot8 you should raise comin' in7 5emem6erK a''ression8 a''ression8 a''ressionF If someone has raised in front of you8 you should reraise to narrow the field and 'i!e yourself the 6est chance to win the "ot7 Lnlike a hand such as ->H suited8 these middle "airs don9t "lay !ery well in multiway "ots7 (y reraisin'8 you9ll 'et a little 6it more information a6out the initial raiser9s hand7 If the initial raiser makes it four 6ets8 he "ro6a6ly has a 6i''er "air or at least ->H7 *efinin' your hand as a stron' one is a 'ood idea8 and 6y reraisin' you can re"resent a "remium hand7 +hy is this 'oodE Take this e am"leK Say you
113

reraise with 13>13 a'ainst a "layer who has raised from early "osition7 ;ou 'et it heads>u" and the flo" comes down 1>.>$7 The initial raiser checks8 and you 6et your 13>137 If your o""onent has ->Q8 he would 6e correct in callin' one more 6et on the flo"7 Howe!er8 since you9!e re"resented a stron'er hand than you actually ha!e8 the initial raiser may fold thinkin' that you mi'ht already ha!e ->-7 Playin' ->Q from Middle Position -s when "layin' middle "airs from the middle "osition8 if you ha!e ->Q and are the first to enter the "ot8 you should raise comin' in7 On the other hand8 if you are facin' an early "osition "layer who has already raised8 "layin' ->Q from the middle can create some "otentially sticky situations7 +hat you should do a'ainst an early "osition raiser will de"end hea!ily on your read of that "layer7 If the 5ock of ,i6raltar raises from first "osition8 you9re ->Q isn9t worth two centsF Howe!er8 if you know the raiser to 6e a loosey>'oosey ty"e "layer8 you should "ro6a6ly try to isolate him 6y reraisin'7 There are a few situations where sim"ly callin' an early "osition raise is acce"ta6le8 6ut if you think the hand is worth callin' with8 you should 'o ahead and reraise7 Otherwise8 dum" it7 ;ou9ll then want to kee" the lead on the flo" whether you flo" a "air or not7 +hat you do after the flo" will de"end on the te ture of the flo"8 your o""onents8 tendencies8 and the num6er of "layers in the "ot7 (ut as a 'eneral rule8 you should ne!er call a raise and a reraise with a hand as weak as ->Q7 Playin' Mar'inal Hands from Middle Position =-> suited8 H>Q8 H><8 Q><8 <> 138 13>4 suited8 1>0 suited8 and Small Pairs? This is where your startin' reJuirements 'et a little tricky 6ecause there is an added !aria6leK what has ha""ened in front of you7 For e am"le8 let9s look at a hand like <>137 If no one has entered the "ot8 you should consider raisin' it u"8 ho"in' to "ick u" the 6linds7 (ut if someone has already raised in front of you from an early "osition8 chances are they can 6eat Back hi'h7 Since it9s no lon'er "ossi6le to "ick u" the 6linds8 your 6est "lay here is usually to fold7 I say usually8 6ecause there are !ery few a6solutes in "oker7 Each situation is uniJue and !aryin' your "lays will hel" confuse your o""onents7 How often you use these !ariances de"ends on many factors8 includin' ta6le
111

com"osition8 ta6le ima'e8 and more7 Here are a few 'eneral 'uidelines to think a6out when "layin' mar'inal hands in middle "ositionK =1? In an a''ressi!e 'ame with "re>flo" raises comin' from all "ositions8 you should a!oid 'ettin' in!ol!ed if you are holdin' only small suited connectors7 +hile these hands "lay well in multiway "ots8 they do much worse in heads>u" situations8 es"ecially when "layed from early or middle "osition7 =$? In a "assi!e 'ame you can o"en u" a little 6it with a mar'inal hand7 If no one has entered with a raise8 you mi'ht want to raise with all of your 6i' card and small "air hands =H><8 Q><8 <>T8 13>4 suited8 1>18 />/8 etc7?7 ;ou should also raise with any suited ace if you are the first one to enter the "ot7 In a "assi!e 'ame8 "layin' a''ressi!ely with a mar'inal hand is the way to 'o8 as it 'i!es you the o""ortunity to "ick u" the "ot when no one calls "re>flo"7 E!en when your raise is called8 you could still win the "ot with a 6et on the flo"7 That is8 if an o""onent doesn9t catch a "iece of the flo"8 which will ha""en more often than not7 =.? In a loose 'ame with many "re>flo" lim"ers8 you should still "lay the maBority of your mar'inal hands:6ut unlike in a "assi!e 'ame8 you should not "lay them a''ressi!ely7 In this situation8 your o6Becti!e is to 'et full !alue on your hand8 and a raise will only deter others from callin'7 In these more li6eral 'ames8 your motto should 6e @The more the merrierFA For instance8 if you are holdin' 1>0 suited and one "layer raises while two others call8 you should call the raise7 )hances are there is a 6i' "ot de!elo"in'8 and you9!e 'ot the ri'ht kind of hand to take it down7 Late Position Now it9s time to ha!e some funF Late "osition is definitely my fa!orite "lace to 6e and once you9!e finished readin' this limit hold9em section8 you9ll know why7 Playin' late "osition is fun for se!eral reasons7 For one8 you 'et to "lay a lot more hands than you do in early and middle "osition7 Secondly8 as a late "osition "layer8 you ha!e access to a lot more information than the other "layers8 such as who called8 who raised8 how many ha!e called8 etc7 Furthermore8 late "osition is the "osition from which you9ll want to do the
11$

maBority of your stealin':6ut only when no one has entered the "ot ahead of you7 If you are in the 6utton8 the last seat8 you ha!e the o""ortunity to knock off other late "osition steal attem"ts 6y isolatin' them and makin' it three 6ets7 )onfused yetE *on9t worry8 I9ll e "lain7 Stealin' from Late Position +hen I say stealin'8 I9m referrin' to a late "osition "layer9s attem"t to 'ra6 the 6linds with a less than "remium hand7 - stealer comes in with a raise8 ho"in' to re"resent a "remium hand8 which will cause all of the stealer9s remainin' o""onents to fold7 5emem6er8 it9s hard to hit flo"s8 and your o""onents know it7 So 6y stayin' a''ressi!e8 you can "ick u" a lot of loose chan'e when your o""onents miss and 'i!e u" on the "ot7 Sometimes8 thou'h8 steals don9t 'o Juite this smoothly7 If your o""onents disa""oint your steal attem"t and call your raise8 you9ll ha!e to try to "ick u" the "ot on the flo" whether you ha!e anythin' or not7 - "layer mi'ht e!en call 6ehind you or try to isolate you 6y makin' it three 6ets7 If you do ha""en to 'et reraised8 you are now at the mercy of the deck7 If you don9t catch a "iece of the flo"8 your 6est "lay is usually Bust to 'i!e it u"8 6ut de"endin' on what ty"e of hand you ha!e8 you can also take one off and try to "ick u" somethin' on the turn7 If your o""onent doesn9t reraise 6ut smooth calls your late "osition raise with "osition8 you are "resented with a new set of dilemmas7 The first thin' you need to consider is what hands mi'ht this "articular o""onent "lay this way7 Ty"ically8 stron' "layers will three>6et you in these situations8 while some weaker "layers who see lots of flo"s mi'ht call you with Bust a6out anythin'7 So8 unless the flo" looks e tremely 6ad for your hand8 you should continue leadin' and 6et the flo"7 Let9s say that you are holdin' />1 suited in the nine "osition of a ten>handed 'ame7 E!eryone has folded to you8 and you raise 6efore the flo"7 The 6utton8 seated ri'ht ne t to you in the ten "osition8 calls the raise and 6oth 6linds fold7 Now it9s heads>u"8 and the flo" comes ->4>$ rain6ow:three unsuited cards7 +hat is your "lay hereE I would ad!ise you to 6et Bust as you normally would when you9re the initial raiser and find yourself heads>u"7 Since the 6utton almost certainly has the 6etter hand8 you9re ho"in' that he will throw it away 6ased u"on the stren'th you showed 6y raisin'7 If he doesn9t ha!e an
11.

ace he9ll "ro6a6ly Bust dum" his hand8 and if he does ha!e an aceMoh well7 It9s only 'oin' to cost you this one 6et to find out7 Howe!er8 if he calls or raises you8 you should shut down and fold your hand7 This ace flo" is a 'ood one to 6luff7 It is unlikely that your o""onent has an ace7 Lnless he is a "assi!e "layer8 chances are your o""onent would ha!e reraised with a 6i' ace8 such as ->H8 ->Q8 -><8 or ->137 The flo"s you should worry a6out are those that connect to hands like 0>48 4> 138 13><8 <>Q8 Q>H7 More often than not8 your o""onent9s holdin's will fall into this ran'e8 so8 you may want to sa!e a 6et if the flo" comes down 0><>Q or H><>47 If your o""onent 6ets one of these flo"s8 you are done with this hand7 If he checks one of these flo"s 6ehind you8 it can mean only one of two thin'sK =1? He flo""ed a monster and is tra""in' youD or =$? He missed the flo" as well7 Isolatin' from Late Position ;ou9ll hear me use the term @isolationA se!eral times throu'hout the cha"ter7 To "ut it "lainly8 if you are 'oin' to succeed "layin' hi'her limit hold9em8 you are 'oin' to ha!e to learn the nuances of isolation "lays7 So what is an isolation "layE Quite sim"ly8 isolation is a "lay you make in order to create a one>on>one situation with your o""onent and take the flo" heads>u"8 usually with "osition7 For e am"le8 say an a''ressi!e "layer raises from middle to late "osition and you find 0>0 on the 6utton7 +ith no one else in the "ot other than the raiser8 you would reraise him and ho"e to knock 6oth 6linds out8 thus isolatin' him and allowin' you to "lay the hand a'ainst Bust one o""onent8 with the added ad!anta'e of ha!in' "osition on e!ery street7 This e am"le "uts you in a mar'inal situation8 6ut it is a situation from which you should "rofit due to your fa!ora6le "osition7 Ideally8 your o""onent will ha!e a non>"aired hand like ->H8 ->138 Q><8 or e!en 1>0 suited7 ;our "air of ei'hts is a mathematical fa!orite o!er any of these hands7 )ou"le that with the fact that you may 6e a6le to 'et your o""onent to fold on the flo" and it makes this "lay a "rofita6le one7 In addition8 you may e!en 6e a6le to 6luff your o""onent off of the 6est handF HowE +ell8 let9s say your o""onent has 4>47 The flo" comes down ->
112

<>137 It looks like a horri6le flo" for you8 6ut if your o""onent checks and you 6et8 how can he call youE He doesn9t know that you hate this flo" Bust as much as he doesF (ut 6ecause you took the initiati!e and made it three 6ets to 'o8 your o""onent is in no man9s land:!irtually forced to fold the 6est hand7 There are many similar e am"les8 all 6ased on a com6ination of "re>flo" a''ression and "osition7 The more you "lay limit hold9em8 the more you9ll understand how deadly this com6ination can 6e7 +hat do you do when the flo" comes a little more difficult:somethin' like <>4>$ rain6owE +hat ha""ens if your o""onent checks8 you 6et8 and your o""onent callsE He could ha!e a num6er of different hands8 so what you do on the turn should 6e determined 6y the card that comes off and your read of your o""onent7 In these situations8 as well as !irtually all hold9em hands8 the most difficult street to "lay is the turn7 Hey8 no one said this was 'oin' to 6e easyF If your o""onent check>raises you on the flo"8 that9s a different story all to'ether7 In this case8 your o""onent most likely has 6etter than you8 6ut there are still a few hands you can 6eat7 *e"endin' on the o""onent8 you mi'ht 6e u" a'ainst nothin' more than a "air of deucesF -'ain8 your decision on what to do here and on the turn de"ends on your read of your o""onent and the situation7 -s a 'eneral rule8 you should rarely try to isolate some6ody who has raised or called from early "osition7 Here9s whyK unless you9re facin' an e tremely weak or wild "layer8 you can assume that anyone enterin' a "ot from such a dan'erous "osition "ro6a6ly holds an e tremely stron' hand:and why would you want to isolate a hand like thatE -'ainst an early "osition raiser8 the chances are Bust too 'ood that your o""onent has a 6i' "air8 makin' the odds of outdrawin' him more than 2 to 1 a'ainst you7 E!en if it9s not a 6i' "air8 your o""onent mi'ht still 6e holdin' ->H or ->Q8 hands that he mi'ht 6e willin' to 'o to the ri!er with7 This means that you are less likely to win the "ot ri'ht on the flo" when they miss7 It9s also less likely that they are raisin' with suited connectors and such8 hands you could mo!e them off of on the flo"7 ,eneral Hand Selection -d!ice for Late Position
11I

;our startin' reJuirements in late "osition should 6e wide8 to say the leastF Play all of the "remium hands8 of course8 all the hands I mentioned for middle "osition8 and:in the ri'ht situations:some offsuited connectors7 Here are some more 'uidelines and 6asic "rinci"als to consider when you are in late "ositionK =1? If no one has entered the "ot in front of you8 you should raise8 as there is a decent enou'h chance that no one will call the raise7 =$? If there are se!eral lim"ers in front of you and you are holdin' a weaker hand8 you can 'o ahead and lim" in7 In fact8 with hands like 13>4 or 4>0 suited8 you mi'ht e!en want to raise from time to time:not 6ecause you think you ha!e the 6est hand8 6ut 6ecause it adds a little dece"tion to your "lay and at little cost7 +ith these ty"es of drawin' hands8 "layin' lar'er "ots with multiway action is 'oin' to 6e a "rofita6le decision8 not to mention the fact that your "re>flo" raise mi'ht earn you a free card on the flo"7 This mi'ht 'i!e you an o""ortunity to "ick u" a draw on the turn if you didn9t already flo" one7 If you did flo" a draw8 you mi'ht 6e a6le to "ick u" a free card on the turnF HuhE +ell let9s say you do flo" a draw and 6et it from last "osition7 If you miss the draw on the turn and no one has 6et in front of you8 you9ll 'et a free shot to make your hand on the ri!er7 =.? -!oid 6ein' o!erly a''ressi!e in multiway "ots with hands that "lay 6etter shorthanded7 If si "eo"le ha!e already lim"ed in 6efore you8 raisin' with hands like ->Q offsuit or ->< offsuit is counter"roducti!e7 +ith so many "layers in the "ot8 the chances of runnin' the hand throu'h to the ri!er without im"ro!ement aren9t 'ood7 ;ou will need to flo" at least a "air8 and e!en that doesn9t 'uarantee you will win the "ot7 The more "layers in the "ot8 the more likely it is that someone will make two "air8 tri"s8 a strai'ht8 a flush8 or 6etter7 Furthermore8 6y raisin' "re>flo" with ->Q offsuit or the like in multiway "ots8 you also induce your o""onents to take lon'>shot draws a'ainst you7 Of course8 this doesn9t mean you should fold these hands in multiway "ots8 6ut you should certainly "roceed with caution7 Lim" in chea"8 and ho"e to flo" somethin' solid7 If the flo" comes 13>/>1 to your ->Q8 for e am"le8 you would 6e foolish to call any 6ets on the flo"7
11/

These three rules are sim"ly 'uidelines7 Each "oker hand contains a com"letely different set of !aria6les8 so there will always 6e scenarios where you mi'ht want to 6end the rules Bust a little7 TH5EE IMPO5T-NT LIMIT HOL*9EM )ON)EPTS Learnin' the fundamentals8 im"ro!in' your hand readin' skills8 and fi'htin' the "sycholo'ical wars at the ta6le are three essential in'redients in 6ecomin' a fierce8 winnin' "layer7 ;ou mi'ht 6e a6le to 'et 6y in the lower stakes 'ames 6y sim"ly "layin' fundamentally sound8 6ut once you are u" a'ainst some tou'h com"etition8 relyin' on fundamentals alone will 'et you crushed7 Hand readin' skills and "sycholo'ical warfare are certainly !alua6le tools8 6ut a'ain8 without any fundamental understandin' of the num6ers you won9t 6e a6le to succeed at the hi'hest le!els7 17 Fundamentals In order to "lay fundamentally sound limit hold9em8 you need to do your homework7 Once you9!e studied the odds of8 say8 makin' a flush with two cards to come or hittin' a strai'ht with one card to come8 makin' fundamentally sound decisions is much easier7 So if you find yourself on a drawin' hand8 sim"ly com"are the odds of hittin' your hand with the "rice you are 6ein' laid7 )om"arin' the Odds To illustrate this "oint8 let9s look at a ty"ical hold9em handK Playin' C$3#C23 and holdin' />1 of clu6s8 you9!e called a raise from the 6i' 6lind7 It9s a fi!e> way action "ot8 so that9s C$13 =I "layers C23 X the C13 small 6lind?7 Now the flo" comes QE 0E 2E8 'i!in' you an inside strai'ht draw and a 6ackdoor flush draw7 ;ou check8 one "layer 6ets8 and three call7 That9s an e tra C03 added to the "ot for a new total of C$437 The "rice you are 6ein' laid to make your strai'ht on the ne t card is $43 to $38 or 127I to 17 ;ou know that the odds of hittin' the strai'ht on the ne t card are 2. to 2 or 1371I to 17 So on the flo"8 you are 'ettin' 127I to 1 in a situation where the true odds are 1371I to 17 ;ou9ll take those odds any day8
111

so you call7 The turn 6rin's the $E8 which is no hel"7 The first "layer 6ets a'ain8 and all fold 6ack to you7 Should you call or foldE Let9s take a look inside the num6ers7 There is now C.I3 in the "ot =C$13 "re>flo"8 C133 more on the flo"8 and now C23 6et at you on the turn?7 It will cost you C23 more to see if the ri!er card is a I8 which would 'i!e you the nut strai'ht7 In decidin' how to "roceed8 you should 'o throu'h the same mental "rocess as a6o!e7 Since you know there are forty>si unseen cards remainin' and only four hel"ful cards8 there must 6e 2$ unhel"ful ones7 *i!ide 2$ 6y 2 and you know you9re a 137I to 1 underdo'7 -re we 6ein' laid enou'h "ot odds to callE No7 Our C23 in!estment will only earn us C.I38 not includin' 6ets we may make u" on the ri!er7 (ut .I3#23 eJuals only 071I to 17 E!en if you know your strai'ht cannot 6e tied8 unless you9re certain you9ll 6e a6le to check>raise the ri!er and 'et called8 foldin' is still the correct decision8 e!en thou'h it9s !ery close now7 )asinos make a fortune 6y takin' the 6est of it on "ro"ositions similar to these7 If you are mindful of the "ot odds you are 6ein' laid8 and ha!e a 'ood understandin' of the situation8 you too could make a fortune 6y makin' fundamentally correct decisions7 -s you 'et more "layin' e "erience8 these e ercises 6ecome second nature7 - second or two is all you9ll need to fi'ure out the correct "lay7 $7 Hand 5eadin' Skills In order to make fundamentally correct "lays8 it9s im"ortant to ha!e some idea a6out what you are u" a'ainst7 So how do you "ut your o""onent on a handE Sim"leK "ay attentionF I can9t stress this enou'h7 +hether you are in the current hand or not8 you need to "ay attention to the action at all times in order to learn what your o""onents9 tendencies are7 (y sim"ly watchin' the action8 you9ll likely 6e a6le to find the answers to the followin' JuestionsK On the Pre>Flo" =1? +hat hands will o""onents raise withE =$? +hat hands will they call withE =.? *o they "lay conser!ati!ely or loosely from early "ositionE =2? How often do they defend their 6lind to a raiseE
110

=I? *o they raise a lot of hands8 or are they on the careful sideE On the Post>Flo" =1? +hat ty"e of hands will they check raise withE =$? *o they "lay draws a''ressi!ely or "assi!elyE =.? *o they slow>"lay made handsE =2? *o they e!er 6luffE =I? *o they fold often on the flo"8 or will they call all the way to the ri!erE These are ten Juestions that you9ll learn the answers to sim"ly 6y "ayin' attention and makin' mental notes7 If you s"ent the last forty>fi!e minutes watchin' the 6all 'ame8 how can you "ossi6ly 6e ready to answer these Juestions when the time comesE These Juestions are Bust the ti" of the ice6er'8 6ut think a6out how much 6etter you9d do a'ainst an o""onent if you knew the answer to all tenF -nd the more you "lay8 the 6etter you9ll 'et at it7 If you make the most of your time at the ta6le8 your skills will im"ro!e that much Juicker7 +hen you are out of a hand8 make a 'ame of it7 (efore the flo"8 "ut an o""onent on a ran'e of hands 6ased on his "re>flo" action7 Then8 try to narrow his holdin' down further after the flo"8 a'ain on the turn8 and finally on the ri!er7 *on9t 'et discoura'ed if you are way off at first7 I "romise you that the more you try this e ercise the 6etter you9ll 'et at it7 .7 Psycholo'y +hat distin'uishes a 'ood "oker "layer from a 'reat "oker "layer is sim"ly the a6ility to read the thou'hts of his o""onents7 +hen I first 'et into a 'ame8 I sit 6ack for a6out ten minutes and watch how the others are "layin'7 It9s im"ortant to know how the 'ame is "layin' in order to make 6etter decisions7 *oes the 'ame seem more a''ressi!e than normalE *oes it seem looser or ti'hterE -re there any "layers who are u"set and "layin' 6adly or on tiltE Or con!ersely8 who is winnin' and really "layin' their ->'ameE The te ture of the 'ame can chan'e in an instant8 and a "layer can 'o from 6ein' on his ->'ame to 6ein' on tilt with Bust one 6ad 6eat7 ;ou need to kee" ta6s on all of your o""onents and their e!er>chan'in' states of mind7 +hen it comes to im"ro!in' your a6ility to focus and your "eo"le readin' skills8 nothin' is more !alua6le than e "erience at the ta6le7 This 6ook should hel"
114

"re"are you for the ta6les8 6ut the rest is u" to you7 The more intense and focused you are at the ta6les8 the 6etter your results will 6e7 That8 I can 'uarantee7 Lnderstand also8 that while you are focusin' on your o""onent9s emotional and mental states8 they will 6e doin' the same to youF +hate!er your ta6le ima'e is at any 'i!en time8 it will ine!ita6ly ha!e an affect on how your o""onents choose to "lay a'ainst you8 so it9s im"ortant for you to 6e aware of your ima'e and make the necessary adBustments to your "lay7 If you ha!e Bust raised8 lost your fourth hand in a row8 and turned 6eet red8 chances are your o""onents will assume that you are steamin'7 If you decide to raise a fifth consecuti!e hand8 chances are your o""onents won9t 'i!e you credit for acesF In fact8 if they are "erce"ti!e8 they will likely "lay 6ack at you with mar'inal hands assumin' that their hands "ro6a6ly stack u" "retty well a'ainst the trash you are raisin' withF If your ta6le ima'e is shot8 it9s time to throw your o""onents a cur!e 6all and ti'hten u" a little 6it7 Stealin' 6linds is only "ossi6le if your o""onents ha!e some res"ect for your raises7 If they think you are steamin'8 they won9t let you 'et away with anythin'F Of course8 the o""osite is true as well7 If you ha!e 6een winnin' e!ery chi" in si'ht8 your o""onents may fear you7 They may decide to sim"ly 'et out of your way7 If they do that:"ound OemF THE FLOP This is the street where you ha!e to 6e a''ressi!e7 If you "lay too "assi!ely on the flo"8 you risk 6ein' run o!er and 'i!in' away "ots you should win7 I don9t ad!ocate 6ettin' with reckless a6andon8 6ut when you ha!e the lead and flo" somethin'8 think a6out "rotectin' your hand more than worryin' a6out whether or not your o""onents ha!e the nuts7 If you miss the flo" entirely8 there may 6e situations where it would 6e correct to take one off8 ho"in' to "ick u" a draw or make a "air7 Otherwise8 it mi'ht 6e a 'ood time to muck your hand7 This is why a''ression is so im"ortant7 If you had the "re>flo" lead8 meanin' you were the raiser8 you can usually kee" the lead on the flo"7 So if 6oth you and your o""onent miss the flo"8 which often ha""ens8 your a''ression mi'ht
1$3

Bust win you the "ot7 If you use 'ood Bud'ment and "lay your hands a''ressi!ely8 you9ll 6e one ste" ahead of the 'ame7 ;ou9ll find that the 6est way to 'o in limit hold9em is "layin' in a strai'htforward manner8 that is8 6ettin' and raisin' when you actually ha!e some kind of a hand7 Fancy Play +hen I say that you should "lay strai'htforward8 that isn9t to 6e confused with "redicta6le7 ;ou still need to think a6out "layin' dece"ti!ely8 6ut you want to a!oid what Mike )aro terms Fancy Play Syndrome =FPS?7 FPS leads to missed 6ets8 'i!in' away free cards8 or e!en "layin' a hand in such an unorthodo fashion that it actually costs you a "otF More often than not8 fancy "lays will minimi%e your "rofit on a hand7 Sure8 when these "lays work you feel like a 'enius8 6ut you9re 6etter off "layin' a more fundamentally sound 'ame7 (efore we 'o any further8 I want to hel" you with a common scenario that arises when you are "layin' fundamentally well7 Let9s look at an e am"le and 'o from there7 ;ou are holdin' -E HE in early "osition7 ;ou are the initial "re>flo" raiser and 'et two callers 6ehind you8 as well as the 6i' 6lind7 Now the "erfect flo" comes downK -E 2E 4E7 So here you are with to" "air and to" kicker7 The 6i' 6lind checks8 so it9s your turn7 Since you were the "re>flo" raiser8 it9s natural for you to 6et here7 The fancy "lay8 the check8 mi'ht work8 6ut it won9t necessarily win you any more money than a 6et would7 ;ou ha!e a stron' hand8 and a check>raise would only 'i!e away information7 The ri'ht mo!e here is to sim"ly 6et7 Of course8 a check mi'ht do more harm than 'i!in' away information Y it could cost you the "otF The ri'ht free card mi'ht 'i!e your o""onent a 6i' draw on the turn7 ;ou9re 6etter off takin' what9s in the middle and 'ettin' rid of hands like 13E <E7 If your o""onent was lucky enou'h to 'et a free card with that hand8 he could "ick u" as many as fifteen outs a'ainst you 'oin' in to the ri!er7 -n 0E on the turn8 for e am"le8 would "ose a serious threat to your hand7 +hat else could ha""enE ;ou could miss a !alua6le 6et7 Many of your o""onents mi'ht call once more on the flo" with a hand like 13>13 or e!en 0>
1$1

47 Say it 'ets checked around on the flo" and a kin' hits the turn7 +ith a 6et now8 you will "ro6a6ly lose 6oth the 13>13 and the 0>48 costin' you two 6ets on the flo"8 not to mention the fact that you allowed 6oth of your o""onents to draw out on you for free7 So in this situation8 the fancy "lay8 the check8 could do one of three thin'sK =1? ,i!e away the stren'th of your hand7 =$? )ost you the entire "ot7 =.? Miss 6ets on the flo"7 On the fli" side8 what could you 'ainE ;ou may 6e a6le to 'et a check>raise in and look cool:whoo"ee7 Stick to strai'htforward "lay8 and lea!e the fancy "lays to the hotshots7 +hen you are the "re>flo" raiser8 you should usually 6et the flo" whether you like it or not7 Of course8 there are se!eral e ce"tions to this rule7 5emem6er8 in "oker there are !ery few rules that are set in stoneD always 6ettin' the flo" when you raised "re>flo" isn9t one of them7 Two ->H Scenarios If you ha!e -E HE in a multiway "ot and the flo" comes 1>0>4 of diamonds8 sa!e your money and Bust 'i!e u"7 ;ou can9t run this hand throu'h often enou'h to make a 6et "rofita6le7 Let9s look at a less o6!ious and more difficult e am"leK +ith your -E HE a'ain8 you raise after two "eo"le lim"ed in8 and 'et one "layer 6ehind you to call So it9s four>handed to see a flo" of /E 1E 0E7 E!en if the first two lim"ers check to you8 I would still ad!ise you to check more often than not7 This flo" Bust connects with too many hands that "layers would lim" in with8 such as 4> 138 />/8 4>48 ->18 and a6out a million others7 If there is a 6et on the flo"8 you should "ro6a6ly 'i!e u"7 Sure8 you may 6e foldin' the 6est hand e!ery now and then8 6ut foldin' here is the safe8 strai'htforward "lay7 Now let9s look at a situation where you mi'ht decide to continue after the flo"7 +hat if8 in the same scenario8 e!eryone checks to the "layer in last "osition8 who 6ets and sees 6oth lim"ers fold7 ;ou ha!e a decision to make7 The last "layer may only 6e on a strai'ht steal here8 Bust takin' ad!anta'e of his "osition7 (ut then a'ain8 may6e he9s 'ot a hand7 Here is where you9ll
1$$

need all of your "oker skills to answer some im"ortant JuestionsK If he held a hi'h "air 6efore the flo"8 would he ha!e reraised youE +ould this "layer call your raise with a mar'inal hand that hits this flo"E +ould he 6et here with a hand like ->< or ->13E Is he a ha6itual 6luffer8 who always 6ets when checked to re'ardless of his handE Or is this "layer a careful 6ettor8 who only 6ets with stron' handsE Once you9!e answered the im"ortant Juestions8 you9ll ha!e a much 6etter idea a6out whether or not you should take one off8 ho"in' to catch an ace or a kin'8 or e!en whether or not you should call your o""onent down all the way to the ri!er7 In 'eneral8 if you9!e answered your Juestions a6out your o""onent and still ha!en9t found !ery stron' reasons to "roceed8 you should fold7 So now that we are all warmed u"8 let9s look more closely at the "lay of s"ecific hands on the flo"7 Playin' (i' Pairs -s I mentioned "re!iously8 you should "lay 6i' "airs a''ressi!ely 6efore the flo" in order to narrow down the field7 (i' "airs do e tremely well a'ainst one or two "layers8 6ut the more o""onents you ha!e8 the more likely it is that your 6i' "air will 'et cracked7 If the flo" doesn9t 'o your way8 it9s im"ortant to a!oid 'ettin' too attached to your hand and fold in the face of too much action7 Ima'ine you ha!e two 6lack aces in a multiway "ot and the flo" comes />1>0 of diamonds7 I don9t know a6out you8 6ut I really don9t like this flo" for two 6lack aces7 Now8 you shouldn9t necessarily fold on the flo"8 6ut if the action 'ets hot and hea!y8 you can "ro6a6ly assume that you are dead or that your o""onents at the !ery least ha!e se!eral outs a'ainst you7 -'ain8 e!en if you9re ->- is 'ood at the moment8 a 28 I8 48 138 any diamond8 or an 0 could seal your fate7 -nother scary flo" for aces is one that contains hi'h strai'ht cards like <>13>07 +hile aces are 'ood here a hi'h "ercenta'e of the time8 there are se!eral cards that could "otentially kill you on the turnK 18 48 138 Back8 Jueen8 kin'7 ;ou shouldn9t muck those aces Bust yet8 6ut you should consider takin' your "edal off the 'as until you see the turn card7 If the turn card is safe:$8 .8 28 etc7:you mi'ht want to 'et a''ressi!e and try to eliminate "layers7 Howe!er8 if a scare card comes on the turn:a 4 or a
1$.

Jueen would 6e the scariest:and the action 'ets hea!y8 you should consider foldin'7 +hile Q>Q is still considered a 6i' "air8 there are e!en more trou6le flo"s to that hand than to ->-7 In addition to all the scary flo"s ->- faces8 any ace or kin' on the flo" mi'ht do you in8 as well7 Let9s say you raise with the Q>Q and are reraised "re>flo"7 Now the flo" comes <>13>28 'i!in' you an o!er"air7 Only "ro6lem is8 what can you 6eatE +ell sure you ha!e ->H or ->Q 6eat8 6ut if your o""onent has ->-8 H>H8 <><8 or 13>138 you are in "retty 6ad sha"e7 -'ain you shouldn9t automatically fold in these situations8 6ut it9s "ro6a6ly 6est to "lay a small "ot and sim"ly call your o""onent down7 If he does ha!e a 6i' ace8 then you are sim"ly lettin' your o""onent 6luff his chi"s off to you7 True8 you may 6e missin' some 6ets alon' the way8 6ut that9s 6etter than 'ettin' in a whole lot of 6ets when you are dead to two outs7 Flo""in' To" Pair +hen flo""in' to" "air8 your main o6Becti!e should 6e to narrow down the field8 while "unishin' those o""onents that are drawin' to 6eat you7 -''ression8 which is the theme of this entire cha"ter8 is key in this situation7 Of course8 there are certain ty"es of flo"s that you should "lay carefully and other8 safer flo"s that can 6e "layed full s"eed ahead7 Let9s first take a look at some of the more friendly flo"s7 Safe Flo"s7 - scenario mentioned earlier is a 'ood e am"le of a safe flo"7 Say you ha!e ->H and hit an ->4>2 rain6ow flo"7 There is no le'itimate strai'ht draw out there8 and no flush draw either7 -t this "oint8 only two "air or tri"s would ha!e you 6eat7 This is a 'reat flo" for your hand8 and ideally you9d 6e u" a'ainst a "layer holdin' a hand like ->Q8 -><8 or e!en ->137 ;ou are a hu'e fa!orite a'ainst any of these hands8 as they can only 6eat you if they hit one of three remainin' kickers on the turn or the ri!er7 Of course8 if either one of those cards is a kin'8 they sim"ly can9t win unless they ha""en to make a 6ackdoor flush7 This is a dream situation for you8 not only 6ecause it9s unlikely that you9ll lose8 6ut you also stand to win se!eral 6ets from your o""onent7 How you 'o a6out doin' this de"ends on se!eral !aria6les8 includin' your ta6le ima'e8 your o""onent9s tendencies8 your "osition8 and so on7 ;ou mi'ht e!en choose to make a fancy "lay on a flo"8 6ut remem6er
1$2

that I recommend strai'htforward8 6rute a''ression7 If you "lay the hand a''ressi!ely you should 6e a6le to win the ma imum amount of 6ets8 or close to it7 Let9s look at a more detailed e am"le of how you9d 'o a6out "layin' this hand in a s"ecific situation7 Say you are in the 6i' 6lind with an ->H7 "layer in first "osition raises and 'ets two callers7 )allin' here will hel" dis'uise your hand more than raisin' will8 and since you can9t really narrow down the field any more8 callin' is "ro6a6ly the 6est way to "lay it7 Okay8 so your hand is -E HE8 and the flo" comes -E 2E 4E7 ;ou9re first to act7 This is a 'ood o""ortunity for you to 'et a check>raise in7 Since there was an early "osition raiser8 it9s likely he9ll 6et this flo" whether or not he has the ace7 (y check raisin'8 you9ll 6e a6le to tra" anyone who called on the flo"7 Of course8 this is not the only way to "lay this hand8 6ut it is certainly the 6est or the second>6est way to 'o7 ;our other o"tion would 6e to lead ri'ht into the "re>flo" raiser8 ho"in' that he raises you with a weaker ace8 thus 'i!in' you the o""ortunity to make it three 6ets7 +hat method you choose will once a'ain de"end on those !aria6les we9!e discussedK ta6le ima'e8 your o""onents9 tendencies8 history8 and so on7 Let9s mo!e you to late "osition with this same hand and same flo"8 6ut this time8 only you and an early "osition raiser remain7 Holdin' -E HE8 you decide to smooth call here8 6ecause you know your o""onent is a ti'ht "layer who only raises with "remium hands7 The flo" comes -E 2E 4E8 and your o""onent 6ets into you7 There is a chance he also has ->H or e!en ->-8 6ut it9s more likely that he holds a hand like ->Q8 -><8 or may6e H>H8 Q>Q8 or <> <7 Since this is such a safe flo"8 smooth callin' on the flo" mi'ht Bust work7 If your o""onent 6ets the turn8 you can 'o ahead and raise him now that the 6et has dou6led7 +hat if he checks the turnE +ell8 there 'oes the raise>the>turn "lan7 This is another 'ood illustration of the im"ortance of a''ressi!e "lay on the flo"s7 -'ainst most o""onents8 the raise the turn "lay will only work when your o""onent actually flo" an ace as well7 If he doesn9t8 he may 6e leery of your call on the flo" and decide to shut down on the turn7 So the raise>the>turn "lay has some merit8 6ut I recommend usin' it sim"ly as a !ariation "lay
1$I

a'ainst an o""onent that may 6e 'ettin' a line on your "lay7 Otherwise8 you should "lay these flo"s in a strai'htforward manner7 *an'erous Flo"s7 - dan'erous flo" for to" "air is one that "uts your hand in Beo"ardy due to the "resence of a strai'ht or flush draw7 *e"endin' how hi'h your to" "air is8 you ha!e to consider the added risk of an o!ercard hittin' the turn7 O6!iously8 more flo"s are dan'erous to a hand like 0>0 than to a hand like ->-7 For this reason8 if you are holdin' 0>0 or the like8 it9s e tremely im"ortant to narrow the field on the flo" 6y "layin' a''ressi!ely8 ho"in' your o""onents won9t draw out to o!ercards7 ;ou should 6e a''ressi!e with the ->- hand as well8 6ut for different reasons7 +ith ->-8 your 'oal is to 'et more money in the "ot7 Let9s look at an e am"le7 ;ou are on the 6utton with the 0>13 of hearts7 ;ou lim" in8 as do two other "layers7 The small 6lind also calls8 makin' it a fi!e> way action "ot7 The flo" comes 0E 2E .E8 and all check to you7 ;ou should always 6et here7 Now8 I know I9!e told you that there are only a few a6solutes in "oker:this is one of them7 ;ou sim"ly cannot 'i!e free cards to hands like Q><8 ->I8 H>138 etc7 So you 6et and 'et two callers7 -t this "oint8 you should feel 'ood a6out ha!in' the 6est hand7 No one check>raised8 so it9s unlikely that anyone holds an o!er"air or e!en an 0 with a 6etter kicker7 The real threat to your hand is an o!ercard on the turn or an o""onent slow> "layin' a set8 lookin' to check>raise you on the turn7 ;ou should always ha!e an idea a6out what your o""onents are 'oin' to call you with on the flo"8 so that you9ll ha!e a 6etter idea of what to do on the turn7 Let9s say you are on the 6utton with the same hand =0E 13E? in the e act same situation =the flo" comes 0E 2E .E?8 only this time some6ody leads into you on the flo"7 (ased on what we9!e discussed earlier8 you should know that a raise is your 6est o"tion7 ;our 'oal here is to dri!e out the o!ercards and "lay the hand heads>u"7 5aisin' will also 'i!e you a 6etter idea a6out what the lead 6ettor9s hand is7 If he reraises you8 chances are he has your "air of ei'hts 6eat7 Of course8 if you "ick u" no hel" on the turn8 it is time to make a difficult decision8 one 6ased on the read you9!e acJuired on your o""onent7 If he is a conser!ati!e -()>ty"e "layer8 he "ro6a6ly does ha!e an o!er"air8 a set8 or an 0 with a
1$/

6etter kicker7 If he is a fast8 loose8 and a''ressi!e ty"e of "layer8 he may ha!e a hand like 0>48 ->28 or e!en a draw like I>/7 So in closin'8 a''ression on the flo" here hel"s narrow the field and defines your o""onent9s hand a little more clearly7 ;ou9ll find that this will 6e the case in most situations when "layin' limit hold9em7 Flo""in' Middle Pair +hen flo""in' middle "air8 your choice of strate'y hea!ily de"ends on the num6er of acti!e "layers7 The more "layers in the "ot8 the less likely it is that your hand is 'ood enou'h to hold u"7 In a heads>u" "ot8 you are sim"ly 'oin' to ha!e to take this hand to the ri!er more often than not7 The only time you should fold is if the 6oard came e tremely 6ad on the turn and ri!er8 or if you ha!e a 'ood read on your o""onent and know that he wouldn9t 6et with a hand you could 6eat7 ;our kicker should also 6e a key consideration as well7 ,enerally8 the hi'her the kicker the 6etter8 6ut it mi'ht 6e e!en 6etter if your kicker "resented you with added outs:for e am"le8 if you held 1>0 and the flo" came />1>137 In this case8 a 4 would make you a strai'ht8 while an 0 would make you a dan'erous two "air:or your kicker mi'ht e!en 'i!e you a flush draw7 Furthermore8 say you held Q>< with the Back of hearts8 and the flo" came H> Q>28 all hearts7 In this case8 you mi'ht ha!e the 6est hand with the "air of Jueens8 6ut if not8 the Back of hearts 'i!es you a 6acku" "lan7 It9s also im"ortant to consider what may ha""en if you do hit your kicker7 )ould it com"lete the hand of one of your o""onentsE Let9s say you held HE 13E and the flo" came QE 13E 0E7 +ith a flush and strai'ht draw "resent8 you could hit your kicker 6ut still need hel"7 The HE of hearts would 6e considered a 'ood card for your hand8 6ut it could also 6e the worst card in the deck for youF It would fill any flush8 as well as make the ->< strai'ht:not to mention the "ossi6ility of kin's and Jueens8 or the fact that you could 6e u" a'ainst a made strai'ht or a set already7 In a situation like this8 you9d want to "roceed with caution8 that is8 if you continue with the hand at all7 *es"ite this8 added outs are always 'ood8 e!en if some of them aren9t li!e outs7 That9s es"ecially true in heads>u" "ots7
1$1

Playin' Middle Pair from the (linds:Heads>u" Pots This Bust mi'ht 6e one of the trickiest scenarios in limit hold9em7 ;ou are usually out of "osition with a mar'inal hand7 The 'reat "layers thri!e in these situations8 while a!era'e "layers are often o!erwhelmed 6y them7 There are se!eral different ways to a""roach "layin' middle "air from the 6linds7 -'ain8 the num6er of "layers is the key8 as are the raiser9s tendencies8 the "osition the raise came from8 and so on7 -nswer these Juestions each time you are faced with this scenario and you9ll 6e one ste" ahead of the 'ame7 Once you9!e 'athered this information8 you9ll ha!e to decide whether to lead> 6et8 check>raise8 check>fold8 or check>call7 Let9s look at an e am"leK ;ou ha!e 13>0 in the 6i' 6lind8 and a "layer on the 6utton raises it8 so the two of you see a flo" of H>0>2 rain6ow7 Foldin' in this situation is far too weak a "lay7 So8 that lea!es you with three le'itimate o"tionsK check>call8 check>raise8 or 6et ri'ht out7 This is a 'ood o""ortunity to 'o for a check>raise7 -s the "re>flo" raiser8 your o""onent should 6et re'ardless of his holecards8 and 6y check>raisin'8 you9d also 6e re"resentin' a kin'7 If your o""onent has ->< in this s"ot8 he would 6e correct in callin' another 6et on the flo"7 Howe!er8 since you are re"resentin' a kin'8 he mi'ht fold8 thinkin' he can only win if he catches an ace7 +hen you check>raise8 you are riskin' two small 6ets on the flo" and are committed to one more when you lead out at the turn8 so if you 'o for the check>raise when you are u" a'ainst a 6etter hand8 it9s usually a more e "ensi!e loss than it would ha!e 6een had you Bust led out7 If your o""onent has a hand like ->H8 you are 'oin' to 'et "unished7 (ut8 that9s not 'oin' to ha""en often enou'h for you to worry too much a6out it7 If you are really a!erse to takin' risks8 you can minimi%e your losses =as well as your "rofits? 6y leadin' out at the flo"7 If you lead out and your o""onent has nothin'8 you9ll likely 6e losin' a 6et:the one your o""onent "ro6a6ly would ha!e made:on the flo"7 If he raises you8 he "ro6a6ly has at least a "air8 6ut not necessarily one that 6eats ei'hts7 Some 6elie!e that you 'ain more information a6out your o""onents 6y leadin' out rather than check>raisin'8 6ut I disa'ree7 ;our 6et on the flo"8
1$0

known as the weak lead8 doesn9t do much to define your hand at all8 which mi'ht make your o""onent may "lay 1>0 a''ressi!ely8 thinkin' it9s the 6est hand7 -fter all8 he may 6e thinkin'8 @If the 6i' 6lind has a kin'8 why wouldn9t he ha!e check>raisedEA -'ainst a tou'h "layer8 the weak lead does little to define his hand8 thou'h leadin' here with middle "air mi'ht 6e the ri'ht mo!e7 It all de"ends on your o""onent9s im"ression of your "lay7 +hat has he seen you do thus farE +hen you led out in the "ast8 did you always turn o!er a drawE If so8 a lead here mi'ht fool your o""onent into thinkin' that you are on a semi>6luff8 and he mi'ht call you down the whole way with ace>hi'h7 *ecidin' whether to lead or check>raise adds dece"tion to your 'ame7 Situations like these are 'reat o""ortunities to kee" your o""onents off 6alance7 ;ou want to use the information "layers 'ather a6out your "layin' style a'ainst them7 If they think you will 6et with nothin'8 6et with somethin'7 If they think you will only check>raise with somethin'8 check> raise with nothin'F <ust stay aware of your ta6le ima'e and a!oid 6ein' too "redicta6le7 Think of it like a 'ame of "a"er>rock>scissors7 @+ell8 he went rock two hands in a row8 I think he9ll 'o "a"er this time7A Or e!en8 @I went scissors three times in a row8 now my o""onent will think I9ll 'o for it four times in a rowFA If the raise comes from early "osition8 the situation chan'es dramatically7 If you ha!e that same 0>13 on the H>0>2 flo"8 you mi'ht decide that you9ll 'et more information if you lead ri'ht out7 If you are raised8 you should "ro6a6ly 'i!e your o""onent credit for a kin' or may6e e!en a "ocket "air like <><7 If you don9t im"ro!e on the turn8 you should "ro6a6ly let it 'o7 Of course8 if you make two "air or tri"s8 it would 6e the "erfect o""ortunity to 'o for the check>raise8 6ut since it9s so much more likely now that your o""onent actually has somethin'8 it mi'ht 6e safer to lead out7 Playin' Middle Pair with Multiway Pots Thin's 'et e!en more trou6lesome with your middle "airs when more "layers are in the "ot7 If you are in the 6linds8 you9ll ha!e to "lay the hand from the worst "osition "ossi6le on the flo"8 turn8 and ri!er7 If there is any real action on the flo"8 you should take the safe route and dum" your hands7 -'ain8 e!en
1$4

if you ha!e the 6est hand on the flo"8 there is a !ery 'ood chance that it won9t 6e 6y the time the ri!er card hits7 In a multiway "ot8 you should usually check the flo" to see what de!elo"s7 If it9s 6et and raised in front of you8 the decision to fold has 6een made for you7 Howe!er8 if it looks like there is a 'ood chance no one has to" "air8 you should commit to your read and 'et a''ressi!e7 If the flo" isn9t too scary and it9s checked around8 you should fire at the turn7 If a "layer in a fa!ora6le "osition 6ets8 check>raise to isolate him7 Let9s look at another situation7 ;ou find yourself in the 6i' 6lind with Q>/ off7 Two early "osition "layers lim" in8 as do the 6utton and small 6lind7 The flo" comes <E /E $E7 The small 6lind checks8 as do you7 In fact8 all check to the 6utton who 6ets7 Let9s assume the 6utton is an a''ressi!e "layer who will 6et all ty"es of hands7 +hat is your "layE 5aise7 ;es8 I reali%e there are still se!eral "layers to act 6ehind you8 6ut since they all checked the flo"8 they "ro6a6ly don9t ha!e much7 Otherwise they would ha!e 6et themsel!es7 True8 they could 6e check>raisin'8 6ut in order to 6ecome a to" limit hold9em "layer8 you are 'oin' to ha!e to take some calculated risks7 )onsider how many 'ood thin's can ha""en if you raise7 +hat if the first lim"er actually had 1>1E That hand has you 6eat8 6ut is he willin' to call two 6ets8 ho"in' that you don9t ha!e BacksE )hances are8 you9ll 'et him to lay down the 6est hand7 E!en if you are wron' and the ori'inal 6ettor does ha!e the Backs8 you could still hit a Jueen or a / on the turn7 Now if the 6et were to come from early "osition8 raisin' after you checked would 6e dan'erous7 For e am"le8 if the first lim"er 6ets and all call8 it mi'ht 6e a 'ood idea to Bust call the 6et and ho"e to make two "air or tri"s7 Playin' Middle Pair from Early Position If you are enterin' the "ot from early "osition8 chances are you9!e raised comin' in7 If you ha""en to flo" middle "air8 you should continue with the lead since you were the a''ressor 6efore the flo"7 Let9s say you9!e raised comin' in with ->Q and the flo" comes H>Q>$7 ,o ahead and 6et if no one else has 6et in front of you8 re'ardless of the num6er of "layers in the "ot7 (y 6ettin'8 you9ll 'et a 6etter idea of whether or not you ha!e the 6est hand at
1.3

the moment7 If you 'et raised on the flo"8 it9s time to ree!aluate the situation7 -'ain8 you9ll ha!e to ask yourself some Juestions7 +ould my o""onent raise with a drawE +ould my o""onent raise with a Jueen and a worse kickerE If the answer to 6oth Juestions is no8 you ha!e to 'i!e your o""onent credit for at least a "air of kin's7 ;ou should still call one 6et on the flo"8 thou'h8 and if you don9t im"ro!e on the turn8 you should "ro6a6ly fold7 Let9s say you decide to check>raise rather than lead out7 Now the Juestions you9ll ha!e to ask yourself are more difficult to answer7 If one of your o""onents 6et after you showed weakness 6y checkin'8 he could ha!e a num6er of hands7 He may decide to 6et with anythin' from H>Q8 4>48 Q>138 -><8 or <>137 Fi'urin' out which hand is 6ein' 6et is a difficult task7 Had you Bust 6et out on the flo" as I recommended8 you9d ha!e a lot more information to 'o on8 which in turn would hel" you make correct decision7 Let9s look at a sli'htly different situation7 -'ain8 you are in early "osition with the ->Q on a H>Q>$ flo"7 This time8 the 6i' 6lind 6ets into you7 +hat nowE Lnless you ha!e information that indicates immense stren'th from the 6i' 6lind8 you should 'o ahead and raise himF If you know that this "layer always has at least to" "air when he 6ets8 foldin' would 6e correct7 Howe!er8 most "layers don9t "lay that way7 - ty"ical o""onent mi'ht ha!e a Q>$8 <>138 -><8 or the like8 and is tryin' to "ick u" the "ot on the flo"7 There is an e cellent way to find outK raise7 ;our raise accom"lishes two thin'sK =1? Narrows down the fieldD =$? Hel"s define the 6ettor9s hand7 If the lead 6ettor Bust calls your raise8 there is a !ery 'ood chance your "air of Jueens with an ace kicker is the 6est hand7 If this is not the case8 and your o""onent has somethin' like H>I8 you still ha!e fi!e outs to im"ro!e with an ace or a Jueen7 Playin' Middle Pair from Late Position +hether or not you are in a heads>u" "ot or a multiway "ot8 you should usually 6et middle "air when you o""onents check to you on the flo"7 For e am"le8 say you ha!e ->/8 and the flo" comes H>/>$ rain6ow7 Since e!eryone has checked to you8 it looks like your "air of si es is the 6est hand
1.1

here7 Of course8 if you 'et check>raised8 you9ll 6e faced with a difficult dilemma7 Since you are 6ettin' in last "osition8 a "layer check>raisin' you doesn9t necessarily ha!e to ha!e you 6eat7 He may 6e testin' the waters8 ho"in' that you are on a steal7 If the small 6lind had />18 he may raise to isolate your likely 6luff7 -s discussed in the section on "layin' middle "air from the 6linds8 a 'ood "layer will often make this "lay a'ainst you when you9!e 6et from steal "osition7 ;our 'oal then8 is to fi'ure out what ty"e of "layer you are u" a'ainst and "lay accordin'ly7 If you are check>raised 6y a ti'ht "layer who lim"ed from first "osition8 chances are he has the kin'7 ;ou should still call one more 6et8 ho"in' to hit an ace or a /8 6ut if you miss8 6e "re"ared to dum" your hand7 So what do you do if you flo" middle "air8 and it9s already 6et in front of youE -'ain8 as is true with most "oker situations8 it de"ends on a num6er of factors7 Let9s look at a cou"le of e am"les7 E am"le OneK In a four>way "ot you hold />/ on the 6utton7 The flo" comes HE 2E HE8 and the "layer to your immediate ri'ht 6ets7 In this s"ot8 you9ll want to raise for four reasonsK =1? To narrow the fieldD =$? To find out if any of the other "layers ha!e a kin'D =.? ;our />/ is likely the 6est handD =2? ;ou may knock a hi'her "air than yours out of the "ot7 Lnless you are u" a'ainst an e tremely careful "layer8 raisin' here is your 6est o"tion7 The lead 6ettor may ha!e a 28 a flush draw8 or e!en a hand like ->13:or nothin' at all7 He certainly doesn9t need a kin' to make a 6et here7 E am"le TwoK In a fi!e>way "ot made u" of two lim"ers8 two 6linds8 and yourself on the 6utton with <>0 of hearts8 the flo" comes 13E 0E /E7 E!eryone checks to the "layer on your immediate ri'ht who 6ets7 So you raise8 ri'htE +ron'7 I think this 6oard is a little too scary7 I9d su''est a!oidin' this dan'erous flo" and mo!in' onto the ne t hand7 If your o""onent ha""ens to ha!e the flush or strai'ht already8 you9d need two "erfect cards to win7 Flo""in' a Set
1.$

;our a""roach to "layin' sets should de"end on the te ture of the flo"7 Make your decision as to whether or not you can set a tra" or whether you9ll 6e forced to "lay it fast 6ased u"on how dan'erous the 6oard looks7 The scarier the 6oard8 the more a''ressi!e you should 6e7 *on9t worry too much a6out a''ressi!e "lay costin' you action7 Stran'ely enou'h8 many of your o""onents will mistake your a''ression for weaknessF Here is an e am"leK Let9s say you lim" in from middle "osition with />/7 The flo" comes HE /E 1E8 and the "ot is raised 6ehind you7 +ith fi!e of you in the "ot8 the first two "layers check to you7 - 6usy flo" like this is the "erfect o""ortunity for you to ram and Bam the flo" with your set of si es8 ma imi%in' your "rofit7 Try 6ettin' ri'ht out into the raiser and see what ha""ens7 If the "re>flo" raiser has a hand like ->-8 -> H8 or e!en Q>Q8 he may decide to "rotect his hand and raise your 6et7 This will 'i!e you the o""ortunity to raise it once more on the flo"8 6uildin' a si%ea6le "ot7 (y "layin' the hand strai'htforward:raisin' with what9s likely the 6est hand:you may 'et e!en more action than if you had slow>"layed it7 -fter all8 the "re>flo" raiser may "ut you on a hand like H> or e!en a flush draw or strai'ht draw8 thinkin' that you would ha!e checked a set7 -'ain8 "lay your sets accordin' to the flo" te ture8 your "osition8 and your o""onents9 tendencies7 So what a6out settin' a tra"E Let9s take a look at another e am"le7 From middle "osition with />/8 you raise and are reraised 6y the 6utton7 -ll others fold8 and you and the 6utton take a flo" of 13>/>$ rain6ow heads>u"7 ;ou ha!e numerous o"tions in this situation7 ;ou could 6et8 ho"in' to reraiseD 6et and Bust call a raise now8 and then check>raise on the turnD check>raiseD or check>call8 and then check>raise the turn7 This is where "layin' hold9em 'ets fun7 ;ou9!e 'ot your o""onent ri'ht where you want him and will 6e usin' one of these "lays to make him "ay the ma imum7 So how do you fi'ure out which one works the 6estE -ll of these o"tions are 'ood8 so you ha!e to 6ase your decision on your o""onent9s tendencies8 as well as his im"ression of you7 The hands you9!e "layed a'ainst him should 6e considered when decidin' on a course of action7 Let9s say you know your o""onent to 6e an e tremely a''ressi!e "layer who
1..

won9t 'i!e away any free cards7 In this case you know that a check>call followed 6y a check>raise on the turn will work7 +hat if your o""onent likes to kee" the lead on the flo"E In this case8 you mi'ht choose to 6et ri'ht out and look to 'et e tra 6ets in on the flo"7 Or you mi'ht check>raise the flo" and try to win e!en more 6ets if you think your o""onent is a''ressi!e enou'h to reraise after you check>raise7 +hate!er you decide to do8 make sure you don9t 'et stuck "layin' a made hand the same way e!ery time7 Lsin' all of the tools a!aila6le will hel" you in !arious other situations as well7 HowE +ell8 let9s say you used the check>call8 check>raise on the turn "lay7 Once your o""onents see this8 they will now 6e worried that when you check twice8 it doesn9t necessarily mean you ha!e a weak hand7 That way8 when you actually are on a draw8 you may win yourself a free card7 Flo""in' a set in "osition 'i!es you e!en more leeway than if you had "layers 6ehind you7 In "osition8 you ne!er ha!e to worry a6out missin' a 6et and 'i!in' away a free card7 (ein' in "osition also allows you to safely set tra"s as well7 For e am"le8 say you lim" on the 6utton with .>. in a four>way action "ot8 and the flo" comes H>0>. rain6ow7 This would 6e a !ery safe flo" to smooth call and ho"e to raise the turn7 Flo""in' Flush *raws There are se!eral !aria6les that will affect how you "roceed with flush draws on the flo"K your "osition8 the num6er of "layers8 the te ture of the 'ame ="assi!e or a''ressi!e?8 whether or not you ha!e the nut draw8 where the "re> flo" raise came from8 and so on7 *e"endin' on the !aria6les8 the correct strate'y mi'ht 6e to "lay the hand !ery a''ressi!ely8 !ery cautiously8 or somewhere in 6etween7 Monster Flush *raws If you were to flo" an o"en>ended strai'ht flush draw8 you9d most likely want to 'et as many 6ets in on the flo" as "ossi6le since your hand would 6e fa!ored o!er most of the hands you9d 6e u" a'ainst7 ;ou would certainly 6e a money fa!orite re'ardless of the num6er of "layers in the "ot7 For instance8 if you held 1>0 of hearts and the flo" came IE /E <E8 you should try to 'et as much money in the "ot as you can7 Howe!er8 sim"ly raisin' and reraisin'
1.2

may not necessarily 6e the 6est way to do that7 ;ou want more money in the "ot8 sure8 6ut you also want as many "layers to stay in the "ot as "ossi6le7 If it9s checked to you8 you should always 6et the hand7 Howe!er8 if the 6et comes in front of you and there are still three "layers to act 6ehind you8 you ha!e a dilemma7 5aise or callE If you raise you mi'ht knock out "layers you want in the "ot7 In this situation8 you should "ro6a6ly Bust call and in!ite others to do the same7 If they raiseM'reatF That9s not 'oin' to hurt your hand one 6it7 In fact8 if a "layer raises 6ehind you and all call8 you may e!en consider Bammin' the "otF Of course8 the "ro6lem is that the more "layers that are in the "ot8 the 6etter the chances are that one of them has a 6i''er flush draw than yours7 No matter8 you can still hit the strai'ht or the two key hearts to fill your strai'ht flush7 Playin' monster draws a''ressi!ely adds dece"tion to your 'ame at a6solutely no cost7 Often times that draw of yours will actually 6e a fa!orite o!er your o""onent9s hand anyway7 Let9s say you held -E HE on a flo" of $E 1E 13E8 and your o""onent held QE QE7 *es"ite the fact that the Q>Q a""ears to 6e leadin' at this "oint8 your two o!ercards and a flush draw is actually the fa!orite to win the "otF Or let9s say you "ut your o""onent on a "air of aces while you hold the 4E 13E to a flo" of 0E 13E <E7 -'ain8 all you ha!e is a "air of tens8 6ut with all those outs you should 6e ha""y to "ut in as many 6ets as the aces would like7 In this situation there are twenty cards that hel" you8 and you ha!e two chances to hit one7 That9s what I call a 'ood s"ot7 +hat a6out another monster draw8 like -E HE on a flo" of -E /E 13EE Here a'ain8 you should Bam the "ot:ca" it if you can7 True8 you mi'ht 6e 6eat at this "oint8 6ut e!en so8 a s"ade that doesn9t "air the 6oard makes you the nuts7 ;ou should lead out if it9s u" to you8 or raise and reraise if you 'et the o""ortunity7 In some cases8 it mi'ht 6e 6etter for you to set a tra" with this hand8 6ut as a 'eneral rule8 you don9t want to slow>"lay it7 Mar'inal Flush *raws So what ha""ens when you don9t flo" such a monster drawE -ll of the a6o!e e am"les are dream hands7 -ny monkey can "lay hands like those7 +hat se"arates the really 'ood "layers from the rest is how they "lay mar'inal
1.I

flush draws in mar'inal situations7 +hene!er you don9t ha!e the nut flush draw8 you are !ulnera6le to losin' a lot of 6ets7 To a!oid losin' the ma imum with less than stellar flush draws8 you should 6e a lot more cautious than you would with a monster draw7 If all you ha!e is a naked flush draw:meanin' you ha!e no other added outs :you don9t want to 'et in!ol!ed in a raisin' war7 ;ou should try to make a hand like this as chea"ly as "ossi6le8 and then if you do8 you are left ho"in' that no one else has a 6i''er flush draw than yours7 5emem6er now8 the more "layers and more action you see on the flo"8 the more likely it is that someone else is also drawin' to the flush7 In multiway "ots8 you really ha!e to "ay attention to the action7 It9s im"ortant to 'et a 'ood read on your o""onents when you are holdin' a small flush draw7 (ased on the flo" action8 you need to decide whether or not one of your o""onents has a 6etter draw than you and 'o with it7 To do this8 it hel"s to watch their 6ody lan'ua'e and to know their tendencies with drawin' hands in these situations7 ;ou should also 6e cautious when three of a suit flo"s8 say three hearts8 for e am"le7 In this situation8 you shouldn9t "roceed "ast the flo" in a multiway "ot without the nut draw7 E!en with the nut draw8 I9m not all that cra%y a6out this hand7 -fter all8 if a fourth heart hits the 6oard8 the flush would 6e o6!ious8 so it would 6e difficult to e tract any more 6ets from my o""onents7 O6!iously8 you shouldn9t fold an ace>hi'h flush draw8 6ut you don9t want to "ut in too much action unless you also flo""ed a "air or think your ace>hi'h mi'ht 6e the 6est hand7 -ny other flush draw should 6e thrown away on the flo" in a multiway "ot7 For e am"le8 if the flo" came HE /E 2E8 you "ro6a6ly shouldn9t "ut in another chi" with a hand like 13E <E7 Sure you ha!e a 13> hi'h flush draw8 6ut e!en if you make it8 kee" in mind that any ace8 Jueen8 or Back of hearts 6eats you7 If you are lucky enou'h to flo" a flush8 you want to make your o""onents "ay to outdraw you8 6ut you may 6e 6etter off doin' so on the turn7 How soE +ell8 let9s say you ha!e the IE /E on a 13E <E $E flo"7 -nyone with the ace of hearts is 'oin' nowhere7 1./

set or two "air are also 'oin' nowhere7 If you are in a looser lower limit 'ame8 you may not e!en 6e a6le 'et a hand like 4E 4E outF Not to mention the fact that anyone who9s flo""ed a 6i''er flush than you is certainly not 'oin' to fold if you "lay your hand a''ressi!ely7 +ell since a heart on the turn com"letely destroys your hand8 why "ut in e tra 6ets on the flo"E +hy not wait to see what de!elo"s on the turn and then 'et a''ressi!eE Playin' this way8 you9ll lose the minimum if a heart does hit the turn8 and you may 6e a6le to 6etter "rotect your hand with a timely raise on the turn7 If you ha""en to 'et reraised on the turn8 you are 'oin' to ha!e to use your readin' skills to fi'ure out whether or not your o""onent is 6luffin'7 If you know the "layer has to ha!e the nuts to make a raise like this8 it9s time to dum" your hand to the third 6et7 Howe!er8 if you are u" a'ainst a maniac8 you can for'et a6out foldin'7 In fact8 you mi'ht e!en want to make it four 6etsF I wouldn9t recommend that "lay too often thou'hD the situation has to 6e "erfect7 Normally8 Bust callin' down the maniac is acce"ta6le7 Playin' Flush *raws Out of Position Playin' mar'inal flush draws is e!en more difficult when you are out of "osition7 Let9s 'et strai'ht to an e am"leK ;ou are in the 6i' 6lind with 0>4 of hearts in a raised multiway "ot7 The flo" comes $E .E 13E7 In this situation you should "ro6a6ly Bust check to the ori'inal raiser8 es"ecially if he raised from early "osition7 If you were to 6et out8 there is a !ery 'ood chance that the initial raiser will raise you to knock out the "layers 6ehind him7 *on9t hel" him7 Hel" yourself 6y kee"in' them inF The worst>case scenario for you is that your 6et8 cou"led with your o""onent9s raise8 takes you to the turn heads>u"7 Not 'ood7 So now that you9!e checked8 the initial raiser 6ets8 and all others call7 It9s time to check>raise8 ri'htE +ron'7 If you check>raise8 you run the risk of the initial raiser three>6ettin' you in an attem"t to thin the field7 ;ou want a 6i' field8 so check>raisin' here is a no>no7 Playin' Flush *raws in Position *rawin' hands are much more "rofita6le when "layed from late "osition7 In late "osition8 you ha!e more control o!er what9s ha""enin' on any 'i!en street7 Since you 'et a chance to see what e!eryone in front of you does8 you will 6e 6etter eJui""ed to ma imi%e your "rofits or minimi%e your losses7 If
1.1

you flo" the nut flush draw8 you can Bam the "ot on the flo"7 Since you "layed so a''ressi!ely on the flo"8 chances are that your o""onents will check to you on the turn7 O6!iously8 if you make your hand you should 6et8 6ut if you miss8 you can take the free card7 <ust to make sure we are on the same "a'e8 let9s look at an e am"leK -n early "osition "layer raises8 there are two calls in 6etween8 and you call with ->13 of diamonds on the 6utton7 The flo" comes $E 4E QE7 The initial raiser 6ets8 and 6oth "layers in front of you call7 In this case8 you should raise8 e!en thou'h you run the risk of the initial raiser three>6ettin' it and knockin' out the other two "layers7 That wouldn9t 6e 'ood8 6ut it doesn9t ha""en often enou'h to ne'ate the !alue of the raise7 If the initial raiser reraises8 it9s not a com"lete disaster7 If he doesn9t8 you9!e succeeded in 'ettin' more money in the "ot8 and you may Bust "ick u" a free card for yourself on the turn if you miss7 Playin' Flush *raws Heads>L" - lot of the rules that would a""ly to "layin' flush draws in multiway "ots 'o ri'ht out the window when you are heads>u"7 Heads>u" "oker is like a "ower stru''le8 each "layer tryin' to 'et last action and force the other "layer to 6ack down7 More often than not in heads>u" "oker8 6oth "layers will flo" nothin'7 The "layer that wins the maBority of those "ots usually comes out ahead7 -lthou'h it has no real !alue at the time8 flo""in' a flush draw 'i!es you the o""ortunity to take the initiati!e on a hand with the ho"e of either semi>6luffin' your way to a flush or forcin' your o""onent to fold7 In heads>u" situations8 you can check>raise with a flush draw out of "osition7 In fact8 it9s often a !ery 'ood "lay7 Of course8 you can always 6et ri'ht out as well7 If you ha!e "osition8 raisin' your o""onent on the flo" or the turn mi'ht hel" you win the "ot8 whether you make the flush or not7 How you decide to "lay a flush draw heads>u" on the flo" de"ends on a few key factorsK your "osition8 the "re>flo" action8 your o""onent9s tendencies8 your ta6le ima'e8 and your "ersonal history with your o""onent7 Flo""in' Strai'ht *raws There are three ty"es of strai'ht draws that we will co!er in this sectionK o"en>ended draws8 dou6le 6elly>6uster strai'ht draws8 and 'utshots7 -n
1.0

o"en>ended strai'ht draw would look somethin' like thisK ;ou ha!e 4>13 and the flo" reads 1>0>$7 In this case8 you ha!e ei'ht cards that would make your strai'ht =four si es "lus four Backs?7 Then there is the dou6le 6elly>6usterK Say you ha!e 1>0 and the flo" comes 2> />137 (oth a I and a 4 would make you a strai'ht8 which 'i!es you the same amount of outs as the o"en>ended draw =ei'ht?7 This draw would 6e e actly the same as an o"en>ended strai'ht draw8 e ce"t these 6elly>6uster draws can 6e sli'htly more "rofita6le since the hand is less o6!ious7 Finally8 we ha!e the 'utshot strai'htK ;ou ha!e 4>13 and the flo" reads Q>0> $7 In this case8 you can only make your strai'ht with a Back7 The o"en>ended draws 'i!e you ei'ht outs8 while this 'utshot 'i!es you Bust four7 Playin' O"en>Ended and *ou6le (elly>(uster Strai'ht *raws These draws can 6e "layed much like a flush draw on the flo"8 e!en thou'h the flush draw 'i!es you nine outs8 while these draws only 'i!e you ei'ht7 There are other draw6acks that affect the strai'ht draw which don9t affect the flush draw7 If there is also a flush draw on the flo"8 you mi'ht make your strai'ht with the same card that fills your o""onent9s flush7 For e am"le8 you hold 4>13 and your o""onent holds ->. of hearts7 The flo" comes -E 1E 0E7 In this case8 you9d ha!e ei'ht cards to fill your strai'ht8 6ut notice that if you fill it with the /E or the <E8 you9d lose anyway8 lea!in' you with only si "ure outs7 E!en if you hit your nut strai'ht on the turn8 your hand is still !ulnera6le to any of nine remainin' hearts on the ri!er7 There are some hidden ad!anta'es to o"en>ended strai'ht draws7 +hen a third flush card hits on the 6oard8 it sets off alarm 6ells in your o""onents9 heads8 knowin' that any two hearts make a flush7 If they hold to" "air8 two "air8 or e!en a set8 a third flush card mi'ht cause them to "ut on the 6reaks7 Strai'ht draws aren9t Juite as o6!ious7 +hen you hit one8 you will likely 'ets lots of action from anyone holdin' an o!er"air8 two "air8 or a set7 If you flo" 13>4>/ to a hand like 1>08 an o""onent holdin' a hand like 13>13 will 'o to war with you7 ;ou would need to ha!e "recisely 1>0 to ha!e him 6eat8 which wouldn9t 6e the case with a flush 6oard7 If the 6oard is 13>1>$ of hearts8 that same "layer with a set of tens may 6e a little more cautious8 reali%in' that any hand with two hearts has him 6eat7
1.4

Semi>(luffin' with Strai'ht *raws -'ain8 if you 6et when two hearts flo"8 your o""onent mi'ht decide to "ut you on a flush draw7 Howe!er8 when you 6et a strai'ht draw on the flo"8 it9s not Juite as o6!ious7 This actually 'i!es you more semi>6luffin' o""ortunities than you would ha!e when 6ettin' flush draws7 Let9s look at an e am"le of a situation where you may decide to run a semi> 6luff with a strai'ht draw7 ;ou find />1 in the 6i' 6lind7 -n early "osition "layer raises8 and you call7 The 'ame is si >handed8 and you know that your o""onent would raise with any two cards 13 or hi'her8 most ace>hi'h hands8 and any "air7 =Later8 in the shorthanded section8 you9ll learn why this is not a 6ad strate'y7? The flo" comes 2>I>4 rain6ow8 'i!in' you an o"en>ended strai'ht draw7 This flo" 'i!es you an e cellent o""ortunity to win this "ot8 whether you make a hand or not7 ;ou can "lay it se!eral waysK 6et out8 check>raise8 or check>call7 Let9s look at each o"tionK (ettin' Out7 This "lay is acce"ta6le 6ut not e ce"tional7 (y leadin' out8 you should 6e a6le to 'ather some information a6out your o""onent9s hand7 If he folds8 'reatF If he decides to call8 it9s unlikely:6ut not im"ossi6le:that he has a "air of nines or 6etter7 More often than not8 he9ll 6e tryin' to make a "air on the turn with a hand like H><7 If he calls8 you should usually 6et the turn no matter what card hits7 If he raises you on the turn when you miss8 it9s time to make a strai'ht on the ri!erF If he raises you on the flo"8 you ha!e to 'i!e him credit for ha!in' you 6eatD after all8 you ha!e 1>hi'hF True he mi'ht 6e lookin' for a free card with ->H8 6ut as lon' as an ace or a kin' doesn9t hit the turn8 you will most likely 6e the one 'ettin' the free card7 )heck>5aisin'7 This mi'ht 6e an e!en stron'er "lay7 Since your o""onent came in raisin'8 he9ll usually kee" the lead and 6et the flo"7 (y check>raisin' him8 you are lettin' him know that you ha!e a 'ood hand and that you are 'oin' to fi'ht for this "ot7 If he has a hand like ->< he9ll "ro6a6ly take one off8 6ut if he misses on the turn8 you mi'ht 6e a6le to win it ri'ht there with a 6et7 In fact8 de"endin' on your o""onent and his im"ression of you8 you mi'ht e!en 6e a6le to force him off a hand like 1>1F Now that would 6e an e cellent result7
123

)heckin' and )allin'7 If you choose this o"tion8 you 'i!e u" any chance of winnin' the "ot without im"ro!ement7 ;ou com"letely 'i!e u" control of the hand7 ;ou may end u" lettin' your o""onent win the whole "ot 6y default with <>13 hi'h7 Of course8 if for some reason you think there is a6solutely no chance you can win the "ot 6y out"layin' your o""onent8 checkin' and callin' mi'ht 6e your 6est 6et7 ,utshot Strai'ht *raws - 'utshot strai'ht draw is a real lon' shot7 +ith one card to come8 you are an 137I to 1 underdo' to hit your strai'ht7 If you decide to call with a 'utshot8 6e sure that the "ot si%e is 6i' enou'h and that all of your strai'ht cards will win7 If there are two hearts and two s"ades on the 6oard in a fi!e>way action "ot8 you may only ha!e two outs to win the "ot8 as the other two strai'ht cards may com"lete someone else9s flush7 That would make you a $$ to 1 underdo'F +ith one card to come on the turn8 it9s rarely correct to call with a "ure 'utshot8 unless you ha!e added outs8 such as a "air or o!ercards7 Since the 6et si%e doesn9t dou6le until the turn8 it will often 6e correct to call on the flo"7 Let9s look at a ty"ical e am"leK Playin' C13#C$38 you are in the 6i' 6lind with 4>13 of clu6s7 The small 6lind folds8 and you call a raise in a four>way action "ot7 The flo" comes QE .E 0E7 ;ou check8 the first "layer 6ets8 and one other calls7 There is C13I in the "ot8 and it9s C13 to call7 It9s 1371I to 1 a'ainst you makin' the strai'ht on the turn7 Should you callE (ased on the e act "rice you are 'ettin' at this "oint8 the answer would 6e no7 So we fold then8 ri'htE +ron'7 There are three more !aria6les you need to think a6outK im"lied odds8 the "otential to see two cards for the "rice of one8 and e tra outs:you may ha!e more than you think7 ;our im"lied odds in this situation are more than enou'h to call7 ;ou are already 'ettin' 137I to 1 as an 1371I to 1 underdo'7 If you 'et Bust one more 6et out of your o""onents on the turn or ri!er8 you would 6e 'ettin' the ri'ht "rice7 -lso8 the "re>flo" raiser 6et the flo"8 6ut who9s to say you won9t 'et a free card on the turnE There is also an outside chance that if you hit a "air of nines or tens you9d win7 It9s "ossi6le that the first raiser could ha!e ->H and
121

the caller ->07 Think a6out what mi'ht ha""en if your o""onent flo"s a set and you hit that strai'ht on the turn7 )hances are8 you9ll win at least four more 6i' 6ets on the turn and ri!er8 "ro!ided the 6oard doesn9t "air on the ri!er7 -ny time you hit a "ure 'utshot it9s 'oin' to 6e hidden7 It9s 'oin' to 6e difficult for your o""onent to "ut you on a draw like that8 so they9ll often lose more 6ets than they should7 Let9s say you are in a multiway "ot and hold />2 of hearts in the 6i' 6lind7 The flo" comes HE 1E .E8 and the "ot Bustifies a call7 Now8 off rolls the I7 (in'oF If one of your o""onents ha!e ->-8 ->H8 two "air8 or a set8 you should 6e a6le to win a lot of 6ets here7 5emem6er8 you "ick u" !alue with the im"lied odds7 Flo""in' a Made Hand - made hand is a fi!e>card hand8 such as a strai'ht8 flush8 full house8 or 6etter7 There are times when you9ll want to slow>"lay a made hand8 and others where it mi'ht 6e correct to Bam the "ot7 In this section8 I ho"e to hel" you make 6etter decisions when you flo" a made hand7 Flo""in' a Full House +hen you flo" a full house your 'oal sim"ly is to 'et as much money in the "ot as "ossi6le7 How you do that will de"end on many factors7 Let9s look at an e am"leK ;ou ha!e "ocket kin's and the flo" comes H>0>07 How niceF So you must decide whether to "lay it fast or let lon' shot draws in chea"ly7 ;our decision should 6e 6ased on what you think your o""onents ha!e7 If you think one of your o""onents flo""ed three ei'hts8 you should "lay it fast7 Ho"efully8 your o""onent will think you ha!e ->- or ->H and continue to raise you7 So how will you 6e a6le to fi'ure out if one of your o""onents has an 0E +ell8 that will de"end on se!eral 6its of information you9!e 'athered "re>flo" and on the flo"7 Let9s say you 6et and are raised on this flo"8 knowin' no flush draw is "ossi6le7 Then the 6i' 6lind decides to call two 6ets cold7 )hances are8 he9s flo""ed three ei'hts7 +hat else could he ha!eE Lnless it9s a !ery 6ad "layer8 he at least has the case kin'8 6ut more likely three ei'hts7 It9s also "ossi6le that he9s flo""ed Juads8 6ut that would 6e a rare occurrence7 If there is a flush draw on the flo"8 then slow>"layin' would 6e silly7 ;our
12$

o""onent with the flush draw isn9t 'oin' to fold anyway8 so you mi'ht as well make him "ay to draw deadF -fter all8 if he misses his flush8 you aren9t 'oin' to 'et any more 6ets on the ri!er7 Put those 6ets in on the flo"D your o""onent wonOt "ut you on a full house7 If you know the "layer on a flush draw to 6e e tremely conser!ati!e and won9t draw to the flush with a "air on the 6oard8 you may not want to 'o too cra%y on the flo"7 He is drawin' dead8 and you always want to encoura'e thatF Flo""in' a Full House8 Heads>L"7 In a heads>u" "ot8 it9s more than likely that your o""onent has flo""ed nothin' to the H>0>0 flo"7 Lnless he has an 08 ->-8 ->H8 or a flush draw8 it will 6e difficult to 'et much action7 The 6est course of action here may 6e to slow>"lay your hand a little 6it7 Let9s say you ha!e "osition on your o""onent8 and he decides to 6et out7 This is a tricky situation 6ecause you don9t want to lose him7 If you raise here8 he mi'ht throw away his hand7 If you call8 he mi'ht Bust check and fold on the turn7 -ll you need to 6e concerned with is kee"in' your o""onent interested in this "ot7 Ho"efully he9s flo""ed tri"s8 a flush draw8 or has the ->- or ->H hand7 If not8 ho"efully he makes a smaller full house on the turn7 May6e he has 4>47 How sweet a 4 would 6e on the turnF -'ain8 you need to "ay attention to the information you recei!ed "re>flo"7 *id your o""onent raise comin' inE +as he in early "ositionE If so8 the chances that he9s flo""ed three ei'hts is remote8 thou'h ->H8 ->-8 or another "air is !ery "ossi6le7 -'ainst one of these hands8 it9s usually a 'ood idea to Bam the flo" as you are sure to 'et action7 If your o""onent calls from late "osition or from the 6linds8 you9ll 6e ho"in' now that he9s flo""ed three ei'hts or may6e a flush draw7 More often than not8 your o""onent is 'oin' to miss this flo"7 It9s unlikely he has the case kin' and also unlikely that he has an 07 In this situation8 it mi'ht also 6e correct to slow>"lay your hand and ho"e that your o""onent "icks u" a draw on the turn7 ;ou can do that only if you feel that your check on the flo" wonOt 'i!e away your hand7 The tou'her your o""onent8 the less often the check on the flo" is 'oin' to tra" him7 To tra" a tou'h "layer here8 "lay strai'ht>forward and 6et the flo"7 Flo""in' a Flush +e touched on this su6Bect a little when we discussed "layin' flush draws on
12.

the flo"7 In that section8 we talked a6out "layin' a 6a6y flush carefully on the flo" and 'ettin' a''ressi!e on the turn7 Interestin'ly enou'h8 we "ro6a6ly want to "lay our nut flushes similarly8 waitin' until the turn 6efore 'ettin' 6usy7 Of course8 this all de"ends on the te ture of the flo"7 If you hold -E 0E on a HE 1E $E flo"8 the only real draw out there would 6e the nut flush draw:6ut you already ha!e that co!ered7 )hances are you will 'et more action if the flo" comes 13E <E 1E7 More of your o""onents are 'oin' to hit this flo" with a "air8 two "air8 a strai'ht8 or e!en a strai'ht draw7 If your o""onent has a hand like HE <E8 he may decide to "lay it really fast on the flo"7 +ith that first flo" you want anyone interested in the "ot to stay in8 so make it chea" on them7 On that second flo" howe!er8 you will 'et away with Bammin' it 6ecause the chances of your o""onents continuin' anyway are much 'reater7 Flo""in' a Strai'ht +hen flo""in' a strai'ht you need to consider the risks in!ol!ed7 For e am"le8 say you9!e flo""ed a strai'ht8 6ut there are two flush cards on the 6oard8 or you9!e flo""ed the 6ottom end of the strai'ht8 and so on7 +hen you flo" a lower>end strai'ht8 it9s im"ortant to try and knock out hi'her strai'ht draws or at least ha!e them "ay the ma imum if they choose to call7 Or8 if you "ut your o""onent on a flush draw8 you should "lay any strai'ht fast on the flo"7 ;ou aren9t "layin' your hand fast only to try to knock a flush draw out of the "ot8 6ut rather to 'et more money into the "ot as the fa!orite7 For this reason8 I rarely slow>"lay a strai'ht on the flo"7 There are too many cards on the turn that could hurt your hand7 - 6oard "air8 a flush card8 or e!en a hi'her strai'ht card can turn your nut hand into a loser7 Of course8 in heads>u" situations8 I may choose to slow>"lay a strai'ht on the flo"8 ho"in' to 'et two 6ets in on the turn7 Say you hit a flo" of />1>0 to 'o with your 4>13 in the hole7 It9s a 'reat situation8 6ut a 4 or a 13 "uts your hand in Beo"ardy7 The 4 fills the <>13 strai'ht and the 13 fills the <>4 strai'ht7 (e a''ressi!e on the flo"8 6ut if a dan'erous card comes off on the turn8 don9t "ut in unnecessary action7 I9m not sayin' that you should fold8 6ut if you 'et raised on a />1>0>4 6oard8 you shouldn9t always reraise7 )hances are8 your
122

o""onent also has a 13>hi'h strai'ht8 6ut it could 6e worse than that for you7 He may ha!e the <>138 or e!en a 13 with a flush draw 'i!in' him a freeroll7 Or8 if he has Q>13 and a Back hits the ri!er8 he9ll ha!e a freeroll a'ainst you7 Here9s a final e am"le of when you should "lay a strai'ht fast on the flo"K ;ou ha!e Q><8 and the flo" comes 0>4>137 This is a flo" that will hit a lot of "eo"le7 Of course8 none of your o""onents can hit it 6etter than you ha!e8 6ut that won9t sto" them from "uttin' in lots of 6ets7 ;ou mi'ht win a monster "ot if all 'oes well on the turn and ri!er7 If you are u" a'ainst any of the followin' hands you should win tons of 6ets 6y kee"in' your foot on the 'as and firin' awayK />18 13>138 4>48 0>08 <><8 Q>Q8 H>H8 ->-8 13><8 13>Q8 H>Q8 H><8 -><8 4>138 4>08 13>08 and similar holdin's7 Of the si teen hands I mentioned8 most of them would 6e "layed only 6y a!era'e "layers:and I didn9t e!en 'et to the hands where an o""onent flo"s a flush drawF +hen you flo" a monster on what I call an action flo"8 it will often "ay 6i' di!idends7 Of course you will sometimes 6e outdrawn on these hands8 6ut you9ll do yourself a 'reat ser!ice in the lon' run 6y "uttin' in as many 6ets as "ossi6le on the flo"7 PL-;IN, THE TL5N The turn is "ro6a6ly the most difficult street to "lay7 This is where you will need all of your "oker skills to make the ri'ht decisions7 -s *aniel Ne'reanu wrote in one of his )ard Player columns8 @(y the turn8 you should ha!e enou'h information a6out your o""onents9 hands to narrow down their holdin's some7 -fter factorin' in their "re>flo" action8 their "lay on the flo"8 and the te ture of the 6oard8 the turn is the street where you9ll need to make the key decision as to what your o""onents are holdin'7A - 6i' reason for this is that the 6ets now dou6le7 +hen To )all In many cases8 callin' on the turn is your 6est course of action7 Let9s look at four situations7 17 -'ainst a (luffer Normally when you feel like there is a 'ood chance you ha!e the 6est hand on the turn8 you should "ut in as many 6ets as "ossi6le7 Howe!er8 a'ainst a
12I

ha6itual 6luffer8 your raise may scare him off8 costin' you a 6et on the ri!er7 Let9s say you raise with ->138 and only Mr7 (luffer in the 6i' 6lind calls7 The flo" comes -E 4E 2E8 Mr7 (luffer 6ets8 and you decide to call7 The turn 6rin's the 1REand Mr7 (luffer a'ain 6ets out7 )hances are that your "air of aces with a 13 kicker is the 6est hand7 Howe!er8 it is "ossi6le that Mr7 (luffer woke u" with a hand and has you 6eat7 5e'ardless8 you are con!inced you ha!e the 6est hand8 6ut you know that Mr7 (luffer will fold if you raise7 Since there isn9t much of a draw "resent8 why not Bust call the turn and ho"e that Mr7 (luffer wastes one more 6et with a des"eration attem"t at the ri!erE This hel"s you in two waysK =1? ;ou9ll lose the minimum when he has you 6eat7 =$? ;ou9ll 'ain an e tra 6et when he tries to "ick it u" on the ri!er7 In this case you run the risk of "ossi6ly 'i!in' your o""onent a free shot to 6eat you on the end8 6ut since it9s a remote "ossi6ility with this 6oard8 callin' will 'et the most out of him7 $7 +hen Out of Position with Mar'inal Hands In this e am"le8 you raise with 4>4 from late "osition7 The 6utton reraises you8 so it9s heads>u" to see the flo"7 The flo" comes down QE 1E $E7 ;ou check8 and your o""onent 6ets the flo"7 )heck>raisin' is an o"tion here8 6ut for this e am"le let9s assume you checked and called7 Now the turn 6rin's a IE7 This "resents you with a dilemma7 Since you raised in late "osition8 and it was the 6utton that reraised you8 he mi'ht hold one of a wide ran'e of hands that ha!e you 6eat8 as well as one of many others that don9t7 Let9s assume that the 6utton is the ty"e of "layer who will raise you with any "air8 any suited ace8 any two "icture cards8 and any -> 0 and a6o!e7 -lso throw in the occasional !ariation raise with hands like 0>4 suited or e!en I>/ suited7 If you know your o""onent will three>6et you with these ty"es of hands8 your hand is Bust too 'ood to fold7 -t the same time8 you don9t really want to lose any unnecessary e tra 6ets7 In this situation8 you are 6etter off "layin' the hand to the ri!er as chea"ly as "ossi6le7 ;ou don9t want to 'o cra%y and "ut in a lot of action7 5emem6er8
12/

you are out of "osition and could 'et mo!ed off the 6est hand here7 +hat if your o""onent had ->H of hearts and decided to reraise you as a semi>6luffE +ell8 you can9t really Bustify "uttin' in three 6ets on the turn and then another one on the ri!er when you are likely drawin' dead to two outsF Play the hand carefully7 +in the small "ots while a!oidin' the 6i' ones7 Sacrifice some "otential !alue and lean toward cautionD that way you won9t 'et out"layed7 .7 To -!oid )ostly Fancy Plays Throu'hout this cha"ter you9ll notice that I "reach strai'htforward "lay7 +hy use a fancy "lay that mi'ht work when a strai'htforward "lay will do Bust as wellE To 6e s"ecific8 raisin' on the turn with drawin' hands in an attem"t to force your o""onent to lay down the 6est hand is a "lay that should 6e used infreJuently7 It works 6est on timid8 careful "layers8 6ut e!en they won9t fold if they ha!e to" "air or 6etter7 Instead8 they9ll call you down on the turn and a'ain on the ri!er7 -fter all8 6y raisin' the turn you9!e made the "ot so 6i' that your o""onent is almost forced to call7 May6e years a'o you could use this "lay more often8 6ut these days many "layers are aware of it7 So if there is a draw "resent8 they9ll likely call8 ho"in' you are makin' a mo!e7 *on9t 6luff:!alue 6et7 That9s what limit hold9em is all a6out7 27 +hen *rawin' To Hands in Multiway Pots The last thin' you want to do when on a draw is narrow down the field7 The more "layers in the "ot the 6etter7 -ttem"tin' a lon' shot raise in ho"es of 6luffin' e!ery6ody out is Bust a 6ad "lay7 It9s not 'oin' to work nearly often enou'h to make it "rofita6le7 +hen To 5aise 5aisin' the turn in mar'inal situations can 6e an e "ensi!e "lay8 6ut it9s one you9ll need to make more often if you are "layin' in hi'her limit 'ames7 (efore you 'o raisin' u" a storm8 consider the followin' four situations where this "lay is most effecti!e7 17 To Ma imi%e ;our Profit ;ou should only make this "lay when you feel you ha!e the 6est hand7 ;our
121

'oal isn9t to dri!e your o""onent out of the "ot8 althou'h that wouldn9t always 6e a 6ad thin'D rather8 you are sim"ly tryin' to 'et ma imum !alue for your hand7 Let9s look at an e am"le7 In the middle "osition with H>H8 you raise8 and only the 6i' 6lind calls7 On a <E 1E .E flo"8 the 6i' 6lind check>raises you7 5eraisin' on the flo" wouldn9t 6e a 6ad "lay8 6ut what a6out Bust callin'E (y sim"ly callin' on the flo"8 you will entice your o""onent to 6et the turn unless a scare card hits7 +hen he does 6et the turn8 you can 'o ahead and raise him7 This would 6e considered a !ariation "lay7 ;ou should only use it on a relati!ely safe flo"7 If there is a flush draw or strai'ht draw "resent8 there are too many "otential scare cards out there that would cause your o""onent to check the turn8 thus costin' you a 6et7 For e am"le8 on a flo" like 4E 13E IE8 any heart or any o!ercard may scare your o""onent into checkin'7 So on a dan'erous flo"8 you9re 6etter off "layin' the H>H fast7 $7 Semi>(luffin' on a Scare )ard Earlier8 I ad!ised you to a!oid fancy "lays when the strai'htforward "lay will work7 That still holds true8 6ut there are certain situations where a well>timed fancy "lay will win you the whole "ot with little risk7 )onsider the followin' situation7 ;ou ha!e <E 13E from early "osition7 -lthou'h you9d often Bust call8 this time you mi u" your "lay and raise8 and only the 6i' 6lind calls you7 The flo" comes 1E 4E $E7 The 6i' 6lind check>raises you on the flo"8 and you decide to Bust call7 Now the turn card comes the HE8 and your o""onent 6ets7 If you don9t think your o""onent can 6eat a "air of kin's8 this wouldn9t 6e a 6ad s"ot to try to take the "ot from him7 Since you raised from early "osition8 you could easily 6e re"resentin' ->H7 ;ou are "layin' the <E 13E e actly as you would the ->H8 and if your o""onent 6elie!es you9!e 'ot ->H8 he may decide to fold a "air of nines7 If not8 oh well7 ;ou were 'oin' to call the turn anyway8 so it only cost you one e tra 6et7 If he does in fact ha!e a "air of nines8 you may ha!e as many as twenty>one outs8 includin' an 0 or Jueen for
120

the strai'ht8 any heart8 or "ossi6ly a Back or a 13F There is one im"ortant thin' to consider when makin' a "lay like thisK +hat do you do on the ri!er if he called your turn raise8 and you ha!e missed your handE (ettin' here is not automatic7 Lnless you ha!e reason to 6elie!e that your o""onent was on a draw as well8 I would recommend 'i!in' u" at this "oint7 If he called you on the turn with a "air8 he9s 'oin' to call you on the ri!er as well7 It9s that sim"le7 Of course8 there is still a chance that you mi'ht win the "ot with Back hi'h in a showdownF Think a6out itK if your o""onent was on a draw8 may6e he has 0>138 />08 or e!en two 6a6y hearts7 If he has one of these hands you9ll win the "ot 6ecause of your turn raise7 .7 Isolatin' -'ainst a Possi6le (luffer This ad!anced "lay is e clusi!e to multiway "ots8 and I recommend you use it only if you ha!e a solid feel for the 'ame7 In order for this "lay to work8 you9!e 'ot to ha!e a 'ood read on the turn 6ettor7 ;ou9!e 'ot to know that he is a !ery a''ressi!e "layer8 and you also ha!e to 6elie!e he is either 6luffin' or sim"ly 6ettin' a draw7 Let9s use an e am"le so that we can "aint a clearer "icture7 ;ou raise from middle "osition with the ->1 of s"ades8 and the 6utton calls as does the 6i' 6lind7 The flo" comes down 13E 1E .E7 The 6i' 6lind checks8 you 6et8 and the 6utton raises7 Then the 6i' 6lind calls8 as do you7 -t this "oint you "ut the 6utton on a "air of tens and the 6i' 6lind on some kind of a draw7 The turn 6rin's the QE7 Out of nowhere8 the 6i' 6lind 6ets out7 ;ou still "ut him on a draw8 may6e now a strai'ht draw and flush draw7 Howe!er8 you know the "layer 6ehind you has you 6eat7 How a6out a raiseE If you raise here8 the 6utton would 6e hard "ressed to call two 6ets7 So your raise would accom"lish the followin'K =1? Hnock out the 6est hand7 =$? ,et ma imum !alue for your hand7 -'ain8 this is an ad!anced "lay and de"ends hea!ily on your readin' a6ility7 Lse it carefully7 27 +hen ;ou -re ,oin' To )all -nyway
124

On the turn8 you are often 'oin' to find yourself in mar'inal situations where you think you ha!e the 6est hand and decide to Bust call your o""onent down7 +ell8 rather than sim"ly callin' your o""onent on the turn and ri!er8 many times it mi'ht 6e "rofita6le to "ut 6oth of those 6ets in on the turn7 Here9s an illustration7 ;ou raise in late "osition with ->1 of clu6s8 and only the 6i' 6lind calls you7 The flo" comes HE 1E .E8 your o""onent check>raises you8 and you decide to call7 Now the turn 6rin's the 4E7 +ith 0 small 6ets already in the "ot8 you feel that you are 6ein' laid a 'ood enou'h "rice to call:es"ecially considerin' that you may still ha!e outs and that your "air mi'ht 6e the 6est hand7 So now you decide that you are 'oin' to call the turn and then 6e forced to call on the ri!er whether or not you im"ro!e7 Here9s an ideaK raiseF So many 'ood thin's can come as a result7 For one8 you mi'ht force your o""onent to fold the 6est hand7 +hat would your o""onent do8 for e am"le8 if he9s holdin' a hand like 0>0 or e!en H>$E *e"endin' on your o""onent8 he mi'ht e!en lay down to" "air here7 +hat I like most a6out this "lay is that it usually costs you no e tra 6ets8 6ut you can win an e tra 6et if you im"ro!e7 Let9s say your o""onent calls your raise7 Lnless you catch an ace or a 1 you9ll Bust check it down and ho"e it9s 'ood7 +hen you im"ro!e8 you 'et the o""ortunity to !alue 6et the ri!er7 There is a downside to this "lay8 howe!er8 and that comes when your o""onent reraises you on the turn7 If your o""onent makes it three 6ets8 he "ro6a6ly has a !ery stron' hand7 ;ou can safely assume that your "air is no 'ood and should fold your hand7 ;ou lose the o""ortunity to outdraw him7 +hen To Fold Sometimes the turn card comes so 6ad for your hand that you9ll ha!e to fold7 Other times you9ll ha!e "icked u" enou'h information 6efore the turn that you can safely "ut your o""onent on a 6etter hand than yours7 17 *raws This is a Juestion of "ot odds7 +hen the "ot isn9t layin' you the correct "rice to call8 you9ll ha!e to fold7 Here9s an e am"le7 +ith />1 in the 6i' 6lind8 you
1I3

find yourself in a three>way8 unraised "ot7 The flo" comes I>0>H8 and it 'ets checked around7 Now the turn 6rin's a Jueen7 -'ain you check8 6ut this time the first "layer 6ets8 and the second "layer raises7 +hat do you doE The answer here is the result of a sim"le calculation7 There are thirty>ei'ht 6ad cards for you and only ei'ht 'ood ones8 so the odds of you catchin' the strai'ht are 271I to 17 -ll you need to fi'ure out now is whether or not the "ot is 'i!in' you a""ro imately I to 1 odds7 In a C13#C$3 'ame8 there already would 6e C43 in the "ot8 and it will cost you C23 to call7 The first "layer will "ro6a6ly call too8 so let9s make it C113 to C237 Let9s assume that you9ll somehow win an additional three 6ets on the ri!er8 6rin'in' the "ot total to C1137 E!en after that8 you are still only 'ettin' 27$I to 17 In other words8 this one is a fold7 $7 +hen Potentially *rawin' *ead Situations like these are easier to identify in multiway "ots7 The more "layers in a "ot8 the more likely it is that the turn card hel"ed someone7 For e am"le8 if you flo""ed to" "air in a multiway "ot 6ut the turn 6rou'ht a third flush card8 you should seriously consider foldin'7 Foldin' will de"end on your read of the "layer as well as the situation7 If you are u" a'ainst a wild "layer8 don9t 6e too Juick in 'i!in' him credit for a made hand7 )on!ersely8 a'ainst a conser!ati!e -()>ty"e "layer in most situations8 it should 6e an easy laydown to make7 There are other situations where you mi'ht e!en flo" a flush draw8 6ut then release it on the turn7 Let9s say you ha!e the I>/ of hearts and find yourself in a multiway "ot with multi"le 6ets in it7 The flo" comes HE <E 2E8 followed 6y the 4E on the turn7 If there are four "layers in this "ot8 there is a !ery 'ood chance someone has a 6i''er flush draw than yours8 lea!in' you drawin' dead7 So8 e!en if the "ot is layin' you the ri'ht "rice to draw to the flush8 you9d still want to muck this hand if there is a reasona6le chance that you are drawin' dead7 .7 +hen ;ou Hnow ;ou -re (eat If after the flo" you feel confident that you are 6eat8 you should fold:unless
1I1

of course you are 'ettin' the ri'ht "ot odds to outdraw your o""onent7 Let9s say with 1>1 you raise "re>flo" and 'et two callers7 The flo" comes H>Q>28 so you 6et and are raised7 ;ou call8 ho"in' to see whether or not you can s"ike a 1 or that your o""onent checks 6ehind you with a draw7 If the turn comes with a 4 and your o""onent 6ets8 you can safely fold the 1>1 7 -fter all8 what can you 6eatE E!en if he was raisin' with a draw like 4>138 4><8 or <>138 he now has you 6eat7 5ealistically you can only 6eat hands like ->28 -><8 and -> 137 The odds here are stacked a'ainst you8 so unless you ha!e reason to 6elie!e your o""onent is on a total 6luff8 this would 6e a 'ood time to 'i!e u" on the hand7 -''ression on the Turn -s you mo!e u" in limits8 you9ll notice that the 6etter "layers are the ones who "lay ferociously on the turn8 fearin' nothin'7 In C13#C$38 C1I#C.38 and C$3#C23 'ames8 many "layers tend to "lay "assi!ely on the turn8 always fearin' the worst:checkin' Q>Q when a kin' hits8 checkin' when a strai'ht card hits8 and so on7 In order to reach the elite le!els of limit hold9em8 you ha!e to 6e a little fearless and kee" the "ressure on7 Let9s look at a situation where you are faced with a choiceK either 'i!e away a free card or risk 6ein' check>raised7 ;ou raise on the 6utton with 1>0 of s"ades8 and only 6i' 6lind calls7 The flo" comes <E 0E 2E7 ;ou 6et the flo"8 and your o""onent calls7 The turn 6rin's the QE8 and a'ain your o""onent checks7 That QE looks like a terri6le card for your hand8 and it !ery well could 6e7 Howe!er8 your o""onent did check and call on the flo"8 and he has now checked the turn7 )ould he 6e settin' a tra" for youE Possi6ly7 If in fact he is settin' a tra"8 checkin' would certainly 6e the 6est "lay8 as you would8 in effect8 6e takin' a free shot at a 1 or an 07 (ut what if he9s not settin' a tra"E If you check here you mi'ht 6e 'i!in' your o""onent the free card he needs7 If he9s a ty"ical "layer8 he mi'ht ha!e any of the followin' handsK ->HD ->13D ace anythin'8 for that matterD H>13D a "air of fours with a random kickerD or e!en a 'utshot strai'ht draw8 like />1 or 13>17 +ith your hand8 it9s im"ortant to 6et here and knock one of these hands
1I$

out:and you9ll knockout the "ossi6ility of causin' your o""onent to fold if he9s holdin' an 0 with a 6etter kickerF -s a 'eneral rule in this situation8 I would ad!ise kee"in' the lead and stayin' a''ressi!e7 If you ha""en to 'et check>raised8 so 6e it7 It9s not the end of the world7 ;ou9ll sim"ly ha!e to make an educated decision as to what your o""onent has and "roceed accordin'ly7 *on9t 6e afraid to force yourself to make these ty"es of "lays7 Makin' decisions like these will hel" you 6ecome a 6etter "layer7 Semi>(luffin' the Turn In situations where you9!e decided to check and call the turn anyway8 you mi'ht 6e 6etter off 6ettin'7 5emem6er8 takin' the lead and 6ein' a''ressi!e are "ro6a6ly the most im"ortant factors in limit hold9em7 For e am"le8 say a fairly ti'ht early "osition "layer raises your 6lind and you decide to defend with the ->1 of s"ades7 The flo" comes /E 1E 0E7 5ather than 'o for a check>raise8 you decide to 6et and see where you are7 Lnfortunately8 this ti'ht "layer decides to raise you8 which means you can safely assume that you are 6eat7 Of course8 with a 6ackdoor flush draw8 tri" draw8 and two>"air draw8 you are 'oin' to call one more 6et7 Now the turn 6rin's the 2E7 How a6out 6ettin' a'ainE -fter all8 you now "icked u" a flush draw and are 'oin' to call anyway8 so why not re"resent the strai'ht and "ossi6ly force your o""onent off the 6est handE It9s hi'hly unlikely that your o""onent will raise you here8 as he would need to ha!e at least a I8 or may6e e!en 4>137 Since you know him to 6e a ti'ht "layer8 chances are he has an o!er"air or "ossi6ly a set7 If he does call8 oh well7 ;ou still ha!e lots of outs and would ha!e called a 6et anyway7 If you miss on the ri!er8 you should "ro6a6ly a6ort the 6luff7 If he decides to call you on the turn8 he is 'oin' to make one last des"eration call on the ri!er if he has you 6eat7 Sa!e your money and check it down7 THE 5INE5 Not a lot needs to 6e written a6out the ri!er7 -t this "oint8 the "ot is usually lar'e enou'h that makin' decisions is easy7 If you ha!e a le'itimate chance to
1I.

win the "ot8 you should call7 ,enerally s"eakin'8 when in dou6t8 check or call7 There are other elements related to the ri!er that are worth mentionin'K when to call or raise8 when to fold8 when to !alue 6et8 and when to 6luff7 Let9s take a look at the choices7 )allin' In the world of "oker8 you hear a lot of talk a6out what se"arates the 'reat "layers from the 'ood ones7 Some will say the difference lies in the 'reat "layers9 a6ility to lay down stron' hands in difficult situations7 +hile that may 6e true to some e tent8 tryin' too hard to "lay carefully on the ri!er often leads to 'ettin' 6luffed off of "ots that were ri'htfully yours7 Often times8 one 6ad decision can ne'ate as many as ten 'reat laydowns7 Let9s think a6out that for a minute7 If there is C$33 in a "ot8 and it will cost you C$3 to see if you ha!e the 6est hand8 you 6etter 6e almost 43 "ercent sure that foldin' is correct7 E!en if you were ri'ht to fold in ei'ht out of ten situations8 you9!e still lost moneyF Now I don9t know a6out you8 6ut to me that9s a lot of "ressure7 I would ad!ise you to a!oid disastrous errors in fa!or of minor8 less harmful ones7 Foldin' -lthou'h I recommend callin' if you ha!e any chance to win the "ot8 there are times when you are so o6!iously 6eat that it would 6e silly to call7 The maBority of these situations arise in multiway "ots7 Here is an e treme e am"leK Say you ha!e 6ottom "air and a 6et and three calls are on the ta6le7 Sure8 the first "layer mi'ht 6e 6luffin'8 6ut one of the three callers certainly has you 6eat7 It doesn9t matter how 6i' the "ot is here8 you can safely assume that you are 6eat7 E!en when it is sim"ly 6et and raised to you8 the safe mo!e would 6e to fold any hand that could only 6eat a 6luff7 -fter all8 e!en if the raiser is 6luffin'8 the first "layer "ro6a6ly isn9t7 -nother key factor to consider is the "rice you9d ha!e to "ay to find out7 Since you9re faced with callin' two 6ets instead of one8 it cuts your "ot odds in half7 I could list se!eral situations where you could make more so"histicated laydowns8 6ut the one key factor is your a6ility to read your o""onents7 If you don9t ha!e an e cellent understandin' of your o""onents9 ca"a6ilities and tendencies8 makin' monster laydowns is foolish7 The more
1I2

time you s"end "layin' a'ainst any 'i!en "layer8 the easier it will 6e to define his hand7 If you 'et really 'ood at it8 you9ll no lon'er ha!e to make automatic calls on the ri!er7 -s your skills im"ro!e you9ll 6e a6le to "ass u" 13>1 "ot odds 6ecause you9ll trust yourself to 6e ri'ht 41 times out of 1337 Lntil that time howe!er8 the 6est ad!ice I can 'i!e you isK "ay and see7 Nalue (ettin' -s we9!e said throu'hout the cha"ter8 sheer a''ression is key in limit hold9em7 It is a mathematical 'ame8 one in which you want to ma imi%e your wins while minimi%in' your losses7 In order to ma imi%e your wins8 you9ll need to 6e sure that you 'et full !alue for e!en the most mar'inal of hands7 To !alue 6et in the correct s"ots8 it9s im"ortant to think a6out what your o""onent could ha!e7 If you "ut your o""onent on nothin' 6ut a draw8 he sim"ly won9t call you on the ri!er unless he makes it7 E!en then he "ro6a6ly won9t Bust call you8 he9ll raise youF For e am"le8 say you hold -E <E8 and you take the lead the whole way7 The turn comes <E 4E /E $E7 -t this "oint8 you are Juite sure you ha!e the 6est hand and think your o""onent is on a flush or strai'ht draw8 or "ossi6ly a "air of nines or e!en Backs7 So now the ri!er comes with the 4E8 and itOs u" to you7 If your o""onent was on a draw8 there is little !alue in 6ettin' hereD he9s o6!iously missed and will fold7 If he also has a "air of Backs8 there is a 'ood chance he will 6et when you check anyway7 More im"ortantly8 if your o""onent does ha!e the three nines8 he9ll raise you8 and that will usually cost you an e tra 6et7 These are situations where you mi'ht want to a!oid !alue 6ettin'7 Notice that in this e am"le you are out of "osition7 +hen you are in "osition8 you will ha!e at least twice as many o""ortunities to !alue 6et than when out of "osition7 If a "layer has checked the ri!er to you8 you should usually 6et if you feel you ha!e the 6est hand7 Lnless your o""onent is settin' a tra" for you8 his check on the ri!er will mean it didn9t hel" him7 If you had the lead 'oin' into the ri!er8 chances are you still ha!e it7 (asically8 you should !alue 6et any time you feel that your o""onent will call with the worst hand more than half the time on the ri!er7 If you ha!e 6ottom "air 6ut feel your o""onent would call you with ace>hi'h8 you should 6et7
1II

Furthermore8 if you feel your o""onent is callin' you down with ace>hi'h8 you mi'ht e!en 6et with as little as ->H hi'hF That situation is rare8 6ut not unheard of7 In closin'8 don9t 6e o!erly worried a6out a check>raise7 It9s not like no>limit8 where a check>raise could cost you your whole 6ankroll7 In limit "oker8 it9s only 'oin' to cost you another 6et7 ;ou should 6e a6le to make u" for a lost 6et or two 6y "ickin' u" your fair share of !alue 6ets on the ri!er7 (luffin' (luffin' on the ri!er is less effecti!e than 6luffin' on the turn7 Lsually when your o""onents 'et to the ri!er8 they are 'oin' to throw in that last 6et if they ha!e any chance of winnin'7 -s you9!e learned in this cha"ter8 that9s not e actly a 6ad strate'y7 Howe!er8 the "ay>off for a 6luff on the ri!er that does work is tremendous8 6ut in order for one to work8 it has to 6e set u" 6efore the ri!er7 Sim"ly callin' all the way to the ri!er and 6ettin' when an innocuous $E hits won9t 'et the money7 5i!er 6luffs will work only if you had the lead 'oin' into the ri!er8 or a si'nificant scare card hits that you can re"resent7 For e am"le8 say you are holdin' <>48 the 6oard reads QE 13E $E .E8 so you are drawin' at an o"en>ended strai'ht7 ;ou check>call on the turn and "ut your o""onent on at least a "air7 Now the ri!er comes the -E7 That is the scare card of all scare cards7 If your o""onent held Q><8 he now couldn9t 6eat any flush8 any ace8 or H><7 Since you "layed the hand like a draw8 your o""onent mi'ht think he can9t 6eat anythin'8 and fold his hand7 Now remem6er8 this "lay doesn9t ha!e to 6e successful too often in order to 6e "rofita6le7 If there is C$33 in the "ot8 your C$3 6et has to win the "ot only one out of ele!en times to 6reak e!en7 +hen it doesn9t work8 oh well8 chalk it u" to your ad!ertisin' 6ud'et7 *on9t (luff with ->H Hi'h I often see "layers make last ditch efforts to win "ots on the ri!er8 thinkin'8 @I can9t win if I check7 This is the only way I can win7A The "ro6lem with this lo'ic is that this "layer can9t win 6y 6ettin' eitherF ->H hi'h is 'oin' to 6eat any 6usted draws7 If that9s what your o""onent has8 there is no reason to 6et7 If your o""onent does in fact ha!e a "air8 he9s sim"ly not 'oin' to fold:not
1I/

!ery often8 anyway7 Here is an e am"le of a 6i' 6ut common mistake7 Player - has 6een 6ettin' at a 6oard of .E $E /E .E8 and finally the QE comes on the ri!er7 Player decides to check8 and Player ( foolishly throws in a des"eration 6et with ->H hi'h7 Player - Juickly calls8 and "layer ( is left cursin' his 6ad luck as Player - shows him his "air7 This 6et is flat out silly7 Most likely8 Player checked the ri!er fearin' the Jueen7 He didn9t want to 'et raised8 6ut that doesn9t mean he isn9t callin' with e!en a "air of deuces7 Player (9s 6est 6et with the ->H would ha!e 6een to check it down and ho"e that Player - 'i!es u" on his 6luff7 Of course8 there is an ar'ument for !alue 6ettin' ->H hi'h if you "ut your o""onent on -> hi'h8 6ut that is a rather ad!anced "lay7 In order to !alue 6et ->H on the ri!er8 you9d ha!e to ha!e tons of data on your o""onent 6ackin' u" your decision7 It9s im"ortant to clarify that if you made this "lay you would 6e !alue 6ettin'8 not 6luffin'7 Settin' L" (luffs Earlier I talked a6out how successful 6luffs start 6efore the ri!er7 In order for a 6luff to work8 it9s im"ortant to "lay in accordance with the hand you are tryin' to re"resent7 If you are 'oin' to 6luff when a flush card hits the ri!er8 you 6etter ha!e "layed the hand like you would ha!e if you9d the flush draw7 ;ou9ll also want to "ick the ri'ht tar'et:not the 'uy with the un6luffa6le si'n on his forehead7 ;ou should "ick the one who "rides himself on makin' masterful laydowns on the ri!er7 If that9s your o""onent9s stren'th8 it can 6e turned into a weakness8 and 6luffin' is the way to e "loit it7 If you ha!en9t set u" your o""onent for a 6luff alon' the way8 it would 6e foolish to attem"t it on the ri!er7 E!en the laydown artist8 lets call him @Mr7 ,enius8A will call you if it looks too sus"icious7 So how is it doneE Let9s look at an e am"le7 ;ou hold the I>/ of diamonds7 Mr7 ,enius lim"ed in early "osition8 as do two other "layers from middle "osition8 so you welcome the "ot odds7 Four of you take the flo" of <E .E 2E8 'i!in' you an o"en>ended strai'ht draw7 Mr7 ,enius 6ets the flo"8 and you raise lookin' for a free card8 while all the others fold7 Now the turn 6rin's the 0E for no hel"
1I1

and Mr7 ,enius checks8 as do you7 -t this "oint Mr7 ,enius feels a little silly7 He now @knowsA you ha!e a flush draw and has 'i!en you a free card7 The ri!er 6rin's the HE7 Mr7 ,enius decides to check7 Here is your chance7 ;ou9!e "layed the hand as you would ha!e if you9d actually had the flush8 and the ri!er 6rou'ht an o!ercard as well7 Take a chance and 6et it7 Ho"efully you9ll hear Mr7 ,enius 'o on a6out how he was so unlucky this hand7 @I had you 6eat until that card came8 6ut I know you ha!e the flush7 Take it7A Music to your earsF +hate!er you do8 don9t show Mr7 ,enius your hand7 Let him continue to think he is the master of "oker7 In fact8 you can e!en take it one ste" further8 sayin'8 @,ood laydown7A No need to tell him the truth8 that you are ro66in' him 6lindF SHO5TH-N*E* PL-; - 'ame "layed fi!e>handed or less is 'enerally considered shorthanded7 +hen "layin' shorthanded8 remem6er the two keys to successK a''ression and isolation7 Shorthanded "oker is an a''ressi!e 6attle for the antes7 Since the "rice "er hand is hi'her8 you need to 'et in there and fi'ht as well7 If you sit 6ack and wait8 you will 6e 'i!in' u" too much and 'et 6linded to death7 5aise and reraise with a "laya6le hand8 takin' the lead and "ushin' small ed'es7 In the 6linds8 understand that you are 'ettin' e cellent "ot odds8 and there is no reason to worry a6out 6ein' dominated7 Shorthanded8 your 'oal is to isolate a lone o""onent and fi'ht for what9s in the middle7 Since winnin' the "ot uncontested or 'ettin' the hand heads>u" with "osition are 6oth fa!ora6le situations8 it makes sense that you want to raise with any hand you are 'oin' to "lay7 -s (o66y (aldwin wrote in the ori'inal Su"er#System8 when it comes to limit hold9em8 @-ll hands worth "layin' are now worth raisin'7A Limit hold9em8 es"ecially shorthanded8 is all a6out takin' the lead and 6ein' the a''ressor7 (y doin' this8 you will force your o""onent to hit flo"s7 +hen your o""onent misses8 your a''ressi!e "re>flo" "lay will often win you the "ot re'ardless of what your holecards are7 Let9s look at an e am"le of how this works7 Say a "layer o"ens for a raise and you find <E 13E on the 6utton7 5ather than sim"ly call the raise8 why not
1I0

reraiseE That will hel" you 'et the hand heads>u" with "osition and will also 'i!e you the lead:6oth 'ood thin's8 6y the way7 Now the flo" comes /E 1E QE7 ;our o""onent checks to you8 and you 6et7 Lnless your o""onent started with a "remium hand or hit the flo"8 he often will throw his hand away ri'ht there7 One im"ortant thin' to understand when "layin' shorthanded8 is that you are "ayin' more in 6linds "er hand dealt7 For e am"le8 in a ten>handed C$3#C23 'ame you are "ayin' C.3 to see ten hands8 or C. a hand7 )om"are that to a fi!e>handed 'ame where you are "ayin' that same C.3 to see fi!e hands8 or C/ a hand7 Hnowin' this8 you can see why you sim"ly can9t wait for "remium hands all the time7 If you do8 you9ll 'et eaten u" 6y the 6linds7 +ith fewer "layers at the ta6le8 hi'h "airs8 ace>anythin'8 6i' cards8 and small "airs all 'o u" in !alue7 -t the same time8 small suited connectors lose some !alue since you won9t 6e 'ettin' multiway action8 and these hands hold u" rather "oorly in a''ressi!e shorthanded 'ames7 Small Pairs +hile small "airs often do well in multiway "ots8 they also do Juite well shorthanded8 es"ecially with "osition7 For e am"le8 if you are facin' a late "osition raise with I>I on the 6utton8 reraisin' would likely ha!e "ositi!e !alue7 Lnless your o""onent is already "aired8 you ha!e a sli'ht ed'e with the 6est hand8 "osition8 and the lead7 -s lon' as your o""onent misses the flo"8 chances are you will win it either on the flo" or with another 6et on the turn7 This "lay doesn9t e!en need to work I3 "ercent of the time for it to 6e "rofita6le since there often will 6e added dead money in the "ot8 like the 6linds7 Hickers In hold9em8 you9ll often find yourself with kicker trou6le when holdin' hands like ->18 H>08 Q>138 and so on7 In a ty"ical rin' 'ame8 an early "osition raiser dominates these hands7 That9s not necessarily the case shorthanded7 For e am"le8 if you hold Q>< on a flo" of Q>1>$ a'ainst an early "osition raiser in a rin' 'ame8 there is a !ery real chance that you are u" a'ainst ->-8 H>H8 Q>Q8 ->Q8 or e!en H>Q7 That9s sim"ly not as realistic a threat shorthanded since your o""onents will 6e raisin' with a much wider !ariety
1I4

of hands7 If they aren9t8 they sim"ly aren9t "layin' correctly and are "layin' far too ti'ht7 +hen you flo" a "air shorthanded8 you should 6e 'oin' to the ri!er more often than not:e!en if it9s 6ottom "airF Let9s look at another e am"le7 Say you ha!e ->0 offsuit under the 'un in a ten>handed 'ame7 +hat should you doE If you said fold8 you9d 6e correct7 How a6out the same Juestion in a four>handed 'ameE If you said fold a'ain8 you couldn9t 6e more wron'7 +ith only three "layers to act 6ehind you8 the chances of you runnin' into kicker trou6le are less8 and the "ossi6ility that you ha!e the 6est hand is 'reater7 If an ace flo"s8 that makes it e!en less likely that you are u" a'ainst an ace with a 6etter kicker7 Suited )onnectors The "ro6lem with hands like />1 suited is that if you don9t im"ro!e your hand8 you ha!e !irtually no chance of winnin' the "ot in a showdown7 The way limit hold9em is 6ein' "layed today8 ha!in' a hand that can win in a showdown is e!en more !alua6le7 ;ou can 6lame some of that on internet "oker7 Since "layers can9t "ick u" "hysical tells while "layin' "oker online8 they tend to call more often when there is a reasona6le chance that you are 6luffin'8 ho"in' their small "air or ace>hi'h will "ick off a 6luff7 *es"ite that8 you shouldn9t com"letely rule out "layin' suited connectors7 5emem6er8 you need to "lay more hands shorthanded anyway7 I9m not su''estin' that you a!oid "layin' these hands8 Bust that you "lay them for different reasons7 For e am"le8 in a shorthanded 'ame8 you don9t really want to lim" into a fi!e>handed "ot with the />1 of hearts7 ;ou can still "lay it8 6ut if you do8 raise itF Take the lead and try to re"resent a 6i' hand on the flo" whether you hit the flo" or not7 If you meet with some resistance8 it9s time to a6ort the mission and sim"ly 'i!e u" on the 6luff 6efore it9s too late7 (lind *efense (y now8 you should 6e a6le to 'uess that I ad!ise defendin' your 6linds fiercely when "layin' shorthanded7 *on9t 6e "aranoid8 fearin' "remium hands all the time7 Shorthanded8 your o""onents will 6e raisin' will all kinds of Bunk8 and there is no reason to think they ha!e a 'reat hand Bust 6ecause they raised7
1/3

For instance8 say in a ten>handed 'ame8 you hold ->1 offsuit7 The first "layer raises and all fold to you7 Should you call8 fold8 or reraiseE If you said fold8 you9re correct7 Same hand8 same situation:only this time the raise came from the 6utton in a three>handed 'ame7 +ould foldin' still 6e correctE Of course not7 In this situation you should lean toward reraisin' and sometimes Bust callin' to mi u" your "lay7 ->1 sim"ly fi'ures to 6e 6etter than the initial raiser9s startin' hand8 and you want to reraise to take control of the hand7 It9s a decent hand that can win without im"ro!ement8 6ut more often than not you would 6e ha""y to win it on the flo" with a 6et7 HE-*S>LP PL-; To some de'ree8 you can throw the rule6ooks out the window when "layin' heads>u"7 Now8 anythin' 'oesD it is "sycholo'ical warfare in its "urest form7 ;our 'oal is to seek out your o""onent9s weaknesses and fi'ure out a way to e "loit them7 How you do that de"ends on what those weaknesses are7 Pre>Flo" Play +hen "layin' heads>u"8 the 6utton acts first 6efore the flo" 6ut last on the remainin' 6ettin' rounds7 The 6utton has the small 6lind8 while the other "layer has the 6i' 6lind7 -s we9!e stressed throu'hout this cha"ter8 "osition is of "aramount im"ortance in Te as hold9em 6ut es"ecially when "layin' heads>u"7 This makes !irtually any hand "laya6le on the 6utton7 In fact8 if you were to watch two world>class "layers "lay heads>u"8 you9d soon notice that 6oth "layers see a lar'e "ercenta'e of the flo"sF The flo" is usually raised 6y the 6utton and either called or reraised 6y the 6i' 6lind7 The 6utton raises 6ecause of his "owerful "osition8 and the 6i' 6lind usually calls or reraises 6ased on the merit of his holecards:unless he is holdin' one of the rare hands he folds7 If you decide to "lay on the 6utton8 which I su''est you do with o!er 1I "ercent of the hands dealt8 you should come in for a raise7 Lim"in' in to mi it u" is fine8 6ut you can9t 'o wron' with a raise7 -s the 6i' 6lind8 it9s im"ortant that you res"ect your "ositional disad!anta'e7 ;ou should still
1/1

defend your 6lind most of the time8 6ut you don9t want to 'et too carried away and end u" o!er"layin' your hand 6efore the flo"7 +hen the 6utton raises8 you will 6e 'ettin' . to 1 on your money to call a 6et7 The 6utton is two 6ets8 "lus the one you already ha!e in the 6i' 6lind7 That9s sim"ly too 'ood a "rice to "ass u" with most any hand you are dealt7 E!en <>/ offsuit is worth a call here7 Post>Flo" Play One thin' we know for sure is that you will miss the flo" more often than you will hit it7 +hen you do hit a "iece of the flo"8 it9s usually correct to take the hand all the way to the ri!er8 de"endin' on the action and the cards that come off on the turn and ri!er7 For e am"le8 say the 6utton raises and you call the raise with H>/7 The flo" comes Q>0>/8 'i!in' you 6ottom "air and an o!ercard7 ;ou should ne!er throw this hand away on the flo"7 It9s !ery "ro6a6le that you ha!e the 6est hand8 and e!en if you don9t8 you ha!e fi!e outs to win the "ot8 namely three kin's and two si es7 In fact8 if you flo" this hand you should "ro6a6ly 6et ri'ht out or 'o for the check>raise on the flo"7 *e"endin' on your o""onent8 you may e!en decide to sim"ly check and call on the flo"8 6ut that could "otentially 'i!e your o""onent the free card he needs to 6eat you7 The 6est "lay here would 6e check>raisin'8 followed closely 6y 6ettin' ri'ht out8 and lastly check>callin'7 Foldin' is not an o"tion7 If you are waitin' to flo" 6etter than that8 you sim"ly aren9t 'oin' to 6eat any6ody "layin' heads>u"7 Playin' -'ainst a Passi!e Player I could easily su6stitute 6ad or weak "layer for "assi!e "layer in this section9s title7 - "assi!e "layer is your ideal o""onent heads>u"7 -'ainst a "layer like this8 you should 6e a6le to take full control and win all the "ots where 6oth you and your o""onent miss the flo"7 The "layer who wins the maBority of these "ots is 'enerally the "layer that will 'et the money in the end7 If your o""onent is foldin' too many hands "re>flo"8 you should 6e raisin' on the 6utton 133 "ercent of the time:e!en with 1>$F Think a6out it8 if your o""onent isn9t defendin' his 6lind with 13>/8 H>$8 0>I8 etc78 raisin' with any hand on the 6utton is "ro6a6ly enou'h to ensure a win7 - "re>flo" raise
1/$

followed u" 6y a "osition 6et will force your o""onent to either hit the flo" or try to make a "lay at the "ot7 -nd who9s to say that you can9t hit the flo"E *escri6in' a "layer as "assi!e in heads>u" "lay is a more "olite way of sayin' that he can9t win7 Playin' -'ainst an -''ressi!e Player +ell8 if you ha!e a choice 6etween Mr7 Passi!e and Mr7 -''ressi!e8 you mi'ht want to a!oid Mr7 -''ressi!e and "ound on "oor old Mr7 Passi!e7 Howe!er8 if you do find yourself u" a'ainst an a''ressi!e "layer heads>u"8 there are some thin's you should kee" in mind7 *efeatin' a "assi!e "layer 6y "layin' a''ressi!ely works8 so we should assume that the remedy for an a''ressi!e "layer would 6e to "lay "assi!ely8 ri'htE +ron'7 -'ainst an a''ressi!e "layer you9ll sim"ly ha!e to fi'ht fire with fire and attack him with an array of wea"ons8 the most deadly 6ein' the check>raise7 +hen you know that your o""onent will 6et almost any flo"8 the 6est way to take ad!anta'e is to check>raise him out of "osition8 then raise him in "osition7 If you can call8 raise7 +hen you feel like you ha!e the 6est of it8 take the lead and try to "ut in the last 6et on e!ery street8 'ettin' full !alue for your hand7 Sittin' 6ack and waitin' to tra" your o""onent with a 6i' hand sim"ly doesn9t work in limit "oker7 This is a !ia6le strate'y in no>limit 6ecause you can tra" a "layer for his whole stack8 6ut in limit "oker the 6est you can do is may6e win an e tra 6et or two7 In the meantime8 while you are waitin' to tra" him8 he9s Bust "icked u" more than three or four 6ets from you with nothin'F 5emem6er8 the winner of a heads>u" "ot will 'enerally 6e the "layer who "lays 6etter in mar'inal situations7 Limit hold9em is all a6out "ound8 "ound8 "ound7 No fear7

1/.

OM-H- EI,HT O5 (ETTE5 6y (o66y (aldwin -s one of the all time 'reats in any form of hold9em8 (o66y (aldwin was a lo'ical choice to 6e my limit hold9em colla6orator in the ori'inal Su"er#System7 Hnowin' the rare insi'ht he 6rin's to all "oker 'ames he "lays8 I asked him to shift 'ears and write a section on Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter for Su"er#System $7 (o66y8 who ser!es as )EO of the Mira'e )or"oration and President of the multi>6illion dollar (ella'io Hotel and )asino8 told me he would do it on one condition7 *ue to the demands of his !arious "ositions8 he asked to enlist the hel" of Mark ,re'orich7 I readily a'reed8 thinkin' that three heads are 6etter than two and knowin' Mark to 6e a to" Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layer7 So (o66y su"er!ised the writin' and had the final word on the strate'ies you will find in the cha"ter7 (o66y left "rofessional "oker in 1410 after winnin' the +orld Series of Poker main e!ent8 and now he "lays only in the ultra hi'h stakes 'ames7 Howe!er8 his analysis of Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter can 6e used to win at any le!el of "lay7 ;ou are a6out to disco!er the "owerful thou'ht "rocesses and "oker strate'ies that "ut (o66y into the Poker Hall of Fame7 S"ecial -cknowled'ment To Mark ,re'orich This cha"ter could not ha!e 6een com"leted without the s"ecial e "ertise and coordination of Mark ,re'orich8 who is re'arded as one of the 6est Omaha hi'h>low "layers in the world7 In fact8 in a $331 )ard Player ma'a%ine "layers "oll conducted durin' the +orld Series of Poker8 Mark was !oted the G1 li!e action Omaha hi'h>low "layer7 INT5O*L)TION Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is a newcomer on the "oker scene7 *iscussion of the 'ame wasn9t e!en included in the ori'inal Su"er#System7 It9s hard to 6elie!e that a relati!ely new 'ame could achie!e such a loyal followin' so ra"idly7 Howe!er8 it is now the 'ame of choice for thousands of "oker "layers in the Lnited States and around the world7 ;ou can find 'ames at !irtually e!ery le!el8 from 6e'inner ta6les to ultra hi'h stakes 'ames8 in most maBor card
1/2

rooms7 Pro6a6ly the most si'nificant reason for its "o"ularity is its well>deser!ed re"utation as an action 'ame8 6ecause so many hands can 6e "layed 6efore and after the flo"7 (ut there9s a lot to learn 6efore you hit the ta6les8 so let9s 'et to itF (E,INNIN, OM-H- EI,HT>O5>(ETTE5 (efore we 6e'in a discussion of 'ame strate'y8 here is a 6rief course in the rules of Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter7 (ettin' Like Te as hold9em8 Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is a flo" 'ame7 In fact8 once the initial four downcards ha!e 6een dealt8 the "lay of the hand is identical to hold9em7 The two "layers to the left of the dealer 6utton "ost the small and lar'e 6linds7 -ction 6e'ins with the "layer to the left of the 6i' 6lind who must call the amount of the 6i' 6lind8 raise8 or fold7 The action then continues around the ta6le to the 6i' 6lind8 who has last action 6efore the flo"7 -fter the flo"8 the "layer still in the hand who is seated closest to the left of the 6utton acts first8 as is the case with each successi!e round of 6ettin'7 In most 'ames with fi ed limits8 the "re>flo" and flo" 6ets are one si%e8 and the turn and ri!er 6ets are dou6le that7 For e am"le8 in a C$>C2 'ame8 the first two rounds of 6ettin' must 6e in increments of C$ and the last two rounds in increments of C27 In CI3#C133 'ames8 the increments would 6e CI3 and C1337 The standard 'ame features a ma imum of one 6et and three raises "er round8 althou'h the maBority of 'ames in Las Ne'as "ermit four raises7 +hen the Pot Is S"lit Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is a hi'h>low s"lit 'ame8 which means the hi'h and low hands each 'et half of the "ot7 There is always a hi'h hand8 which will recei!e some "ortion of the "ot8 6ut sometimes no low hand is "ossi6le 6ecause to make a low hand8 a "layer must ha!e fi!e un"aired cards ei'ht or 6elow7 For e am"le8 if the flo" came H><>48 it would 6e im"ossi6le for any "layer to make a hand of fi!e un"aired cards ei'ht or 6elow7 +hen there is no low8 the hi'h hand wins the whole "ot7 The 6est "ossi6le low is I>2>.>$>1/I

and is commonly referred to as a wheel or a 6icycle7 Furthermore8 in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 strai'hts and flushes don9t count a'ainst a low hand7 Thus8 />2>.>$>- of hearts would 6e a />2 low8 in addition to a flush for the hi'h7 If two or more "layers hold the same hi'h or low hand8 they di!ide that half of the "ot7 *i!idin' half a "ot in this way is called Juarterin'7 ;ou will encounter this much more often on the low side of the "ot7 ;ou Must Play Two )ards from ;our Hand In hold9em a "layer is allowed to use one8 6oth8 or neither of the cards dealt to him in conBunction with the cards on 6oard to make the 6est "ossi6le fi!e> card hand7 Omaha "layers8 howe!er8 are forced to make their 6est fi!e>card hand 6y usin' e actly two of their own cards and e actly three from the 6oard:no more8 no less7 (ut many different com6inations are "ossi6le7 ;ou May Play *ifferent )om6inations for Hi'h and Low In Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 you are allowed to make 6oth your 6est hi'h and your 6est low hand 6y com6inin' two of your cards with three from the 6oard7 ;ou may use different cards in each direction8 or you can use a card for 6oth your hi'h hand and low hand7 For e am"le8 su""ose you ha!e -E $E 1E HE and the 6oard isK .E 2E /E <E QE7 In this case8 you can use the ->1 of clu6s for hi'h =ace>hi'h flush? and the ->$ for low =/>2>.>$>-?7 5ankin' of Low Hands If you ha!e "layed stud ei'ht>or>6etter8 ace>to>fi!e low6all8 or ra%%8 you already know the rankin' order of low hands in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter7 The 6est "ossi6le hand is I>2>.>$>-8 and the worst Jualifyin' low hand is 0>1>/> I>27 To determine whether or not you ha!e your o""onent 6eat8 com"are the hands in order of hi'hest card to lowest card7 Here is an e am"leK ;our handK 0>I>.>$>-7 ;our o""onentK 1>/>I>2>.7 ;our 0 is worse than his 18 so your o""onent wins this hand7 It9s also common for 6oth "layers to share the 6oard cards7 For instance8 with 0>I>2 on the 6oard8 one "layer is likely to ed'e out another 6y holdin' ->$ a'ainst ->.7
1//

Hand 5eadin' -ll of these different "ossi6ilities can 6e Juite confusin' for new "layers and e!en e "erienced ones7 It is not uncommon for e!en a winnin' hi'h>limit "layer to misread his own hand in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter7 If you are new to the 'ame and unsure of what you9re holdin' at the end of the hand8 your 6est 6et is to turn your hand o!er at the ri!er and ask the dealer for assistance in readin' it7 +ith a 6it of "ractice8 thou'h8 readin' your hand will 6ecome second nature7 Hand 5eadin' E am"les The followin' are e am"les of some common situations that arise in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter:and some that are a little tricky7 If you ha!e trou6le followin' some of them8 try dealin' out some sam"le hands and "ractice identifyin' each "layer9s 6est hi'h and low hands7 Once you ha!e shar"ened your hand readin' skills8 you will 6e ready to mo!e on to strate'y7 E am"le One ;our handK ->.>H>H O""onentK $>.>I>4 (oardK />1>0><>Q This is a s"lit "ot8 as your 0>1>/>.>- low ed'es out your o""onent9s 0>1>/>.> $8 and his hi'h hand8 a 4>hi'h strai'ht8 6eats your "air of kin's7 E am"le Two ;our handK ->/>H>H O""onentK ->2>0>0 (oardK $>.>2>I>< +ith a wheel =I>2>.>$>-? for 6oth hi'h and low8 your o""onent scoo"s7 ;ou cannot make the nut low8 6ecause you must "lay 6oth the ace and / in your hand8 lea!in' you with only a />2>.>$>- for low7 These cards don9t stretch to make a strai'ht8 either8 so you9re stuck with Bust a "air of kin's for hi'h7 This may seem confusin'8 "articularly if hold9em has 6een your "rimary 'ame7 If this were hold9em8 you could "lay the ace to make a wheel8 and the / to make a />hi'h strai'ht7 (ut in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 you must always "lay e actly two cards from your hand and e actly three from the 6oard7
1/1

E am"le Three ;our handK ->.>I>/ O""onentK .>2><>< (oardK ->$>.>2>I ;ou wind u" with three Juarters of this "ot7 The low side is s"lit8 as your o""onent "lays his .>2 with the ->$>I on the 6oard8 and you can "lay any com6ination of ->.8 ->I8 or .>I to make the nuts8 the 6est hand7 Howe!er8 you can use your / and either your . or I to make a />hi'h strai'ht8 which wins the hi'h half of the "ot7 E am"le Four ;our handK ->->2>1 O""onentK $>I>I>1 (oardK $>2>/>1>0 -nother s"lit "ot7 ;our o""onent wins the hi'h with an 0>hi'h strai'ht8 6eatin' your two>"air hand of se!ens and fours7 Howe!er8 your 1>/>2>$>- low is 'ood enou'h to 6eat his 1>/>I>2>$7 The low hand is somewhat tricky to read8 as 6oth "layers ha!e low cards matched 6y the 6oard7 - low can still 6e made8 "ro!ided some com6ination of fi!e cards can 6e "layed without a "air7 In Omaha Bar'on8 you ha!e a @li!e aceA for low7 E am"le Fi!e ;our handK ->->2>1 O""onentK $>I>/>H (oardK $>2>1>0>4 This time8 your o""onent wins the whole "ot7 His 4>hi'h strai'ht 6eats your two "air8 and his low is 'ood as well7 ;ou must "lay an 0>1>2>$>- low8 6ut your o""onent can "lay a 1>/>I>2>$7 E am"le Si ;our handK ->.><>< O""onentK 2>2>0>Q (oardK .>4>13><>Q
1/0

This hand is likely to send you shufflin' off to the dice ta6les shakin' your head7 ;ou ha!e a set of Backs8 6ut lose to a Jueen>hi'h strai'ht7 Note that you also ha!e a trey in your hand matchin' the trey on 6oard8 6ut you cannot make a full house8 as this would reJuire three cards from your hand7 It is im"ossi6le in Omaha8 as it is in hold9em8 to hold a full house when there is no "air on the 6oard7 E am"le Se!en ;our handK -E $E 0E 13E O""onentK .>2>I>0 (oardK />1>4><>H =four hearts? ;ou win this "ot8 6ut not with a flush7 ;ou must hold two hearts in order to make a flush8 so the ace 6y itself is meanin'less7 Howe!er8 the 13>0 in your hand "roduces a Back>hi'h strai'ht8 6arely ed'in' your o""onent9s 4>hi'h strai'ht7 No low is "ossi6le here7 E am"le Ei'ht ;our handK ->$>2>< O""onentK 2>I>1>1 (oardK .>.>1><>< ;ou take another tou'h loss on this hand7 -'ain8 no low is "ossi6le8 and the 6est you can do for a hi'h is "lay the ->< from your hand with <><>1 from the 6oard8 'i!in' you tri" Backs with an ace kicker7 (e careful not to think you ha!e a full house7 It could turn out to 6e an e "ensi!e mistake7 Playin' his 1> 1 with the 1><>< on the 6oard8 your o""onent does make a full house8 with se!ens full of Backs7 Note that if you held ->$>.>< rather than ->$>2><8 you would ha!e won the "ot with a 6i''er full house7 E am"le Nine ;our handK $>.>.>Q O""onentK ->$>.>Q (oardK 0>0>0>0>4 So8 you finally decide to take an inferior startin' hand u" a'ainst your o""onent8 and you emer'e !ictorious7 *o you see whyE Since only three
1/4

6oard cards can 6e used8 you take 0>0>0 from the 6oard and com6ine it with your "air of threes for a full house7 The 6est hand your o""onent can make8 howe!er8 is 0>0>0>->Q7 (y the way8 any "layer holdin' two nines in his hand would ha!e the nuts8 as nines full of ei'hts would 6eat all !arieties of ei'hts full7 The second nutsE Two aces7 E am"le Ten ;our handK ->2>I>0 O""onentK ->2>I>H (oardK ->2>I>0>4 ;ou win the entire "ot7 ;our aces and ei'hts ni" your o""onent9s aces and fi!es7 Neither one of you can make a low hand8 as you must 6e a6le to "lay fi!e un"aired cards7 If there had 6een a low card on the 6oard instead of the nine8 6oth you and your o""onent would 6e a6le to make some kind of low hand7 P5E>FLOP PL-; (asic Pre>Flo" Play Startin' Hand FundamentalsK -n O!er!iew One of the 'reat features of most loose lower limit Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter 'ames is that adherin' to strict startin' hand reJuirements will 6e enou'h to "roduce a "rofit7 The reason for this is that in many of these 'ames8 si or more "layers see the flo"8 and in multiway "ots8 it takes a !ery stron' hand: freJuently the nut hand:to win7 So knowin' which startin' hands are most likely to "roduce nut hands and strictly "layin' only these cards will 'i!e you a 6uilt>in ad!anta'e o!er your loose>"layin' o""onents7 In a multiway hold9em "ot8 there are times when you should "lay a lesser holdin'8 such as 1>/ suited8 for e am"le7 Furthermore8 in hold9em8 hands such as ->H decrease in !alue as the num6er of "layers in the "ot increases7 In Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 howe!er8 all hands are s"eculati!e8 e!en more so than in hold9em7 The more "layers contestin' the "ot8 the more im"ortant it is that you hold a "remium hand that can de!elo" into the nuts7 +hile startin' hand "lay can 'enerate a "rofit in loose low>limit 'ames8 this
113

will not 6e enou'h as you "ro'ress u" the ladder7 Nonetheless8 6ein' a6le to hold your own in a 'ame durin' the learnin' "rocess is a nice 6onus7 It makes for e tremely chea" and "otentially "rofita6le lessons7 -s the limits 'et hi'her8 it 6ecomes more im"ortant that you ha!e a mastery of all as"ects of the 'ame8 as you will 6e facin' more hi'hly skilled o""onents7 (ut no matter how hi'h or low the stakes8 the "layers who ha!e worked hardest to de!elo" their 'ames win the most money7 +hat To Look For in a Startin' Hand The -ce7 It is of "aramount im"ortance that you remem6er this factK -lthou'h Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is a s"lit>"ot 'ame8 the key to the 'ame is winnin' the entire "ot or scoo"in'7 +ith this in mind8 you should select hands that stand a 'ood chance of winnin' the whole "ot7 The key card is an ace8 and few hands are "laya6le without one7 In fact8 if you9re Bust startin' out8 it9s not a 6ad idea to routinely fold e!ery hand without an ace in it7 In doin' so8 you9re not 'i!in' u" much "otential "rofit7 - num6er of e "erienced "layers clin' to the @*on9t lea!e home without itA "hiloso"hy8 and it ser!es them well7 +hy are aces so si'nificantE Not only are they reJuired for the 6est low startin' hands8 they are also the hi'hest card in the deck8 "ro!idin' the hi'hest "air8 two "air8 three of a kind8 flush8 and strai'ht hands7 +hy would you want to s"ot your o""onents a card this "owerful and !ersatileE Middle )ards7 If aces are at the to" of the Omaha food chain8 then middle cards are the lowest form of life7 Hands dominated 6y middle cards:se!ens8 ei'hts8 and nines8 and to a lesser e tent fi!es8 si es8 and tens:stand !irtually no chance of scoo"in'8 unless there9s no low hand7 *es"ite the fact that hands such as />1>0>4 "roduce many strai'hts8 the "resence of these strai'hts means that a low will 6e "ossi6le8 and the "ot is likely to 6e s"lit7 In order for no low to 6e "ossi6le8 the 6oard would ha!e to contain three hi'h cards7 (ut that9s trou6le8 too7 For e am"le8 if the flo" comes 13><>Q8 you ha!e made your strai'ht8 6ut you could easily lose to a hi'her strai'ht7 -lso8 strai'hts are !ulnera6le hands in Omaha8 6ecause any time a flush or full house is made "ossi6le 6y the 6oard8 it is Juite likely that one of your o""onents has one7
111

Hi'h Hands7 Strai'ht hi'h hands such as 13><>Q>H can win some nice "ots when they connect "erfectly with the 6oard7 Howe!er8 these hands don9t hit often8 and sometimes the "ot still 'ets cho""ed 6etween you and an o""onent with a low hand or the same hi'h hand8 ty"ically a strai'ht or two "air7 -lthou'h this ty"e of hand can 6e "layed at times8 it is im"ortant to remem6er that it is a drawin' hand that will usually miss and 6e folded on the flo"7 So with hi'h>only hands8 you should look for certain situations8 such as multiway "ots8 when you can 'et in for one 6et and recei!e a 'ood "rice on your in!estment7 It9s 'enerally 6est to "lay this hand chea"ly a'ainst a lar'e num6er of o""onents8 in the ho"es of winnin' a si%a6le "ot should you connect with the flo"7 -ce )om"anions7 So if the 6est startin' hands contain an ace8 what cards make the 6est com"anions for the aceE Premium low cards are 6est8 "refera6ly a deuce8 6ut ace>trey com6inations are 'enerally "laya6le as well7 The 6oard will freJuently "air either your ace8 deuce8 or trey8 so ha!in' a third low card8 I or 6elow8 is im"ortant as well7 (efore you 'o to war "rior to the flo"8 make sure you ha!e at least three cards to a wheel8 includin' an ace and either a deuce or trey7 Since scoo"in' is the 'oal8 it9s also im"ortant to ha!e hi'h>hand "ossi6ilities with your low cards7 Two aces with a deuce or a trey hold two>way "otential8 as do suited cards7 O6!iously8 it9s 6est if your ace is suited8 6ut e!en small suited com6inations add to your chances of scoo"in' the hand7 Hands like -> $>.>4 unsuited are "laya6le due to the "resence of the three 6est low cards8 6ut these ty"es of hands will ty"ically only win the low side7 Mo!in' down the ladder8 low hands without an ace8 such as $>.>2>138 are only mar'inally "laya6le8 and hands such as 2>I>/>< are not "laya6le at all7 ,ood Startin' Hands The followin' are a few e am"les of 'ood Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter startin' handsK ->->$> ->->.> ->->2>I ->$>.> ->$>2>H ->$>I>/
11$

->.>2>I ->H>Q>$ ->.>I>Q =dou6le>suited? Notice that all of the "recedin' hands contain at least one ace7 5emem6er8 if your hand doesn9t contain an ace8 there is one e tra "remium card that could 6e in the clutches of your o""onents7 In a full Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter 'ame8 most of the deck is dealt8 so you can e "ect most of the aces to 6e in your o""onents9 hands7 The Most Im"ortant *ecision of the Hand Of all the decisions made durin' the course of an Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter hand8 the choice of whether to initially "lay or fold is 6y far the most im"ortant7 Seein' a flo" with an inferior hand mi'ht seem like a relati!ely harmless decision8 6ut it is a mistake that tends to lead to more costly mistakes7 Make this your Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter mantraK Play only hands that ha!e o6!ious "otential of de!elo"in' into the nuts7 - hold9em "layer mi'ht occasionally "lay an inferior hand or ra's8 6ut he will ty"ically 6e hard "ressed to continue after the flo"7 Howe!er8 due to the four>card hands in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 "layers seein' the flo" with a ra''y hand will freJuently flo" Bust enou'h of a draw to Bustify stayin' in: often incorrectly7 -s a result8 instead of sim"ly missin' the flo" and foldin'8 a reckless "layer may find himself tied on until the ri!er8 chasin' a draw that should not ha!e 6een "ursued7 Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is a "erfect e am"le of that old com"uter ma im ,I,OK @,ar6a'e In8 ,ar6a'e Out7A Startin' with middle cards will "roduce lots of middle strai'hts8 which often either lose to 6etter hi'h hands or s"lit with low hands7 Startin' with dou6le>suited medium cards will "roduce flushes that often lose to 6i''er flushes7 Howe!er8 "layin' "remium cards8 such as suited aces with a deuce and#or a trey8 allows you to make the nut low hand and 'i!es you a chance to de!elo" a hi'h hand as well7 5emem6er your mantra a6out only "layin' "ossi6le nut hands7 If you find yourself uncertain a6out whether a hand should 6e "layed or folded8 it9s 'enerally 6est to fold7 (ein' too creati!e with your startin' hands is a lia6ility in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter7
11.

5aisin' (efore the Flo" - common misconce"tion is that it9s wron' to raise 6efore the flo"7 Many "layers:es"ecially those that ha!e "layed a lot of hold9em:feel that "layin' the flo" is the key to the 'ame and that only a minimal in!estment should 6e made "rior to seein' the first three 6oard cards7 In hold9em8 hands such as two aces are o6!ious raisin' hands8 as they need not im"ro!e to win the "ot7 Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter hands almost always need to im"ro!e to win8 so many "layers consider this enou'h of a reason to a!oid makin' a raise 6efore the flo"7 -lthou'h flo" "lay is crucial to success8 there are numerous situations in which it is in fact correct to raise "re>flo"7 ;ou will 6e makin' a mistake if you ne!er raise 6efore the flo" in this 'ame7 There are two reasons to raise a "ot 6efore the flo"K =1? To eliminate "layers and narrow the fieldD =$? To 6uild a 6i''er "ot7 It is im"ortant to consider which of these effects your raise is likely to ha!e7 In the loose @no fold>emA 'ames common at some of the lower limits8 a raise mi'ht not narrow the field7 If this is the case in your 'ame8 don9t raise7 This doesn9t mean raisin' 6efore the flo" is incorrect in a no fold>em 'ameD rather8 a raise should 6e made only when you are lookin' to "lay a 6i''er "ot a'ainst se!eral o""onents7 +hen is a raise likely to narrow the fieldE Ty"ically8 if the ta6le is fairly ti'ht or most of the "layers are tryin' to "lay decent startin' hands8 which tends to 6e the case as limits "ro'ress in si%e8 raisin' will thin the crowd7 The raise should 6e e!en more effecti!e if no one has entered the "ot yet7 -lso8 if your o""onents "ercei!e you to 6e a ti'ht8 solid "layer8 they may 6e less likely to call your raise7 Poker 'ames are almost always in a state of flu 8 so it9s im"ortant to "ay attention to how the 'ame is "layin'7 The addition or su6traction of Bust one "layer is often enou'h to dramatically alter the entire com"le ion of the 'ame7 Hands that should 6e "rotected with a raise are those that fare 6est a'ainst fewer o""onents7 These include most hands with two aces8 as two aces with
112

any two other cards are a fa!orite a'ainst nearly all other hands in a one>on> one situation7 Other hands that ha!e 6oth low and hi'h "otential8 such as -> $>H> 8 ->.>I>H8 or ->$>Q>Q8 "lay well a'ainst few o""onents8 althou'h they also "lay fine multiway7 Holdin' an ->H com6ination freJuently comes in handy in "ots a'ainst only one or two o""onents7 +hen only a cou"le of "layers see the flo"8 the deck is often richer in aces than normal7 This assum"tion is 6ased on the tendency of Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layers to "lay hands with an ace in them7 If 6oth you and your o""onent are holdin' an ace and an ace flo"s8 your kin' may wind u" "layin' as a kicker8 ena6lin' you to win the hi'h side of the "ot with ->H7 -lso8 you 'enerally won9t need as stron' of a hand to win a heads>u" "ot8 so flo""in' a kin' or kin's u" has definite !alue7 Not unlike hold9em8 the !alue of the ->H com6ination declines as more "layers contest the "ot8 since stron'er hands:such as strai'hts8 flushes8 or full houses:will ty"ically 6e needed to win the hi'h "ortion of the "ot7 ,reat Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter hands like ->$>.>2 can 6e raisin' hands 6efore the flo" as well8 6ut for another reason7 5aisin' in s"ots that are likely to "roduce a short field is a mistake with this sort of hand8 due to its lack of hi'h>hand "otential7 Howe!er8 in a "ot contested 6y se!eral "layers8 this hand is e cellent7 If a low hand is "ossi6le:and a low hand will 6e "ossi6le most of the time:you will most likely 6e holdin' the nuts7 *ue to this hand9s hi'h "ro6a6ility of makin' the nut low8 'o ahead and raise to 6uild a 6i' "ot if se!eral "layers ha!e already entered the hand7 -dditionally8 if your o""onents seem to ha!e no res"ect for raises8 'o ahead and raise re'ardless of your "osition7 ;ou should still 'et "lenty of action7 Other 'ood hands to raise with in multiway "ots include ->->$> 8 ->$>.> 8 and ->$>2> 8 es"ecially if your ace is suited7 (ein' suited adds si'nificant !alue to your hi'h "ros"ects8 and nut flush cards "lay !ery well in multiway situations7 It9s okay to raise with Bust a6out any ->$ suited holdin' if se!eral "layers are already in the "ot7 ;our o""onents will often make and o!er!alue smaller flushes7 E!en hands like ->. suited are acce"ta6le raisin' hands in !ery loose 'ames8 as you want to char'e your o""onents the ma imum amount for "layin' inferior8 low "ercenta'e hands7
11I

Playin' Hi'h>Only Hands Pro"erly "layin' hands with four 6i' cards:6y definition8 nines or hi'her: is not an easy task in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter7 Howe!er8 "layin' them selecti!ely and skillfully will add to your "rofits7 (y definition8 a Juality hi'h>only hand contains four 6i' cards8 4 or hi'her7 Nines tend to taint the hand8 as they will not stretch to form "art of an ace> hi'h strai'ht7 +hen a 4 is used as "art of a strai'ht8 two "ro6lems e istK =1? If a 4 hel"s make the nut strai'ht8 then either a low or a full house will 6e "ossi6le 6ased on the 6oard cards7 =$? If a 4 forms a strai'ht with no "ossi6le low8 then either a hi'her strai'ht or a full house will 6e "ossi6le7 Hands such as H>H><>08 Q>Q>/>18 and H>Q><>. are not "laya6le in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 as they contain too many uncoordinated cards7 Think in terms of the num6er of decent com6inations created 6y a hand8 and it9s easy to see why these hands 6elon' in the muck7 There are8 howe!er8 a num6er of 'ood hi'h>only hands7 Here are some hands that are "laya6le under many conditionsK H>Q><>13 ->H>Q>13 Q><>13>4 H>H><>13 H>Q>Q>< ->H><>< Q>Q><>< In order to determine if it is correct to enter a "ot with a hand com"rised only of hi'h cards8 there are se!eral !aria6les to consider7 On the "ositi!e side8 hi'h hands "lay 6est when you can "lay in an un>raised multiway "ot8 6ecause you want to 'et a 'ood "rice on your hand from the "ot7 In the case of strai'ht>hi'h hands8 you will most likely miss the flo" and 6e forced to fold7 Therefore8 if you can 'et in without much initial in!estment a'ainst se!eral "layers8 you are 'ettin' far 6etter odds on your money than if you "lay a'ainst only one or two "layers for a raise7 In some Omaha ei'ht>or> 6etter 'ames8 multiway unraised "ots are the norm7 If this is the case8 callin' with Juality strai'ht>hi'h hands is acce"ta6le from e!en the earliest "ositions7 Howe!er8 in many 'ames8 it is difficult to foresee whether the "ot will 6e
11/

raised or how many "layers will see the flo"7 If this is the situation8 you need to use "osition to determine if a hi'h>only hand is "laya6le7 In early "osition8 you can9t count on an unraised multiway "ot8 so you should fold7 In later "ositions8 more information is a!aila6le to you7 If se!eral o""onents come in8 then 'o ahead and "lay7 If the "ot will "lay out shorthanded8 callin' a raise with a strai'ht>hi'h hand is 'enerally not a 'ood strate'y8 6ut in a multiway situation8 it is fine to "lay for more than one 6et7 ;our hand will usually miss the flo" =thus8 too much is risked for too little reward in shorthanded raised "ots?8 6ut when it connects8 it will freJuently make the nuts7 This is often what it takes to scoo" a multiway "ot7 Hi'h>only hands take down some 6i' "ots in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter and can 6e "rofita6le if discretion is utili%ed when decidin' whether to "lay them7 -lthou'h a''ressi!e "oker is winnin' "oker8 there aren9t many situations in which raisin' with hi'h>only hands 6efore the flo" is 6eneficial7 In 'eneral8 since you will fold on the flo" a 'ood "ercenta'e of the time8 raisin' only hurts the "rice the "ot is offerin' you7 The hand has 'reater im"lied !alue if the flo" can 6e seen chea"ly7 +hen e!eryone has folded to you and you are in last "osition8 it is tem"tin' to raise the "ot with four coordinated hi'h cards7 (ut this is usually incorrect7 In a heads u" situation8 few Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter startin' hands ha!e a si'nificant ad!anta'e o!er any other7 Thus8 the 6linds will 6e correct to call with mar'inal hands7 There are some e ce"tions thou'h8 such as when the 6linds "lay either !ery ti'ht or "oorly7 If this is the case8 then 'o ahead and raise7 One ar'ument for raisin' with hi'h>only hands in multiway "ots is that with so many "layers in8 most of the low cards are 6ein' used7 This makes the deck rich in hi'h cards7 This "erce"tion is lo'ical8 6ut lar'e fields often contain other "layers tar'etin' the hi'h>only end as well7 This is assumin' that the 'ame is one in which "layers are enterin' "ots with decent hands7 ,enerally8 in these ty"es of situations the deck is actually rich in middle cards8 as "layers ha!e entered the "ot with either hi'h or low cards8 or a mi of each7 If you9re "layin' a'ainst o6ser!ant o""onents8 thou'h8 it is im"ortant to raise
111

occasionally with a hi'h>only hand7 *ece"tion is the reason for raisin'8 as it is im"ortant that your o""onents not 6e a6le to read you like a 6ook7 In 'ames with a 'reat deal of turno!er or those in which the "layers are inattenti!e8 this "lay is unnecessary7 Howe!er8 if you consistently "lay with "layers who are familiar with you8 it9s necessary to mi u" your style a 6it7 If your o""onents know that you only raise with low cards8 then they will fi'ure out that they can 6et you out of the "ot if hi'h cards come7 ;ou don9t need to raise with hi'h hands all that often in these 'ames8 6ut do it enou'h to make your raisin' hands less trans"arent7 -d!anced Pre>Flo" Play The Situational Nature of Omaha Ei'ht>or>(etter Hold9em and Omaha are such com"le 8 situational 'ames that 6asic "re>flo" "lay conce"ts alone are not enou'h to make you a winner7 No sin'le strate'y is adeJuate for e!ery situation7 To "lay o"timally8 you must de!elo" a dee"er understandin' of the 'ame8 which will "roduce a more fle i6le strate'y7 Then you will ha!e what it takes to make accurate decisions at the ta6le7 O!er time8 accurate decisions will translate into "rofits7 This section hi'hli'hts some of the key factors you should consider when decidin' how to "roceed with a hand 6efore the flo"7 Loose ,ames !s7 Ti'ht ,ames It is im"ortant that you ha!e a 'ood 'ras" of the style of the 'ame you9re "layin'7 +hether the 'ame is mostly loose =with fi!e or more "layers ty"ically seein' the flo"?8 or ti'ht =three or fewer?8 should ha!e a si'nificant im"act on your hand selection7 In loose 'ames8 hands 'oin' hi'h>only or low>only increase in !alue7 +ith low hands such as ->$>.>08 scoo"in' a'ainst any num6er of o""onents will 6e a difficult task8 althou'h 'ettin' half the "ot is !ery likely when a low comes7 Since winnin' half is the most likely "ositi!e outcome8 it stands to reason that the more "layers in the "ot8 the more money you should win with this hand7 If your ace is suited8 there is real "otential for makin' the 6est hi'h hand8 too7 -'ain8 this is not de"endent on the num6er of o""onents in the "ot7 If you make the nut flush with this hand8 you will almost always win the hi'h whether you ha!e one or se!en o""onents8 "ro!idin' the 6oard is not "aired7
110

Therefore8 it is 6est to "lay this ty"e of hand in a manner that won9t shut out other "layers 6efore the flo"7 +hen you are "layin' in a ti'ht 'ame8 hands includin' two aces and !irtually any other two cards 6ecome hands to "ush "re>flo"8 since raisin' with them will likely narrow the field to one or two o""onents7 (y definition8 ti'ht 'ames are those in which o""onents are "layin' only !ery 'ood startin' hands8 namely those with an ace7 Since you are holdin' two of the aces8 it is unlikely that many o""onents will call your raise7 Passi!e ,ames !s7 -''ressi!e ,ames -nother im"ortant distinction to make is whether the 'ame is "rimarily "assi!e or a''ressi!e7 Passi!e 'ames are those in which there is !ery little raisin' 6efore the flo"8 and not much later in the hand either7 -n ad!anta'e of "layin' hands in late "osition is that you 'enerally ha!e a 6etter idea of how much it will cost to see the flo"8 6ut this "articular 6enefit 6ecomes relati!ely unim"ortant in "assi!e 'ames7 -s a result8 more decent hands are "laya6le from early "osition in these 'ames7 The re!erse is true in e tremely a''ressi!e 'ames8 as the "rice of seein' a flo" is often two8 three8 or more 6ets7 Since the "ots will 6e lar'e8 it is 6est to "lay hands that are hi'hly likely to de!elo" some sort of draw on the flo"8 allowin' you to remain in the hand7 In these 'ames the !alue of one> dimensional hands decreases8 as they 'enerally miss the flo"7 -lthou'h hands that can swin' 6oth hi'h and low are always desira6le8 the im"ortance of holdin' !ersatile cards is ma'nified when the "ot is Bammed 6efore the flo"7 The more likely you are to flo" a draw of some sort8 the 6etter "re"ared you are to "lay a "ot for se!eral 6ets7 Some e am"les of hands that are !ersatile enou'h to "lay !ery well in 'ames with lots of "re> flo" raisin'8 whether the 'ame is ti'ht>a''ressi!e or loose>a''ressi!e8 include ->$>.>H8 ->$>I>H8 ->$>.><8 ->->.>I8 ->.>2>Q8 and ->H>Q>$7 Pay -ttention To +ho Is in the Pot -lthou'h it is freJuently correct to raise with hands containin' an ->$ or -> .8 it is im"ortant to notice the Juality of your o""osition7 If one or two solid "layers ha!e already entered a "ot and you decide to "ut in a raise with ->.> 0>13 offsuit8 your Omaha license should 6e re!oked7 *o you feel your hand
114

is 6etter than their handsE Most likely8 they ha!e low cards:and "rettier !ersions than yours7 (ein' aware of when ti'ht "layers are in a hand is im"ortant in decidin' how to "lay low cards7 In a 'ame in which si loose "layers ha!e lim"ed in8 raisin' with any suited ->$ or ->. is an acce"ta6le "lay7 Howe!er8 with some solid "layers already in the hand8 it is "ro6a6ly 6est to raise only with "remium hands8 includin' ->$>.> suited8 ->$>2>/ suited8 or ->$>2>H suited7 This is another ad!anta'e of late "osition8 as it is "ossi6le to 'et a read on what ty"es of hands are likely to 6e out7 Hnowled'e acJuired from o6ser!ation of your o""onents9 raisin' standards is a !alua6le tool in "layin' effecti!e "oker7 This includes understandin' how their "osition and other factors8 such as how they are doin' in the 'ame8 will affect their standards7 For e am"le8 if an e tremely ti'ht "layer raises8 it is freJuently correct to fold most ->. hands8 if the rest of the hand lacks Juality :"ro6a6ly 6ecause it includes a 18 08 or 47 ;our decision to raise8 call8 or fold 6efore the flo" can also 6e affected 6y the skill le!el of the "layers in the 6linds8 "articularly the 6i' 6lind7 If the 6linds are ti'ht8 solid "layers8 it may 6e worthwhile to raise in late "osition 6efore the flo" with a hand that mi'ht only a""ear to ha!e callin' stren'th7 These "layers are unlikely to 'i!e you any action after the flo" unless they ha!e you 6eat8 so why 'i!e them a free o""ortunity to outdraw youE The more "otential your hand has to swin' 6oth hi'h and low8 the 6etter it is to make the raise7 On the other hand8 "layers who "lay "oorly after the flo" are desira6le o""onents7 Many Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layers make the mistake of tra""in' themsel!es when they9re in the 6linds7 They mi'ht 6e holdin' a hand that they wouldn9t ha!e called one 6et with8 6ut now ha!e decided to chase some ty"e of lon'>shot after 'ettin' a free "eek at the flo"7 If the 6linds are "layers "rone to chasin' middle strai'hts or small flushes8 then it may 6e 6est to Bust call and lea!e them in the "ot7 -'ainst these "layers8 the e tra 6ets you are likely to win in the lon' run are Bustification for "layin' your hand in this manner7 Playin' Two -ces (efore the Flo"
103

Hands with a "air of aces in them are so freJuently mis"layed that some additional discussion is warranted7 First8 it should 6e noted that hands containin' two aces are not always "laya6le8 and the !alue of the hand is hu'ely de"endent u"on the num6er of "layers in the "ot7 -'ainst one or two o""onents8 the stren'th of the two aces alone will freJuently win the hi'h side of the "ot7 +hen se!eral "layers are in8 howe!er8 you will need to im"ro!e to win7 This im"ro!ement will often come in the form of a low or a flush8 so ha!in' low cards or 6ein' suited will add !alue to the aces in a multiway situation7 Hands with two aces and little else should 'enerally 6e thrown away if se!eral "layers ha!e already entered the "ot7 Some e am"les of these trashy aces hands includeK ->->1><8 ->->/>48 and ->->0>H7 If you are first in with this ty"e of hand from early "osition8 foldin' is "ro6a6ly the 6est o"tion8 unless the 'ame is e tremely ti'ht7 In this case8 a raise will likely narrow the field enou'h that the aces will ha!e a 'ood chance of winnin' on their own stren'th7 Hands with dou6le>suited aces8 e!en those without other Juality cards8 always ha!e enou'h hi'h "otential to Bustify seein' the flo"7 Playin' this hand for one 6et in most cases8 rather than "uttin' in a raise8 is "ro6a6ly the 6est a""roach for three reasonsK =1? If the hand does hit8 it will likely make a nut hand7 Thus8 the more o""onents in the "ot8 the more money you will win7 5aisin' 6efore the flo" mi'ht knock out a hand that would ha!e "aid off your nut flush7 =$? +hen the hand misses the flo"8 as it often will8 the "ot is small and you can easily fold7 =.? Finally8 you add a de'ree of dece"tion to the hand8 as two aces are "ercei!ed 6y many to 6e a raisin' hand7 Should you make a full house8 you may 'et unwarranted action from o""onents who misread your hand7 If your hand features two aces and mar'inal side cards8 you mi'ht sometimes "refer to "lay them for three 6ets 6efore the flo" instead of two7 (y "uttin' in the second raise8 you make it likely that the "ot will 6e heads>u"7 This "lay mi'ht not work in some of the loosest Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter 'ames8 6ut it
101

should 6e effecti!e in situations where "layers ha!e at least a little res"ect for money7 +hen a "layer to your ri'ht has o"ened for a raise8 you can make it three 6ets with hands like ->->/>08 ho"in' to make it heads>u"7 If it works8 you will 6e in a 'ood situation8 holdin' 6oth the 6est hand and "osition7 E!en fairly loose "layers will ti'hten u" a 6it when faced with callin' two raises cold7 Howe!er8 in the same 'ame8 if you are first to act with the same ->->/>08 it is normally 6etter to fold than o"en for two 6ets8 6ecause it9s much easier for other "layers to call one raise than two7 Therefore you will likely ha!e to "lay this hand out of "osition a'ainst multi"le o""onents7 OuchF There are times to raise or reraise with aces in order to 6uild a 6i''er "ot8 rather than to narrow the field7 +hen your hand includes a stron' su""ortin' cast8 most si'nificantly a deuce with any other wheel card8 raisin' for !alue is a 'ood "lay7 This is "articularly true if one or 6oth of the aces are suited7 Hands like ->->.>2 or ->->$>I dou6le>suited are 'reat startin' hands8 worthy of ca""in' the 6ettin' 6efore the flo"7 Lnfortunately8 this ty"e of hand is rare7 In fact8 you are more likely to 6e dealt four of a kind than the dream hand of ->->$>. dou6le>suited7 There are only twel!e com6inations of ->->$>. dou6le suited a!aila6le8 !ersus thirteen ways to 6e dealt Juads7 More 5eraisin' Situations The 'oals of a reraise are essentially the same as those of a raise:you either want to narrow the field or increase the si%e of the "ot7 Howe!er8 "uttin' in a third 6et often tends to 6e an e!en more effecti!e means of eliminatin' the other "layers7 Hands that many "layers would ha""ily call two 6ets with8 such as ->.>/>4 or ->2>I><8 now 'o sailin' into the muck7 E!en loose "layers may 6alk at the "ros"ect of callin' three 6ets with 'ar6a'e7 So8 if you feel your hand matches u" 6est a'ainst only one or two other hands8 a reraise may 6e used to set u" this scenario7 5emem6er8 it9s often "ossi6le to shut out o""onents who must come in cold for multi"le 6ets8 6ut it9s almost im"ossi6le to shut out o""onents who are already in!ol!ed7 Takin' note of how the 6linds "lay is im"ortant when wei'hin' the "ossi6ility of makin' a reraise7 In 'eneral8 the 6etter the 6linds "lay8 the harder you should try to raise them out7 Fairly 'ood "layers will routinely call
10$

one additional 6et from the 6i' 6lind with a lar'e num6er of hands8 ho"in' for a 6i' flo"7 (y forcin' them to call two more 6ets8 you reduce the "rice they 'et from the "ot7 This should con!ince them to fold most of the time7 -nother 6enefit you9ll recei!e 6y makin' this "lay is that you sometimes will reraise with hands that don9t a""ear to merit it8 so it makes you more un"redicta6le in the eyes of your o""onents7 On to" of that8 you9!e enhanced this ima'e while makin' a sound strate'ic "lay7 There will 6e times when you hold a "remium hand and se!eral "layers are already in the "ot for a raise or two7 In these cases8 'o ahead and reraise or ca" the 6ettin'8 since you are holdin' a hand that "erforms well a'ainst se!eral o""onents7 Hands such as ->$>.>28 ->$>.> suited8 and ->$>2>H suited are 'ood candidates for creatin' a lar'e "ot8 as there is a hi'h likelihood that the flo" will 6e "romisin' for you7 It should 6e noted8 thou'h8 that when some stron' "layers are in the hand8 it is likely that they hold hands similar in stren'th to yours7 5eraisin' in this s"ot will lead to financial fluctuations rather than increased "rofits7 5aisin' +hen ;ou9re in the (lind *ue to the disad!anta'e of your "osition throu'hout the hand8 it is 'enerally not a 'ood idea to raise 6efore the flo" when you are in either the small or 6i' 6lind7 +hen you do raise8 it will almost e clusi!ely 6e to 6uild a 6i''er "ot8 rather than to narrow the field7 The e ce"tion here comes when you9re in the small 6lind8 a "layer has raised the "ot from a late "osition8 and you reraise in an attem"t to eliminate the 6i' 6lind7 For the most "art8 thou'h8 raisin' from the 6linds should 6e reser!ed for "remium startin' hands such as ->$>.> suited8 which ha!e enou'h !alue to o!ercome their "ositional handica"7 The (lind Structure and Playin' the Small (lind Most limit "oker 'ames feature a 6lind structure in which the small 6lind is half the si%e of the 6i' 6lind7 In these 'ames8 you should not call from the small 6lind with the "oorest hands7 +hile you will call with most hands8 it is a mistake to automatically toss in the half>6et8 as you9ll 'et in!ol!ed in some hands that don9t ha!e much nut "otential7 (e careful8 6ecause "layin' these hands mi'ht lead you into one of the numerous tra"s common in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter7 -s lon' as you aren9t holdin' one of the worst hands8 it is
10.

okay to loosen u" a 6it when callin' the half>6et in the small 6lind7 Other 'ames feature a two>and>three chi" 6lind structure7 In these 'ames8 it is acce"ta6le to call nearly all the time from the small 6lind when the "rice is only a third of a 6et7 Sa!e the chi" with hands such as tri"s and trash like $>$> />H7 *efendin' ;our (linds Sometimes you should 6ase your decision of whether to "lay a hand on how your o""onent "lays7 )allin' a raise from the 6lind has far more !alue if the "layer or "layers in the "ot "lay much worse than you7 ;ou can9t take this idea too far in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 6ecause startin' with the worst hand out of "osition is a lot to o!ercome7 Nonetheless8 you should consider it if your hand is decent7 -dditionally8 not all raises are created eJual:there is a 6i' difference in the hand stren'th of a solid "layer raisin' in early "osition and that of a loose8 reckless "layer raisin' on the 6utton7 If you are in the 6i' 6lind and the "ot is heads>u"8 a hand such as $>2>/>0 can sometimes 6e folded a'ainst the solid "layer9s raise 6ut is a clear call a'ainst the s"eeder7 -nother key consideration is the num6er of "layers in the "ot8 and the 6i' 6lind is the 6est "osition from which to determine how many "layers will see the flo"7 ;ou should ha!e a 'ood idea of which hands are worth defendin' a'ainst a lar'e field and which ha!e more !alue in a shorthanded situation7 For e am"le8 hands such as .>2>I>1 'reatly diminish in !alue in a multiway raised "ot8 as it is likely the cards you are lookin' to flo":aces and deuces: are dead7 This reduces your chances of makin' the nut low8 and you9d ha!e to 6e rather creati!e to en!ision other ways that this hand can make the nuts7 5emem6er8 you will often reJuire the nuts to take down a multiway "ot7 +hen "layin' heads>u"8 thou'h8 the hand has more !alue7 For one thin'8 with e!eryone else foldin'8 it seems more likely that there are still some aces left in the deck7 -lso8 ha!in' a small flush draw adds !alue when "layin' heads> u"8 whereas makin' a small flush a'ainst fi!e or si o""onents is likely to 6e an e "ensi!e second>6est hand7 It is also reasona6le to assume that the raiser "ro6a6ly has at least a cou"le of low cards7 If a low hand is "ossi6le on the 6oard8 he mi'ht 6e counterfeited8 meanin' that the 6oard has du"licated one of the low cards in his hand8 renderin' it useless to him7 This will often allow
102

you to win the low7 If he9s not counterfeited8 his low hand mi'ht use cards that make you the 6est hi'h hand8 either two "air or a strai'ht7 Small two "airs can win when u" a'ainst only one or two o""onents8 6ut are relati!ely ho"eless a'ainst a lar'e field7 +hile low hands like .>2>I>/ and .>2>I>1 "lay well a'ainst one or two o""onents8 hi'h hands do not7 )allin' a raise with a hand like 4>13><>Q from the 6i' 6lind a'ainst only one "layer isn9t as fa!ora6le as it seems7 Lnless the 6oard comes with mostly hi'h cards8 it will 6e tou'h for you to win the whole "ot7 +hen hi'h hands connect8 they freJuently make the nuts8 which are Bust as effecti!e in 6eatin' ei'ht o""onents as they are in 6eatin' one7 It9s nice to ha!e some ty"e of low hand to fall 6ack on when defendin' your 6lind a'ainst only one or two "layers7 Low hands are the easiest draws to com"lete in the 'ame8 and they often ser!e as safety !al!es when your hi'h "ros"ects fall throu'h7 E!en an emer'ency low such as ->0 is worth somethin' in these situations7 +hen defendin' your 6lind in a "ot with se!eral o""onents8 it9s key to ha!e some cards that can make nut hands7 Since you will 6e 'ettin' a 'ood "rice to call8 it is acce"ta6le to allow your hand selection standards to di" a 6it8 "ro!ided you "lay hands ca"a6le of 6eatin' a lar'e field7 These ty"es of hands may include cards such as -> suited8 $>.>2> 8 or three face cards8 "refera6ly suited or dou6le>suited7 It is still im"ortant to a!oid "layin' middle cards8 and any Juestiona6le hand containin' two cards in that ran'e should almost always 6e mucked7 )onclusion Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is a 'ame of many draws7 If you ha!e a 'ood "re>flo" strate'y and "lay the ri'ht kinds of hands8 you9ll draw to hands that you actually want to make7 Playin' too loose will result in "oker9s 'reatest and most e "ensi!e frustrationK makin' a lot of second 6est hands7 This will 6urn u" your chi"s7 Only in rare circumstances should hands not containin' an ace 6e "layed7 It is also 'ood to reali%e that e!en hands containin' the key com6inations ->- and ->. should on occasion 6e discarded 6efore the flo"7 Hee" in mind that the decisions you make 6efore the flo" will ha!e a monumental im"act on your results7 Playin' 'ood startin' cards should 'i!e
10I

you a fair chance to 6eat most low>limit 'ames8 "ro!ided that your o""onents "lay too loosely7 If you "lay too many hands8 you will ha!e little chance to win7 -s the limits 'et "ro'ressi!ely hi'her8 the "layers 6ecome more skilled and tend to 6ecome more aware of startin' hand !alues8 so the hu'e ed'e selecti!e "layers hold at the smaller 'ames 6e'ins to e!a"orate7 -lthou'h a 'ood foundation in hand selection and "re>flo" "lay remains critical8 it alone will not 6e enou'h to 6eat the 6i''er 'ames7 PL-;IN, THE FLOP (asic Flo" Play Once you ha!e esta6lished that your hand is "laya6le8 the flo" will "resent you with a whole new set of !aria6les to consider7 To 6e a successful Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layer8 you must 6ecome "roficient in e!aluatin' how the flo" affects your chances of winnin'7 Here are some 'eneral 'uidelinesK 17 Playin' for the Nuts +hen decidin' whether to remain in the hand8 it is im"ortant to consider how many "layers are in the "ot7 The more "layers in the hand8 the more im"ortant it is that you either are holdin' or are drawin' at the nuts7 This "oint cannot 6e em"hasi%ed enou'hF In a si > or se!en>way action "ot8 ty"ical of loose Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter 'ames8 it will 'enerally take the nuts to win7 This means that you must flo" the nut low draw8 the nut flush draw8 a set8 a Juality strai'ht draw8 or a made hand to remain in the "ot7 Nearly all other hands should 6e a6andoned at this "oint7 Most of the time8 the 6est they will do is make a 6ankroll>6ustin' second>6est hand7 $7 Protect the Pot or Let Peo"le InE Once you determine that your hand is "laya6le8 the ne t decision is whether to "lay it in a manner that narrows the field or one that encoura'es action7 *o you want to "rotect the "ot or let "eo"le inE Since "layers ha!e a "ro"ensity for findin' some ho"e in their hand8 it9s hard to thin out the com"etition for a sin'le 6et7 To narrow the field you usually need to make "lays that will char'e your o""onents two 6ets to "roceed7 ;ou accom"lish this 6y raisin' a 6et comin' from your ri'ht8 or 6y check>raisin' when you are in early
10/

"osition and feel a late "osition "layer will 6et7 Hands such as sets and strai'hts are likely to 6e outdrawn8 often 6y "layers with hands they would fold if faced with callin' two 6ets7 For e am"le8 most o""onents will fold a small flush draw or inside strai'ht draw after a raise8 6ut will call a sin'le 6et7 5aisin' with your made hi'h hand may considera6ly increase your chances of winnin'7 On the other hand8 some Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter hands fare 6etter with lar'er fields7 Nut flush and nut low draws 'ain !alue when se!eral "layers are in the "ot8 as the holdin's of your o""onents can de!elo" into second>6est "ayin'> off hands7 It is sometimes necessary to walk a fine line here8 as 6uildin' a 6i' "ot with "remium draws is desira6le8 6ut it should 6e done in a manner that kee"s your o""onents in the hand7 .7 How the Flo" -ffects ;our Hand9s Nalue 5emem6er that the o6Bect of this 'ame is to scoo" the "ot7 +ith that in mind8 6e aware that the !alue of hi'h hands "lummets when the flo" contains three low cards8 and the !alue of low hands decreases when the flo" contains two or three hi'h cards7 Su""ose fi!e "layers see a flo"8 which comes .>2>/ =two hearts?7 ;ou are holdin' ->H>Q>< with the ->< of hearts7 -lthou'h you are drawin' to the nut hi'h8 this hand should sometimes 6e folded when facin' multi"le 6ets after the flo"8 as you are only "layin' for half the "ot7 27 Pot Odds +hen drawin'8 it is necessary that you ha!e some idea of the likelihood of makin' your hand !ersus the "rice the "ot is layin' you7 If8 as a6o!e8 you are drawin' to the nut flush8 e!en thou'h you should end u" with the 6est hi'h hand a6out one time in three and the "ot is 'i!in' you the correct "rice8 you are "layin' for only half the money7 The "resence of a low hand on the 6oard di!ides in half the "rice you recei!e on a hi'h draw from the "ot8 'enerally makin' it un"rofita6le to stay with this ty"e of hand7 )on!ersely8 if you ha!e a hand like ->$>/>0 and the flo" comes <>Q>18 it is an easy fold7 ;ou need to catch consecuti!e low cards for half8 or "ossi6ly a Juarter8 of the "ot7 -lthou'h you may catch a runner>runner miracle strai'ht8 this isn9t a hand to chase7 Howe!er8 if the 0 in your hand were a kin' or 138 this chan'es thin's
101

considera6ly7 +hile your hand still isn9t 'reat8 you now ha!e the chance to make the ace>hi'h strai'ht8 which may ena6le you to scoo"7 The "resence of this draw8 alon' with your 6ackdoor nut>low draw8 is often enou'h to make this a "laya6le situation8 es"ecially if the "ot is lar'e and it9s only one 6et to you7 I7 Position ;our "osition relati!e to the 6ettin' is e tremely im"ortant7 +hen a 6et comes from your immediate ri'ht8 you must "lay ti'hter and "ass on more draws8 6ecause you don9t know if the "layers 6ehind you are lookin' to 'o to war with their hands7 If they are8 it will 6ecome e "ensi!e to stay in7 Howe!er8 if you are last to act after the action has 6een made8 and thus the "ot cannot 6e raised 6ehind you8 you9re ri'ht to call with many more hands7 These "rinci"les a""ly to 6oth of the "re!ious e am"les7 ;ou don9t mind "ayin' one small 6et on a mar'inal draw if the "ot cannot 6e raised7 Out of "osition thou'h8 the same hand must 6e folded to a 6et8 'i!en the threat of additional action7 Hand>S"ecific ,uidelines Playin' Low *raws on the Flo"7 Since a hi'h "ercenta'e of your "laya6le hands in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter will contain an ->$ or ->.8 the most common draw you9ll de!elo" is to the nut low7 ;ou shouldn9t "lay this draw the same way all the time8 thou'h7 There are times to "lay it fast8 times to call meekly8 and times to throw it away7 Numerous !aria6les influence this decision8 includin' how the rest of your hand coordinates with the 6oard8 the num6er of "layers in the "ot8 and your "osition7 +hen "layin' a multiway "ot that no one is interested in concedin'8 two im"ortant considerations factor into the decision of whether to "lay a''ressi!ely or "assi!ely7 The first is whether your hand contains 6acku"D the second is your hand9s "otential to win the hi'h7 Ha!in' 6acku" refers to holdin' a third low card close in rank to your two nut cards7 If the 6oard is .>1><8 ha!in' a hand like ->$>2>H8 or to a lesser e tent ->$>I>H8 may encoura'e you to "lay your draw more a''ressi!ely since you ha!e the 2 as 6acku"7 +ithout the four8 you ha!e si teen cards that make you the nuts7 Of course8 sometimes you will turn the nuts and 'et
100

counterfeited on the ri!er8 which freJuently will cost you half the "ot7 Holdin' that e tra low card not only 'i!es you twenty>one cards to catch8 it also "re!ents you from losin' if the ri!er card counterfeits you7 This makes your hand much stron'er and "ro!ides Juite a 6it of incenti!e to 6uild a 6i''er "ot7 If you ha!e a 'ood chance to win the hi'h as well8 "layin' a''ressi!ely can si'nificantly im"ro!e your chances of winnin'7 For e am"le8 su""ose that you are holdin' ->$>I>Q in a four>"layer "ot with a 6oard of .>0>137 It is hi'hly unlikely that you will win the hi'h7 If none of your o""onents has an ->$8 the "ot is layin' you e!en money on future 6ets8 as you only 'et your own money "lus one of your o""onents9 6ets 6ack should you make a low7 Now8 su""ose you hold the nut flush draw as well7 Since you ha!e a chance to scoo"8 you can factor into the "ot odds the 6ets from all of your o""onents8 so "layin' a''ressi!ely will ha!e much more !alue7 +hen you flo" 6oth the nut>low draw and nut>flush draw8 es"ecially if you ha!e 6acku" for low8 you should try and 'et as much money into the "ot as "ossi6le7 -lthou'h you can sim"ly raise an o""onent9s 6et8 you may want to Bust call on the flo" if the 6et is comin' from your immediate ri'ht7 +ith such a 6i' draw8 you don9t want to knock any6ody out8 so "lay your hand in the way that 'ets the most money to the center8 without eliminatin' too many "layers7 Other 6i' draws may include hands like ->.>I>< with a flo" of $>2> Q7 +hen you ha!e a chance to win only the low and your draw doesn9t contain 6acku"8 it9s often 6est to Bust check and call7 The main e ce"tion to this rule is if you think a 6et 'i!es you a reasona6le chance to take down the "ot immediately7 +hile this mi'ht 6e the case in some shorthanded "ots or hi'her limit 'ames8 you9re drawin' dead if you think this will work in most loose Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter 'ames7 Occasionally8 a situation arises in which it is correct to fold a nut>low draw on the flo"7 This usually occurs when the "ot is small8 and it9s a 6et and raise to you7 Su""ose you are holdin' ->$>H>Q8 and the 6oard is 1>0>47 Here you ha!e !irtually no shot at scoo"in':at 6est you can win half the "ot8 and you may 6e "layin' for only a Juarter7 +ith the a6sence of a 6acku" card in your
104

hand8 this is clearly a fold7 +hen you "lay an ->.8 you will freJuently flo" a draw to the second nuts7 It9s nice when the deuce "o"s ri'ht u" on the flo"8 6ut it usually doesn9t:it likes to wait until you are holdin' the ->$ to show its face7 *rawin' to the second nut low is one of the 6i''est drains on the 6ankrolls of Omaha ei'ht> or>6etter "layers7 Lnless you are stron'ly con!inced that no one is drawin' at the nut low8 this draw should 6e routinely mucked7 ;ou can make an e ce"tion to this rule when you ha!e the nut flush draw8 a set8 or to" two "air with your second>nut low draw7 This 'enerally adds enou'h scoo" "otential to your hand to Bustify remainin' in the "ot7 -lso8 if you ha!e a hand like ->.>H>13 and the 6oard is 2>I>Q8 you may 6e a6le to see another card7 This is 6ecause a deuce8 in addition to makin' you the nut low8 makes a strai'ht that may ena6le you to scoo"7 *rawin' at the second nuts is much 6etter if your nut card lets you scoo" the "ot7 *on9t throw 'ood money after 6ad if you ha!e ->.>0>H and the 6oard shows 2>1><8 howe!er7 +ith se!eral "layers in8 if you are fortunate enou'h not to 6e u" a'ainst an ->$8 it is a near certainty that another "layer will 6e holdin' ->.7 If you draw to this hand8 you will 6e lucky to wind u" with a Juarter of the "ot7 Playin' +hen ;ou Flo" a Set7 Flo""in' a set in hold9em is a Boyful occurrence7 ;ou are almost certain to ha!e the 6est hand8 and you can 6et and raise with im"unity8 ho"in' for lots of action7 E!en when you don9t fill u"8 you 'enerally e "ect to take down a nice "ot7 Lnfortunately8 such is not the case with sets in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter7 E!en when you im"ro!e to a full house =a6out .I "ercent of the time?8 you9ll often s"lit the "ot with a low hand7 -lso8 since each "layer is dealt four cards8 it is !ery likely that you will lose to a strai'ht or a flush if you don9t fill u"7 -s a result8 sets are at 6est mar'inal holdin's8 and at worst8 a si'nificant drain on your 6ankroll and enthusiasm7 The followin' 'uidelines should hel" you reco'ni%e when sets can 6e "layed "rofita6ly and when they should 6e folded7 In the -d!anced Flo" Play section to follow8 some of these to"ics are co!ered in 'reater detail7 =1? Playin' for half the "ot with a hand that is likely to 6e outdrawn is not a 'ood strate'y7 +hen the 6oard contains three low cards8 it is difficult if not
143

im"ossi6le for you to scoo" the "ot with a set7 -s a result8 it is 'enerally correct to fold8 unless you can "lay for one 6et without the "ot 6ein' raised 6ehind you7 =$? Since you often ha!e to make a full house to win half the "ot8 the si%e of your set matters as well7 It is not uncommon for more than one "layer to fill u" when the 6oard "airs7 )ontinuin' with a hand like ->.>.>H and a 6oard of .>I>/ a'ainst se!eral "layers is suicidal7 It is "ossi6le that either a hi'her set or two "air is out there8 so e!en if you do im"ro!e there is no 'uarantee you will win7 If you held to" set in this instance8 foldin' would still 6e correct much of the time8 es"ecially when it costs you multi"le 6ets to stay in the hand7 =.? +hen is the 6est time to "lay a set when the 6oard contains three low cardsE For e am"leK The flo" comes 1>.>$ of three different suits and you are holdin' 1>1>Q>H7 Ho"efully8 you9!e found yourself in this "ot 6ecause you recei!ed a free look in the 6i' 6lind7 +hile you ha!e no shot at scoo"in' a'ainst a few "layers8 you do ha!e the current nuts for hi'h7 Since three different suits are re"resented on the 6oard8 it is unlikely that a flush will 6eat you7 Howe!er8 the fact that you9re only "layin' for half the "ot means that you want to see the hand throu'h as chea"ly as "ossi6le8 unless the 6oard "airs7 If a strai'ht card comes on the turn8 es"ecially a 2 or I8 you will ha!e to fold if you are faced with callin' more than one 6et8 as the "ot won9t 'i!e you enou'h of a "rice to draw at Bust the hi'h end7 Since you will often 6e forced to fold on the turn8 it is not in your 6est interest to "lay this hand a''ressi!ely on the flo"7 =2? )ards like .>/>< with two clu6s can 6e a "ro6lem flo" in Omaha ei'ht>or> 6etter7 There are two low cards with a flush draw "resent8 "ro!idin' a num6er of draws7 If you hold a hand such as <><>Q>H with this 6oard8 your "ros"ects are uncertain7 -lthou'h you hold the current nuts8 you are !ulnera6le from a num6er of different directions7 In fact8 if a low clu6 comes on the turn8 you may ha!e to fold your hand7 Therefore8 with 6oards like the one a6o!e8 you mi'ht want to wait until after the turn card comes 6efore 6ettin' the hand a''ressi!ely7 This way8 you can chea"ly fold if disaster
141

strikes7 -lso8 if you catch a 'ood card8 you may 'ain e tra action 6y not tele'ra"hin' your hand on the flo"7 5aisin' mi'ht 6e correct thou'h8 if the "layer to your immediate ri'ht is the 6ettor7 - raise mi'ht succeed in eliminatin' some of the draws "osin' a threat to your hand8 thus enhancin' your chances of winnin'7 ;ou won9t eliminate the nut flush draw or a low strai'ht draw such as ->2>I8 6ut you mi'ht induce smaller flush draws to fold8 ena6lin' your hand to hold u" as lon' as none of your o""onents was drawin' to the nut flush7 =I? The 6est time to flo" a set is when the 6oard comes with either two or three hi'h cards8 6ecause hi'h 6oards mean that no low is "ossi6leD therefore8 you9re "layin' for the whole "ot7 This has a si'nificant im"act on your "ot odds8 as the "ot is essentially layin' you dou6le the "rice as when the 6oard contains a low hand7 -s a result8 it is 'enerally correct to 'o to the ri!er when you flo" a set with a hi'h 6oard7 =/? The draw6ack with hands such as ->.>H>H when the flo" comes H>Q>< is that you freJuently need to fill u" to win the "ot7 In Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 with se!eral "layers in the hand8 someone will ha!e ->13 more often than you mi'ht think7 E!en thou'h you may 6e trailin'8 it is okay to "lay a''ressi!ely here7 For one thin'8 your hand may 6e 'ood7 -lso8 if you are 6ehind8 you will im"ro!e to a full house a6out .I "ercent of the time7 This means a 6et is only un"rofita6le when you9re u" a'ainst "recisely one "layer who has the strai'ht7 =1? Howe!er8 with the same flo" of H>Q><8 you will ha!e to consider foldin' your set if you ha!e three Backs instead of three kin's8 "articularly if se!eral "layers remain in the hand7 -'ainst only one o""onent who is likely to ha!e a strai'ht8 it is correct to draw7 (ut if you9re facin' a 6et8 a raise8 and a call8 it is likely that you9re u" a'ainst a lar'er set or to" two "air8 as well as the strai'ht7 Either way8 this doesn9t lea!e you with !ery many wins7 Fold7 Playin' +ra"around Strai'ht *raws7 -lthou'h there may not 6e an official definition of a wra"8 it9s really a strai'ht draw with more outs than a common o"en>ender7 For e am"le8 a hand such as 0>4>13>H and a 6oard of ->/>1
14$

"ro!ides thirteen cards to make the strai'ht =four fi!es8 three ei'hts8 three nines8 and three tens?7 In Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 the !ulnera6ility of strai'hts and the freJuent "ro6lem of runnin' into an o""onent with the same strai'ht means that wra" draws are ty"ically the only strai'ht draws worth "ursuin' for their own sake7 Not all wra"s are created eJual7 Hey considerations are the likelihood of makin' the nut strai'ht and whether your hand will allow you to scoo" the "ot7 If you are in the 6i' 6lind with />1>0>4 and the flo" comes $>2>I8 your hand should usually 6e folded7 -lthou'h many cards will com"lete the strai'ht8 you can only win half the "ot7 -lso8 if the 6oard "airs or a flush card comes8 it mi'ht kill your hand7 To further illustrate the difference 6etween 'ood and 6ad times to "ursue strai'ht draws8 let9s look at a cou"le of e am"lesK E am"le One ;our handK 13><>Q>H =red? (oardK ->13>/ =two clu6s? -lthou'h any Back8 Jueen or kin' will make a strai'ht8 this hand is se!erely flawed7 +ith the flush draw on the 6oard8 the dan'er e ists that the card you need to com"lete your strai'ht will also com"lete an o""onent9s flush7 This effecti!ely eliminates three of the nine "ossi6le strai'ht cards8 lea!in' only si safe cards to make your hand7 E!en if one of these si cards comes on the turn8 your hand could still 6e in Beo"ardy7 The flush can always show u" on the ri!er8 or the 6oard could "air7 Furthermore8 e!en if the strai'ht wins8 it will 6e e ceedin'ly difficult to scoo" this "ot7 -ny low card will likely cost you half the "ot8 and e!en a safe face card that doesn9t "air the 6oard mi'ht hurt you7 The "resence of four un"aired hi'h cards on the 6oard makes it easier for an o""onent to tie your hand7 So8 that means the only truly safe card is an offsuit 47 E am"le Two ;our handK 13><>Q>H =red? (oardK .>4>13 =offsuit?
14.

Here is a situation where you can a""ly the 'as "edal7 This time8 thirteen cards will make the nut strai'ht8 essentially creatin' an e!en money "ro"osition with two cards to come7 If you com"lete the strai'ht with a Back8 Jueen8 or kin' on the turn or ri!er8 then no low hand will 6e "ossi6le7 The a6sence of a flush draw on the flo" also adds si'nificant !alue to your hand8 as all of your outs are clean7 (ear in mind also that any Back8 Jueen8 or kin' not only makes the nut strai'ht8 it also creates the "ossi6ility of makin' a full house on the ri!er7 This can come in handy a'ainst a "layer holdin' a hand like ->.>.>28 as some of his su""osed outs will make him the second>6est hand7 Should you make a full house on the end8 it is likely that you will win e tra 6ets from this "layer8 who is "ro6a6ly readin' you for a strai'ht7 Slow>Playin' Slow>"layin' a hu'e hand is rarely an o"timal strate'y in Omaha ei'ht>or> 6etter for two reasonsK =1? Players will tend to call you down anyway8 ho"in' to make whate!er hand they are drawin' at7 It is a 'ood idea to let them "ay to draw dead8 or close to it8 if they9re willin'7 =$? Few hands are immune to all the "otential draws in this 'ame7 If you flo" the nut full house or Juads in hold9em8 it is a safe 6et that you will win the "ot7 The main issue is "ickin' a strate'y that allows you to win the most money7 The "ro6lem with this in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is that two runnin' low cards can come8 costin' you half the "ot:unless three hi'h cards flo"7 So ordinarily8 e!en four of a kind should 6e 6et a''ressi!ely8 as it is im"ortant to make the low draws "ay for the "ri!ile'e of s"littin' the "ot with you7 If you do decide to slow>"lay a 6i' hand8 don9t 'i!e your o""onents the chance to outdraw you 6y 'i!in' them free cards7 +hen slow>"layin'8 you are ho"in' that your o""onents will im"ro!e their hands enou'h to 'i!e you action8 6ut not enou'h to 6eat you7 Here are some e am"les to illustrate this "ointK E am"le One ;our handK ->$>2>H
142

(oardK H>2>2 Here8 it is 6est to "lay the hand a''ressi!ely on the flo"7 *on9t 'i!e "layers with hands like 4>4>13>Q a free o""ortunity to s"ike a miracle card7 E am"le Two ;our handK H>H>Q>< (oardK H>2>2 This time slow>"layin' is8 a'ain8 a 6ad idea8 6ut for a different reason7 -lthou'h your hi'h hand is not in Beo"ardy8 6y checkin' you mi'ht allow o""onents to de!elo" low draws8 "otentially costin' you half the "ot7 Sometimes checkin' on the flo" is a 'ood idea if the "ot is !ery small8 since you shouldn9t mind riskin' half of a small "ot to 'ain some 6ets on the turn from o""onents who de!elo" low draws7 Howe!er8 it is almost always a mistake to do this in "ots that were raised 6efore the flo"7 E am"le Three ;our handK ->$>H>H (oardK H>2>2 In this e am"le8 not only do you ha!e the hi'h hand more or less wra""ed u"8 you also ha!e the 6est "ossi6le 6ackdoor low draw7 So8 if you don9t feel you9ll 'et much action 6y 6ettin' the flo"8 then slow>"layin' will "ro6a6ly add !alue to your hand7 If the "layers in your 'ame are likely to automatically call on the flo" anyway8 then 'o ahead and 6et7 +hen the (oard Is Paired The com"le ion of a hand chan'es drastically when the flo" contains a "air7 In "ots featurin' se!eral "layers8 a full house will likely 6e reJuired to win the hi'h hand7 -s the num6er of "layers in the hand increases8 so does the likelihood that someone has flo""ed tri"s or 6etter7 This means that unless you also ha!e a Juality low draw8 you should fold strai'ht draws and anythin' e ce"t nut flush draws in multiway "ots7 Proceedin' with lesser hi'h draws is a trickier "ro"osition a'ainst a smaller field7 -lthou'h it9s dan'erous to "lay flush and strai'ht draws8 you will 6e "layin' far too ti'htly if you automatically fold e!ery time the flo" 6rin's a "air7 -""lyin' some card sense to this situation should hel" you make more
14I

accurate decisions7 For e am"le the "resence of two ei'hts on the 6oard should not elicit the same de'ree of fear as two aces7 If the card that "airs on the 6oard is a key card in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 it is likely to ha!e hit one of your o""onents7 +hen it doesn9t a""ear "ro6a6le that the "air hel"ed another "layer8 it 6ecomes more correct to continue with other draws7 In fact8 you can sometimes 6et a flush draw into a "aired 6oard8 inducin' your o""onents to fold out of fear that you flo""ed tri"s or a full house7 +hen you hold two aces in your hand a'ainst a small num6er of o""onents8 a "aired 6oard often is a 'ood thin'7 It is 'enerally a 'ood idea to "lay the flo" a''ressi!ely8 6oth to cut down on the com"etition and to try to find out if your hand is the 6est7 The "resence of the "air makes a strai'ht or flush: common ace>killers in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter:less likely7 -lso8 the "air on the 6oard 'i!es you the nut two "air8 which will freJuently win the hi'h a'ainst a small field7 Howe!er8 if the "ot is a family affair8 someone will usually ha!e tri"s7 In this case8 two aces should 6e folded if there is any su6stantial action7 -d!anced Flo" Play Here are some additional ti"s for "layin' hands on the flo"7 These focus more shar"ly on to"ics already discussed and deal with a few additional issues that come into "lay more often at the hi'her limits7 )reatin' E tra Outs In Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 sometimes you ha!e a hand that seems to 6e headin' in one direction8 6ut winds u" winnin' "art or all of the "ot with a different hand that you made almost 6y accident7 This is one reason why "layin' Juality startin' hands is im"ortant7 Not only do they "roduce more 'ood hands and draws on the flo"8 they also tend to 6e more easily rerouted into winnin' 6ackdoor hands7 The a6ility to reco'ni%e when you may 6e a6le to de!elo" some secondary draws to fall 6ack on should your "rimary draw not materiali%e is a !alua6le skill7 Its !alue is 6ased on the fact that if you see an o""ortunity8 you may 6e a6le to create some e tra wins for your hand 6y makin' a timely 6et or raise7 )onsider the followin' e am"le7
14/

E am"le One Flo"K Q><>$ =two clu6s? Scenario OneK ;our handK ->.>2>13 =nut clu6s? Scenario TwoK ;our handK ->I>/>13 =nut clu6s? Note that in 6oth cases8 your only immediate draws are to the nut flush and nut strai'ht7 Howe!er8 6oth hands also ha!e a 6ackdoor low draw7 -ssumin' that fi!e "layers are in the hand8 if the "layer to your ri'ht 6ets and you are ne t to act8 what is your 6est course of action in each scenarioE In Scenario 18 a call is clearly the correct "lay7 ;ou don9t want to eliminate "layers when all your draws are to the nuts7 +hether you make the nut flush8 ace>hi'h strai'ht8 or catch two runnin' low cards8 any hand you make will 6e the nuts in one direction or another7 Therefore8 the more "layers in the hand8 the more money you should make7 ;ou mi'ht consider raisin' for !alue with your draw8 6ut not until e!eryone has called the initial 6et7 5aisin' in this situation will tend to eliminate "layers likely to make second>6est hands and "ay you off7 -lthou'h your hi'h "ros"ects are essentially the same in Scenario $8 the fact that you ha!e a weak 6ackdoor low draw is a 'ood reason to raise the 6ettor7 5aisin' may cause "layers to fold hands such as ->2>I>< or ->$>.>/8 with which they would likely call one 6et7 -s a result8 e!en if you miss the flush and strai'ht draws8 you mi'ht still win half the "ot if two low cards come8 6ecause your raise on the flo" dro!e out the stron'er 6ackdoor low draws7 (y thinkin' ahead and reali%in' all the ways a hand can de!elo"8 you can sometimes "lay a situation more a''ressi!ely than normal in order to create some additional winnin' cards for your hand7 Of course8 choosin' whether to raise or Bust call in this ty"e of situation de"ends on the si%e of the "ot8 the style of your o""onents8 and the "re!ious 6ettin' that led to the situation7 Foldin' the Nut Low There are times when you will make the nut low on the flo" 6ut reali%e that it doesn9t ha!e much !alue7 ;ou then ha!e a decision to make re'ardin' whether to stick it out until the end or fold7 It may seem a6surd to fold the nuts:and it usually is:6ut there are some instances when it would 6e the
141

ri'ht thin' to do:ty"ically8 when a "re!iously small "ot is now 6ein' 6et a''ressi!ely7 ;ou don9t want to throw away the nuts if the "ot is lar'e or if it9s ine "ensi!e to stay in the hand7 Howe!er8 if your hand is somethin' like ->$>H>< and the flo" is />1>0 =two flush cards8 not yours?8 and the other three "layers in the "ot start 6ettin' and raisin' like maniacs8 it may 6e time to reassess your in!ol!ement7 For one thin'8 you are likely "layin' for a Juarter of the "ot8 es"ecially if you know some of your o""onents are !ery solid "layers7 -lso8 any ace or deuce that falls on the turn or ri!er will likely turn your hand into a loser7 If you are relati!ely certain that another "layer also has the nut low8 you really aren9t 'i!in' anythin' u" 6y foldin'7 The cost of the small 6et already in!ested in the "ot is offset 6y the "otential for windin' u" with nothin' if you 'et counterfeited7 Ne!ertheless8 it isn9t a 'ood idea to fold the made nut low !ery often7 Sometimes it may seem like you9re only "layin' for a Juarter8 6ut you9ll 'et a "leasant sur"rise on the end when the other "layers turn o!er hi'h hands7 This "ossi6ility alone should 6e enou'h to kee" you from foldin' the low nuts most of the time7 It mi'ht also 6e 6etter to stay in the hand if the "ot is already lar'e8 or if it9s multiway7 -lso8 the "resence of a 6acku" low card in your hand should 6e enou'h of a reason not to fold the nut low7 Sets +hen the (oard Is SmallK To Play or Not To PlayE In multiway "ots8 with a flo" of three low cards8 sets should usually 6e folded7 It is a mistake to "lay sets a''ressi!ely in an attem"t to "rotect them8 as they can only win half the "ot and will freJuently 6e outdrawn7 - 6etter a""roach is to treat a set as you would a drawin' hand8 and "lay or fold 6ased on the "rice the "ot is offerin' you7 If one "layer 6ets8 four "layers call8 and you are last to act with a hand like ->2>2>H and a 6oard of $>2>/8 it is okay to call and see another card7 Here9s whyK =1? The "ot cannot 6e raised 6ehind you7 =$? ;ou are recei!in' a fa!ora6le "rice on the hand7 Howe!er8 if the first "layer 6ets8 the second raises8 and the others fold around to you8 foldin' is clearly the ri'ht "lay7 +hyE (ecause in order to "roceed8
140

you9ll ha!e to call two 6ets cold and face the "ossi6ility of a reraise 6y the initial 6ettor7 This eliminates all !alue from the situation8 6ecause instead of callin' one small 6et to "erha"s win half of a decent si%ed "ot8 you are now faced with "uttin' in multi"le 6ets while "layin' for half of a three>way "ot7 Furthermore8 with 6oth a 6et and a raise8 it is more likely that one of your o""onents has flo""ed a strai'ht7 Thus8 you will need to im"ro!e your hand to win the hi'h7 In ti'hter Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter 'ames8 sets ha!e more !alue7 Su""ose you ha!e ->$>$>Q and the flo" is $>.>07 -'ainst a lar'e field8 this hand can 6e flun' into the discards without hesitation7 Howe!er8 if you are "layin' the "ot heads>u"8 this is a 6etter>than>a!era'e flo" for your hand7 E!en thou'h a low hand is "ossi6le8 your o""onent doesn9t necessarily ha!e one7 He may ha!e somethin' like ->.>13>138 in which case you ha!e him 6eat7 It is im"ortant to "lay these situations a''ressi!ely7 ;ou fi'ure to ha!e the 6est hi'h hand8 which may 6e 'ood for a scoo"7 -nother "oint worth notin' is that your a''ressi!e "lay may encoura'e a sin'le o""onent to relinJuish a hand with a made8 al6eit rou'h8 low such as ->.>1>H7 This maBor !ictory could not ha!e 6een won 6y checkin'7 If your o""onent raises you8 then you can re!ert to callin' mode for the rest of the hand8 as his raise "ro6a6ly si'nifies a made low7 Mani"ulatin' the Si%e of the Pot One of the most common and a''ra!atin' "erils of Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter comes when you flo" a nice hi'h hand or hi'h draw and "lay it a''ressi!ely8 only to see two o""onents make their low hands on the turn and "rom"tly 'o to war7 ;ou are then faced with the un"alata6le "ros"ect of callin' se!eral dou6le>si%ed turn 6ets when the low "ortion of the "ot is already s"oken for7 It9s "ainful to 'i!e u" the hand 6ecause of all the money already in the "ot8 6ut it9s eJually "ainful to watch your stacks erode as you "ay for your draws7 Fortunately8 there is a method you can em"loy to make "layin' the turn card less a'oni%in'7 It can 6e used "rimarily when you ha!e a hi'h hand and two low cards a""ear on the flo"7 For e am"le8 su""ose your hand is ->.><><8 and the flo" is .>I>< with a flush draw7 -lthou'h you ha!e the current nuts8 your hand is not that stron'7 If any low card comes on the turn or ri!er8 it will cost
144

you half the "ot8 or all of it if someone makes a strai'ht7 -lso8 there is a flush draw "resent7 This is not a time to mani"ulate the si%e of the "ot 6y "layin' your to" set a''ressi!ely7 Should one of the many "otential horror cards a""ear on the turn8 the fact that you hel"ed kee" the "ot small 6y not 6ettin' or raisin' on the flo" ena6les you to make an easy release of your hand if faced with too much action7 -nother 6enefit to "layin' this way is that you make it harder for your o""onents to 'au'e what you9re holdin'7 If the 6oard "airs on the turn8 your o""onents "ro6a6ly won9t 'i!e you credit for ha!in' the nut full house8 since you didn9t "lay the flo" a''ressi!ely7 This mi'ht ena6le you to win some e tra 6ets if one of your o""onents feels his tri"s or smaller full house is the 6est hand7 )onsider the followin' scenario7 -ll four o""onents check to you in last "osition8 and your hand is ->H><>13 with a nut flush draw =hearts?7 Then the flo" comes .>I>48 two to the flush7 Since many turn cards will render the hand un"laya6le8 you check rather than 6et the nut flush draw7 The turn is the "erfect QE7 -n alert8 a''ressi!e o""onent 6ets out8 two other "layers call8 and you raise with the a6solute nuts7 The a''ressi!e "layer reraises with his smaller flush8 and you wind u" scoo"in' a 6i' "ot when the 6oard "airs on the end7 It could "ro6a6ly 6e ar'ued that checkin' on the 6utton induced your a''ressi!e o""onent to o!er"lay his hand on the turn8 as he refused to acce"t the fact that a "layer holdin' the nut flush draw could check the hand in last "osition7 ;ou should mani"ulate the si%e of the "ot fairly often in such situations7 Howe!er8 it is im"ortant that you don9t hurt your chances of winnin' the "ot with this "lay7 In hands with small fields8 you can sometimes win the "ot ri'ht on the flo" with a 6et7 If you 6elie!e you ha!e a decent chance of winnin' the "ot immediately8 it9s 6etter to 'o ahead and 6et than to wait for a safe turn card7 -lso8 when the "layer to your immediate ri'ht 6ets and you9re holdin' a hi'h hand such as a set8 you should "ro6a6ly raise in an effort to narrow the field7 )heckin' or callin' with a set is 6est when a raise won9t 'et any6ody to fold7
$33

(luffin' +hen Trash Flo"s -lthou'h Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter has a re"utation for 6ein' a 'ame in which 6luffin' is nearly im"ossi6le8 there are some 'ood situations in which to 'i!e it a shot7 One of the more common 6luffin' o""ortunities arises when hi'h cards flo"8 "articularly if the 6oard is "aired7 Since most "layers "lay low cards8 it stands to reason that a hi'h flo" will likely miss e!eryone9s hand7 (ettin' into 6oards such as 13>13>1 is often effecti!e a'ainst a small num6er of o""onents8 "refera6ly three or less =with more "layers8 it9s likely that you will run into a le'itimate hand?7 This "lay can 6e made from any "osition8 and if you are raised8 it is "ro6a6ly 6est to fold8 rather than to attem"t to create some Bustification for clin'in' to the hand7 It is most effecti!e a'ainst ti'ht8 unima'inati!e "layers who will automatically 'i!e you credit for a hand when you 6et7 One thin' to 6e aware of if you are "layin' in a hi'her limit 'ame is that "erce"ti!e o""onents will not only make this "lay themsel!es8 6ut will 6e aware that you mi'ht attem"t it7 These "layers could 6e ca"a6le of raisin' you with nothin'8 which "uts you in a rou'h s"ot7 It is far easier to raise with nothin' than to call with it7 ;ou must either modify this "lay or a6andon it a'ainst these ty"es of o""onents7 Here is another e am"le of a "lay you can use7 Say your hand is ->$>2>138 and the 6oard reads <><>Q7 Only you and the 6linds are in the "ot8 and the small 6lind 6ets the flo"7 The 6i' 6lind folds8 and now you call with nothin' 6ut an inside strai'ht draw7 ;ou aren9t callin' on the stren'th of your hand8 6ut on the assum"tion that your o""onent has !ery little7 If he checks to you on the turn8 you can 6et and e "ect to win the "ot7 Howe!er8 it9s "ro6a6ly 6est to fold if he 6ets a'ain and you don9t catch a kin'8 as another 6et "ro6a6ly si'nifies a le'itimate hand7 It will 6e difficult for him to 6luff a second time into this 6oard after 6ein' called on the flo"7 )onclusion There is a lot to think a6out when the flo" is laid on the ta6le in Omaha ei'ht> or>6etter7 +hen in the heat of the 'ame8 you "ro6a6ly won9t ha!e time to correctly consider all of the factors discussed a6o!e8 6ut you should 6e aware of them and stri!e to a""ly as many as "ossi6le7 +ith that in mind8 here are a
$31

few Juestions to ask yourself after lookin' at the flo"K =1? How much of the "ot am I "layin' forE =$? +hat "rice is the "ot layin' me8 6ased on my "otential to make the 6est hand and the "ortion of the "ot I can winE =.? +hat im"lied !alue does my hand "ossessE That is to say8 how much additional money can I win if the ri'ht card comesE +ill the other "layers in the "ot "ay me offE Is there an a''ressi!e "layer on my left8 meanin' there9s a chance to check>raise the fieldE +ill the low hands 6et and raise a''ressi!ely if I make the hi'hE -nd so on7 =2? If I call8 can the "ot 'et raised 6ehind meE =I? *oes my hand "lay 6etter a'ainst more or fewer o""onentsE )an my hand 6e "layed in such a way as to create a fa!ora6le situation a'ainst one or the otherE PL-;IN, THE TL5N (asic Turn Play ,i!e L" Some Mar'inal Hands (ecause the si%e of the 6et dou6les on the turn8 many mar'inal hands that were worth one 6et on the flo" must now 6e a6andoned7 -lso8 a low hand will freJuently 6e "ossi6le 6y the time the turn comes8 and this cuts in half the odds the "ot is layin' you to draw at a hi'h hand7 Hands such as to" two "air and sets lose their chance to scoo" the "ot when the 6oard shows three cards to a low7 This is "articularly true when se!eral "layers are in8 as someone will almost certainly ha!e a low7 These hands must 6e "layed with e treme caution8 as the turn can 6e an e "ensi!e round7 +ith a less than "remium hand8 you can wind u" in!estin' a lot of chi"s with little chance for a return on that in!estment7 Often8 one or two "layers are holdin' the nut low8 another "layer the nut hi'h8 and a raisin' war 6e'ins7 If you are in the "ot with a draw of some kind8 it is time to really Juestion stayin' in!ol!ed7 It9s 'enerally not a 'ood idea to "ay multi"le 6ets on the turn to draw at half the "ot8 unless you ha!e a chance to scoo"7 Su""ose you ha!e ->$>I>I8 and the 6oard is $>2>I>H7 If there is a
$3$

6et and a raise to you8 'i!e u" this hand7 ;our set is no 'ood8 and the 6est ri!er cards can only 'ain you half the "ot7 It is also correct to fold this hand when the "layer to your ri'ht 6ets and there are "layers yet to act 6ehind you7 It is unlikely that your hand is 'ood8 as the 6ettor is re"resentin' a strai'ht7 Furthermore8 the "ot can still 6e raised7 This hand is another e am"le of a situation in which you can draw for one 6et if you are in last "osition:6ut you must fold when you don9t know what drawin' may cost7 ,ettin' stuck in the middle of raisin' wars in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is amon' the most costly errors "layers can make on the turn7 ;ou need to 6e aware that any time a low hand is "ossi6le and se!eral "layers are in the "ot8 it is likely that there will 6e at least one raise on the turn7 Playin' Stron' Hands on the Turn Lsually8 in order to win the most money with stron' hands on the turn8 you should raise if someone else 6ets8 or 6et when it9s checked to you7 One of the 6est situations in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is when you own half the "ot and are drawin' at the other half8 commonly referred to as a freeroll7 ;ou cannot lose the whole "ot8 and you ha!e the "otential to scoo"7 For e am"le8 say you are holdin' a hand such as ->$>.>138 and the 6oard is 2>I>0>Q =two of your suit?7 Note that althou'h you mi'ht 'et Juartered8 you are 'uaranteed to win the low side8 and "airin' u" any of your low cards makes you a wheel8 which mi'ht 6e 'ood for a scoo"7 Plus8 this hand features the nut flush draw7 +ith a hand this stron'8 you should "um" the "ot8 as there is "lenty of u"side with !irtually no risk7 E!en if your hand is only 'ood enou'h to win a Juarter of the "ot at this "oint8 raisin' is the correct "lay due to the hand9s hi'h "otential7 If three or more other "layers are in the "ot8 you won9t lose money if the "ot 'ets Juartered8 unless it is one of those rare times that two of your o""onents share the nut low with you7 -'ainst two other "layers8 you should still 6e a''ressi!e with your freeroll hands8 e!en if you feel one of your o""onents has the nut low as well7 It9s a 'ood low risk in!estment that can "roduce e cellent returns if you make your hi'h hand7 Here9s an e am"le from a C13#C$3 limit 'ame to illustrateK
$3.

;our handK ->$>.>13 (oardK 2>I>0>Q =two flush cards? One o""onent8 Player -8 6ets and another8 Player (8 calls7 If you raise and 'et Juartered8 your raise costs you CI =as all three "layers "ay C$38 totalin' C/38 of which you recou" C1I?7 If you raise8 make the flush8 and 'et three> Juarters8 your raise makes you C$I =C$3 . Z C/38 of which you 'et C2I?7 5iskin' CI for a chance to win C$I is a 'ood in!estment in this s"ot8 since the odds of your makin' a flush are 6etter than I to 1 a'ainst:.I to 48 or a6out 2 to 17 Howe!er8 in real life the odds are e!en 6etter than that7 Sometimes you will catch an ace or deuce and scoo" the "ot 6ecause an o""onent with ->$ 'ets counterfeited7 -lso8 a . or a / will make you a strai'ht8 which may 6e 'ood for the hi'h7 So a . will 'et you half the "ot8 and a / is worth three Juarters7 Plus8 there is always the "ossi6ility that you ha!e the only low hand7 *ue to their limited lia6ility and 'reat u"side8 these ty"es of hands should 6e "layed as a''ressi!ely as "ossi6le7 Hnockin' Out the )om"etition +hen the turn comes and the si%e of the 6et dou6les8 "layers mi'ht 6e'in to de!elo" a 'reater res"ect for their chi"s7 -t this "oint in the hand8 the "ots often are "retty lar'e8 so it is in your 6est interest to "rotect your hand as much as "ossi6le7 O""onents are more willin' to "ass without a stron' hand when faced with callin' two 6ets cold7 Mar'inal hands with which o""onents will likely call one 6et 6ut fold for two include most two>"air hands8 as well as some small flushes8 small strai'hts8 and second> or third>nut lows7 It is often in your 6est interest to raise o""onents with these ty"es of hands out of the "ot7 Often8 an o""onent holdin' a hand like ->.>/>Q will 6et into a 6oard showin' $>I>0>H7 If you are ne t8 holdin' ->.>0>48 and you raise the initial 6ettor8 it may "ersuade the rest of the field to fold hands like ->$>0>13 or -> ->/><7 (y raisin'8 you are attem"tin' to isolate one other "layer who you feel is also likely to ha!e the nut low7 +ith a 6it of luck8 your hi'h hand may trum" that of your o""onent8 'i!in' you three>Juarters of the "ot7 This "lay should 6e made often8 and it is another e am"le of a situation with little risk 6ut si'nificant u"side7
$32

Makin' it e "ensi!e for others to stay in the "ot is also im"ortant if you hold a !ulnera6le hi'h hand8 es"ecially if your hand is the nut flush7 If no low or "air is on the 6oard8 it should 6e o6!ious that the nut flush is a hand to 6e 6et and raised at e!ery o""ortunity7 Howe!er8 su""ose you ha!e ->H>Q><8 the 6oard is .>2>I>08 and you ha!e the nut flush7 If a "layer 6ets into you8 it is "retty clear that the most you will 6e a6le to win is half the "ot7 +ith this in mind8 you mi'ht 6e tem"ted to Bust call8 allowin' some additional "layers into the "ot to create e tra "rofit7 The dan'er of "layin' this situation "assi!ely is that it allows "layers with two "air or sets to draw at you chea"ly7 If the 6oard "airs on the ri!er8 you mi'ht lose multi"le 6ets7 It is likely that the "layer who 6et the turn will also 6et the ri!er8 and you will 6e faced with the 'risly task of callin' with the nut flush when the "ot mi'ht 'et raised 6ehind you7 It9s 'enerally 6est to 'o ahead and raise on the turn7 ;ou9ll still 'et action from any "layer holdin' an ->$8 which doesn9t "ose a threat to your hand7 If o""onents with two "air want to call your raise and draw at half the "ot8 that9s their "rero'ati!e7 In fact8 they should "ro6a6ly 6e "laced on your )hristmas card list7 ;ou may want to "ut the 6rakes on with lesser nut hi'h hands8 thou'h7 For e am"le8 say you ha!e 4>13><>Q8 and the 6oard has .>/>1>0 =two flush cards?D or you9!e 'ot ->2>H>H8 and the 6oard shows .>2>0>H =two flush draws?7 In 6oth e am"les8 e!en thou'h you ha!e the current nut hi'h8 your hand is in much 'reater Beo"ardy of 6ein' outdrawn than in the "re!ious e am"le when you were holdin' the nut flush7 To com"are8 in the nut flush e am"le8 only ten cards could 6eat you if your o""onent has a setD 6y com"arison8 with the strai'ht shown a6o!e8 there are the ten "otential full house cards that could 6eat you8 "lus the additional flush cards7 For the e am"le in which you ha!e three kin's8 si teen cards create a strai'ht "ossi6ility for your o""onents and a6out half the deck com"letes a flush draw7 +hile it may seem e!en more crucial to raise in an effort to "rotect these e tremely !ulnera6le hands8 the "ro6lem is that o""onents holdin' low cards are often holdin' the draws that can 6eat you as well7 Thus8 raisin' them out will 6e im"ossi6le8 and they are likely to "ut in a reraise if they ha!e the nut low with a flush draw7 )ontrast this with the nut flush e am"le8 in which any
$3I

"layer holdin' two "air or a set is unlikely to also ha!e a 'ood low hand8 as this would reJuire a "recise use of all four cards7 +ith that in mind8 it is normally 6est to Bust call with a lesser nut hand8 ho"in' you don9t 'et 6eaten8 rather than make a futile attem"t to narrow the field7 +hen ;ou Only Ha!e the Nut Low It is common in loose8 "assi!e Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter 'ames ty"ical at the lower limits for "layers to make the nut low and then check if their hand lacks hi'h "otential7 (ut that9s the wron' "lay7 For one thin'8 if se!eral "layers are in the "ot8 there is !alue in 6ettin' the hand7 +innin' half the "ot will still 6e "rofita6le8 and so will recei!in' a Juarter if fi!e or more "layers are in7 Perha"s more si'nificant is the "ossi6ility of winnin' the "ot with a 6et7 This mi'ht 6e ne t to im"ossi6le in !ery loose 'ames with se!eral "layers in the "ot8 6ut in hands contested 6y fewer "layers8 it is not that uncommon for e!ery6ody to fold to a 6et when the low arri!es7 E!en if you don9t ha!e a "air8 it9s a 'ood idea to 6et your nut low7 *oin' so in smallish "ots mi'ht "rom"t your o""onents to fold their hi'h hands and draws8 since they9ll reali%e their chances to scoo" ha!e !anished7 They mi'ht not want to risk callin' turn and ri!er 6ets to find out if their mar'inal two "air is any 'ood7 Passi!e Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layers cost themsel!es a lot of half>"ots 6y failin' to 6et their low hands a''ressi!ely7 -d!anced Turn Play -s we ha!e seen8 "layin' a''ressi!ely on the turn has its 6enefits7 Here are some additional o""ortunities to use a''ression to your ad!anta'e7 Turnin' ,ood *raws into (etter *raws On the turn8 the more cards there are that can make you the 6est hand on the ri!er8 the 6etter off you are7 So8 there are times when raisin' with a draw on the turn mi'ht increase the num6er of outs for your hand7 Take a hand such as ->$>13>< =->13 flush draw? with a 6oard of 2>I><>Q =2>I of your suit?7 The "layer to your ri'ht 6ets8 and you are ne t to act with three or four o""onents 6ehind you7 -t first 'lance it a""ears that a call is clearly the 6est "lay here7 -dditional callers enhance the !alues of your nut low and
$3/

nut flush draws8 and it9s unlikely that your one "air of Backs is the 6est hand at this "oint7 +hile callin' is a reasona6le "lay8 you should at least consider makin' a raise in this s"ot7 5aisin' mi'ht cause hands such as ->.>0>H8 that would certainly call one 6et8 to fold7 This could o"en u" the "ossi6ility of winnin' the "ot if a ten comes on the end8 makin' you two "air7 Sure8 you9!e only added three cards to your list of outs8 6ut your decision to in!est an e tra 6et with your 6i' draw mi'ht ha!e increased your chances of scoo"in'7 The lar'er the "ot8 the more !alua6le it 6ecomes to create e tra outs for yourself8 and you can do this 6y in!estin' an e tra 6et or two and thinnin' the field7 (y the way8 the draw mentioned a6o!e is 6i' enou'h 6y itself to cause you to consider raisin' for !alue7 ;ou ha!e si teen low wins8 "lus the flush cards8 the kin's8 and "ossi6ly the other two Backs7 Semi>(luffin' the Turn to Set L" a (luff on the End Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter 'ames that don9t fit into the @no fold>emA cate'ory8 most nota6ly hi'her limit 'ames8 "ro!ide some 'ood 6luffin' o""ortunities for the astute "layer7 Often8 it9s more con!incin' if you set u" a 6luff on the ri!er 6y 6ettin' a drawin' hand on the turn8 with the intention of followin' throu'h if you miss your hand7 This is commonly referred to as semi> 6luffin'8 since you ha!e two ways to win7 -lthou'h you must fire two 6i' 6ets into the "ot to set u" a 6luff8 your 6ets ha!e eJuity 6ecause e!en if your o""onents don9t fold8 there9s a "ossi6ility that you will make the 6est hand on the ri!er7 +ith more than two o""onents8 6luffin' is dan'erous 6ecause it is far too likely that you will run into the nuts7 +hen a small num6er of o""onents are in the "ot8 "refera6ly no more than two other "layers8 that9s the 6est time to 6luff7 -lso8 it is effecti!e to semi>6luff if you can re"resent a s"ecific hand that materiali%es on the turn7 The "lay works 6est when you ha!e not 6een a''ressi!e u" to that "oint in the hand7 Here9s a 'ood e am"le of Bust such a "layK In the small 6lind8 you call with $> .>2>1 and see a flo" of ->0>137 +ith three "layers in the "ot8 you check and call a 6et8 sus"ectin' that the 6ettor has aces>u"7 The turn card is a Jueen8
$31

makin' a strai'ht for any o""onent holdin' a <>4 or H><7 +hile it9s "ossi6le that one of your o""onents has one of these hands8 it is 6y no means a sure thin'7 This is a 'reat o""ortunity to semi>6luff7 ;ou can either 6et your hand8 or you can 'o for a check>raise if you 6elie!e your o""onent will 6et his aces>u" a'ain7 On the ri!er8 you must 6et re'ardless of what card comes: unless it9s an ace8 which will almost certainly make someone a full house7 If no low comes8 your o""onents will 6e hard "ressed to call with any hand other than a strai'ht7 If a low does come8 you9ll win "art of the "ot anyway7 In fact8 if your o""onents are con!inced that you ha!e a strai'ht and fold two aces or two small "air8 you mi'ht make your low hand and scoo" the "ot with se!en>hi'h7 There are two thin's to consider 6efore makin' this "layK =1? *o not to try it a'ainst chronic callin' stations8 "layers who tend to call with a hu'e !ariety of hands8 e!en weak ones7 O""onents like this will want to see if you ha!e your strai'ht7 =$? ;ou a6solutely must ha!e the nut low draw when attem"tin' to semi> 6luff in this fashion7 +hen a low draw is on the 6oard8 it is a mistake to semi> 6luff with only hi'h draws to flushes and strai'hts8 since the low is too likely to show u" on the ri!er7 (ecause of this8 you will "ro6a6ly 6e called 6y anyone with a decent low hand7 ;our o""onent mi'ht call your 6luff with a low hand and wind u" scoo"in' the "ot with one small "air or a similar hand7 PL-;IN, THE 5INE5 (asic 5i!er Play It is a common 6ut incorrect 6elief amon' Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layers that the ri!er lar'ely "lays itself7 There are a num6er of factors that indicate otherwise7 Payin' Off On the ri!er8 you9ll freJuently ha!e to decide whether to call a 6et with a mar'inal hi'h hand or a weak low hand7 Perha"s you flo""ed a set8 only to see a flush arri!e on the ri!er7 +hile it is certainly "ossi6le that you are 6eat8 there is also a chance that the 6ettor is 'oin' for low and your set is still the
$30

6est hi'h hand7 If you cannot decide which way an o""onent is 'oin' in the hand8 it is far 6etter to call and "ossi6ly lose one 6et8 than to fold and risk 'i!in' u" half the "ot7 It9s called "ayin' off8 and you do this when the "ot odds are 'ood enou'h to make you call e!en thou'h you think you ha!e the losin' hand7 Hand 5eadin' -s your "oker skills de!elo"8 you will 6ecome more "roficient in readin' your o""onents9 hands8 which will allow you to make more accurate decisions on the ri!er7 5econstructin' the 6ettin' can make hand readin' easier7 For e am"le8 if a "layer that had raised the "ot 6efore the flo" now 6ets the ri!er when 6oth a flush card and a third low card hit8 it makes sense to read him for a low hand7 This makes it easier for you to call with your set or two "air7 In this situation8 the 6ettor mi'ht show you the nut low and a flush8 6ut that9s Bust the nature of "oker7 Position -nother element to wei'h when de6atin' whether to call on the ri!er is the action yet to take "lace7 If there are Juite a few "layers 6ehind you8 you will need to ti'hten u" a 6it and "ass more of your Juestiona6le hands7 In the "re!ious e am"le8 for instance8 e!en thou'h the 6ettor mi'ht not ha!e a flush8 if there are still four "layers to act 6ehind you8 it9s a "retty safe 6et that one of them has you 6eat and will also call7 Payin' attention to the "layers to your left 6efore you act will sometimes allow you to use their tells to sa!e a 6et or make a 6i' call7 If you can see that your o""onents are "re"arin' to fold8 it makes it easier for you to call7 -lso8 say an o""onent 'ra6s raisin' chi"s 6efore it is his turn to act7 Often this is an act8 6ut it is sometimes a relia6le indicator of the stren'th of his hand7 It is nice to "lay a'ainst o""onents who consistently 'i!e away their hands 6efore it is their turn to act8 "articularly if they are sittin' to your left7 ,ettin' )ounterfeited -lthou'h you can "lay your made nut low hands more a''ressi!ely when you ha!e a 6acku" card8 you sometimes will find yourself in the "ot with Bust the 6are nut low7 In these cases8 there are si cards that will counterfeit you8
$34

which means your hand could 6e killed on the ri!er nearly one time out of se!en =si out of forty>four unseen cards?7 Since this is such a common occurrence8 it is 'ood to ha!e a 'ame "lan for dealin' with it effecti!ely7 ,ettin' counterfeited won9t always cost you the "ot8 and it is im"ortant to reco'ni%e when your hand is still 'ood7 If you are holdin' the nut low with a wheel draw8 and you 'et counterfeited8 then a "layer who has not 6een a''ressi!e now 6ets8 you are almost certainly 6eat7 For e am"le8 say you are holdin' ->$>H>Q8 the 6oard is 2>I>0>Q8 and the ri!er is a deuce7 If a "layer who has 6een callin' to that "oint8 6ets:you are in trou6le7 There isn9t much else this "layer can 6e 6ettin' other than a strai'ht8 so it is almost always safe to fold7 The e ce"tion is when you are "layin' a'ainst a tricky8 so"histicated o""onent8 who is ca"a6le of 6ettin' an ->/ here8 ho"in' your ->$ 'ot counterfeited and that you will fold a 6etter hi'h hand than his7 In a lar'er field8 say more than three o""onents8 someone will often "roduce a 6etter two card low hand when you 'et counterfeited7 (ut in "ots with only two or three "layers you mi'ht still win the low8 so it is im"ortant not to fold too Juickly7 5ather8 'au'e the chances that your o""onent9s 6et si'nifies a hi'h hand7 If you think this is the case8 you mi'ht 6e a6le to "lay your li!e ace or deuce to win the low7 -lso8 it9s "ossi6le that your new hi'h hand will 6e 'ood7 If you already had one "air8 you now ha!e two "air8 which mi'ht win the hi'h a'ainst a small field7 Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layers are notorious for moanin' all the way to the 6ank in situations like this8 com"lainin' e!en as they catch the !ery card that wins them the "ot7 Playin' Three>+ay Pots on the End It is !ery common for there to 6e e actly three "layers left in the hand at the ri!er8 so it9s im"ortant that you learn how to make accurate decisions in this situation7 Followin' are some 'eneral 'uidelines that should 6e hel"ful7 17 +hen ;ou -re First To -ct7 If you ha!e the 6est hand8 6etF This seems o6!ious8 6ut you9d 6e sur"rised how often "layers check the nuts7 In Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 "layin' for a check>raise on the ri!er is 'enerally a 6ad idea8 unless you know for certain that an o""onent will 6et a worse hand7 Lnless they are 6luffin'8 Omaha "layers tend only to 6et hands that are the nuts or close to it on the ri!er7 So8 if you attem"t a check>raise with the nut hi'h8 you
$13

are likely to only coa a 6et out of an o""onent if he9s holdin' the nut low7 Nothin' is 'ained from this maneu!er7 Howe!er8 if you 6et8 an o""onent mi'ht call with a worse hi'h hand7 Sometimes a 6et on the ri!er will win you not only the side of the "ot you ha!e locked u"8 6ut the entire "ot7 If you are holdin' ->.>2>Q8 the 6oard shows $>I>0>13><8 and you are "ositi!e that your o""onents don9t ha!e you three>Juartered8 you should 6et with Bust the nut low7 - 6et will often cause an o""onent to fold a 6usted hand like ->$>H>Q =nut flush draw?8 e!en thou'h he has you 6eat for hi'h7 -lso8 hands like ->2>/>1 will "ay you off with the second>nut low8 and you will 6e a6le to scoo" them with the nut low and ->Q hi'h7 -lthou'h you won9t 'et results like these e!ery time8 it should 6e clear that 6ein' a''ressi!e has a lot of !alue7 $7 +hen the First Player (ets and ;ou9re Ne t To -ct7 Here is a situation in which you must 6e willin' to stick your neck out a 6it7 +hen the 6oard contains three to a low hand 6ut not a wheel "ossi6ility8 and you ha!e a mar'inal hand in 6oth directions8 you need to either raise or fold7 )allin' is a mistake8 as it o"ens the door for the third "layer to call 6ehind you7 +ith a weak two>way hand8 it is im"ortant to eliminate the other "layer and "lay heads>u" a'ainst the 6ettor8 ho"in' to win in one direction or the other7 Su""ose the 6oard shows .>2>0><>Q8 and your hand is ->.>2>17 +ith 6ottom two "air for hi'h and ->1 for low8 it9s unlikely that you will 'et a "iece of the "ot a'ainst more than one o""onent7 Howe!er8 it will 6e difficult for a sin'le o""onent to scoo" your hand heads>u"8 as he must use all four of his cards to 6eat you 6oth ways7 If you raise8 the third "layer mi'ht fold a 6etter two "air or 6etter lows such as ->I8 $>I8 and ->/7 Lean toward foldin' if the 6oard contains a fi!e>card low strai'ht or a flush "ossi6ility7 It will 6e easier for a lone o""onent to scoo" you in this case8 "lus there is the increased "ossi6ility that you will 6e reraised8 meanin' you9ll ha!e to risk three 6ets with the "lay rather than two7 For e am"le8 if the 6oard is .>2>I>0>13 =flush? and you hold ->.>I>1 without ha!in' a flush8 any o""onent with ->$ has you scoo"ed8 as does one with a flush and a sli'htly 6etter low than yours7 - com"letely different situation arises when the first "layer 6ets8 and you are
$11

ne t to act holdin' the nut low and a !ery weak hi'h hand7 Here8 the de6ate is whether to raise or call7 If you know that the 6ettor has your hi'h 6eat8 callin' is clearly the ri'ht "lay7 ;ou don9t want to eliminate the third "arty and are fishin' for the o!er>call7 Howe!er8 thin's are seldom this 6lack and white7 It is a 6i' mistake to Bust call with the nut low8 only to find that the ori'inal 6ettor was 6ettin' the nut low with no "air himself7 Now8 the third "layer mi'ht call with a mar'inal hi'h hand and win half the "ot8 chi"s that would 6e headin' your direction had you raised7 Therefore8 it is 6est to raise most of the time if you are holdin' the nut low with a hi'h hand of one "air or 6etter8 unless you think the ori'inal 6ettor can 6eat your hi'h hand7 +hen you make this "lay consistently8 you should 6e "re"ared to recei!e a flurry of hate mail in the form of dirty looks and sarcastic comments from your o""onents7 Sometimes you will raise and the third "layer will 6e holdin' the nut low himself8 so you wind u" 'ettin' Juartered while the initial 6ettor wins the hi'h7 This third "layer8 dis'usted at your raise8 mi'ht mutter somethin' to the effect of @How could that idiot raise with Bust the nut lowE +hat did he think I hadEA It is true that if you re'ularly raise in this situation8 you will sometimes cost yourself money8 either 6ecause you 'et Juartered or 6ecause you raise out the third "layer when the initial 6ettor was 'oin' hi'h7 Howe!er8 it is also true that this "lay will occasionally win you the hi'h half of the "ot7 The Juestion is whether the fractions of 6ets you lose when you9re wron' outwei'h the half>"ots you win when you are ri'ht7 This "lay doesn9t ha!e to work out !ery often for you to show a "rofit8 so you should use it any time you feel it has e!en a small chance of succeedin'7 Here is one final scenario "ertainin' to three>way "ots when your hand is the second to act7 If you ha!e a hand of ->.>I>H =kin'>hi'h flush? with a 6oard of 2>/>0>13>< =makin' your flush?8 you hold the second>6est hand in each direction8 which is a 'ood8 6ut not 'reat situation in Omaha ei'ht or 6etter7 It is 6est when you are the one doin' the 6ettin'8 since anyone that can 6eat your hi'h hand would surely 6et8 and it is likely that the nut low hand would 6et as well7 Ne!ertheless8 second>second is usually 'ood enou'h for at least half the "ot7 In this case8 if the first "layer 6ets8 it likely si'nifies that he has
$1$

you 6eat one way or another8 so there isn9t much "oint in raisin'7 - worse hand 6ehind you will fold8 6ut a 6etter hand will call or reraise8 since the only 6etter hi'h or low hand is the nuts7 -lso8 if you raise8 you risk the "ossi6ility of a reraise from the ori'inal 6ettor7 .7 +hen ;ou9re Last To -ct on the 5i!er7 If you only ha!e the nut low and it9s a 6et and a call to you on the end8 it is an easy8 comforta6le "lay to Bust call7 This is not necessarily the correct "lay8 thou'h7 -lthou'h you will lose money 6y raisin' if you only 'et a Juarter of the "ot8 you are costin' yourself e!en more money in the lon' run when you Bust call and 'et half7 Here is whyK -ssumin' a C13#C$3 'ame8 so the last 6et is C$3K =1? If you raise and win only a Juarter of the "ot8 s"littin' the low side8 you lose CI on the raise =C$3 .8 you 'et 6ack C1I?7 =$? If you raise and win half of the "ot8 you win C13 on the raise =C$3 .8 you 'et 6ack C.3?7 +hat this means is that you are 'ettin' a "rice of $ to 1 on this raise7 For raisin' to 6e incorrect8 you must 6e Juartered more than two out of three times7 This will not 6e the case8 es"ecially if you refrain from raisin' when you are reasona6ly sure another "layer has the nut low7 Essentially8 any time you ha!e a reasona6le dou6t as to whether another nut low is out there8 you should raise7 Most "layers do the o""osite in this s"ot7 They will Bust call8 feelin' that they mi'ht 6e Juartered7 In fact8 they should raise8 6ecause they mi'ht win half the "ot7 +hen a so"histicated "layer is in the "ot with you8 you need to 6e aware that he may use some of the "lays discussed here7 He may not always hold what he is re"resentin'7 He mi'ht raise on the ri!er in an attem"t to knock you out of the "ot8 rather than raisin' Bust on the stren'th of his hand7 This ha""ens more at the hi'her limits8 thou'h8 and a ri!er raise in smaller Omaha ei'ht>or> 6etter 'ames nearly always si'nifies a nut hand7 If one of these tricky "layers is in your 'ame and attem"ts to knock you out8 you mi'ht call a raise from him on the ri!er with a weaker>than>normal hand8 such as two medium "air7 Howe!er8 don9t for'et that the ori'inal 6ettor may
$1.

ha!e you 6eat8 and mi'ht choose to reraise7 This is a difficult situation to "lay correctly8 and it draws on all your skills as a "oker "layer7 -d!anced 5i!er Play Nalue (ettin' +hen you 6et for !alue8 you do so 6ecause you 6elie!e you ha!e a 6etter hand than your o""onents and may 6e called 6y one with an inferior hand7 ;ou do not8 howe!er8 ha!e the nuts8 and there is a "ossi6ility that you9ll 6e 6eaten7 ;ou 6et 6ecause you feel that it will 6e "rofita6le in the lon' run and that you will 6e called and win more often than you will 6e called and lose7 One maBor consideration is whether or not your o""onents tend to 6et for !alue7 Some "layers seem to 6et only the nuts on the ri!er8 so discretion must 6e e ercised in 6ettin' medium stren'th hands a'ainst them7 <ust 6ecause one such o""onent checks to you8 it doesn9t mean he isn9t holdin' a !ery stron' hand8 so you must !alue 6et less freJuently7 Other "layers will "ay off anythin' and e!erythin'7 They mi'ht 'o home 6roke8 6ut they won9t 'o home curious7 -'ainst these ty"es8 6et any hand that you feel has a 6etter than e!en>money chance to 6e the 6est hand7 Since a "layer like this mi'ht call with as little as one "air8 it is often a mistake to check hands like two "air if it is checked to you8 e!en if 6i''er hands such as strai'hts or flushes are "ossi6le7 If an o""onent like this tends to 6et their 'ood hands and you ha!e anythin' decent at all8 you can safely assume that if he checks8 you ha!e the 6est hand7 So 'o ahead and 6et it for !alue7 +hen you "lay a'ainst a mi ed 6a' of "layers8 you must e ercise 'ood Bud'ment in 6ettin' for !alue7 Some tricky "layers will try to check>raise on the end if they make their hands7 +hen these "layers act 6efore you and a scary card hits the 6oard8 you should think twice 6efore 6ettin'7 -lso8 sometimes an e tremely ti'ht "layer will check the 6est hand on the end7 If this "layer has 6een 6ettin' throu'hout the hand8 his check shouldn9t 6e misinter"reted as a si'n of weakness7 May6e his ri'ht arm 'ot tired7 Or may6e a card came that sli'htly weakened his hand7 For e am"le8 he may hold somethin' like ->.>13>< =ace>hi'h flush? with a 6oard of 2>I>1>Q>Q =nut flush?7 -lthou'h he has the nut flush and second nut low8 the fact that the 6oard "aired means that he can still 6e 6eaten8 so he checks the ri!er7 There
$12

are Juite a few Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layers who "lay in this fashion8 "articularly in the smaller 'ames7 If you can reco'ni%e them8 this will hel" you a!oid 6ettin' hands like ->2>H>H =kin'>hi'h flush? for !alue when they are in the "ot and ha!e shown some stren'th7 Position has a hu'e influence on how often you can 6et for !alue7 This is one of the most im"ortant 6enefits of actin' last in the hand7 For e am"le8 su""ose you hold ->$>.>Q =nut flush? in a four>way "ot8 and the 6oard shows 2>I>4><>27 The "ot is fairly lar'e8 and you ha!e what is "ossi6ly the 6est hand7 -'ainst more o""onents8 it would 6e more likely that someone has the full house7 In a heads>u" or three>way "ot8 your hand is most likely 'ood7 (ut in this case8 you9re not sure7 If you had to act first8 you would likely check8 fearin' a raise from a full house7 Howe!er8 if you ha!e last "osition and it is checked around to you8 6ettin' for !alue is usually the 6est "lay7 -nother e am"le of how "osition can win you e tra 6ets on the ri!er is if you are holdin' ->.>Q>Q8 and the 6oard shows Q><>1>I>H7 Once a'ain8 if you are first to act and se!eral "layers are 6ehind you8 you should "ro6a6ly check8 as it is likely that one of them has made a strai'ht7 (ut if you are last and it is checked to you8 'o ahead and 6et your three Jueens for !alue7 ;ou will "ro6a6ly 6e called 6y anyone with kin's>u"8 a smaller set8 and "ossi6ly some worse hands8 too7 It is also "ossi6le that someone made a strai'ht8 and is "lannin' on check>raisin' you7 5emem6er that you don9t need to ha!e a lock to 6et7 )atchin' (luffs +hen decidin' u"on the most "rofita6le course of action on the ri!er8 you will occasionally ha!e to choose 6etween 6ettin' your hand for !alue and checkin' to induce an o""onent to 6luff7 This decision must 6e made when there are "layers remainin' to act 6ehind you7 (asically8 if you do not 6elie!e you are likely to 6e called 6y a worse hand8 or if you ha!e !ery a''ressi!e "layers 6ehind you8 it is often 6est to ado"t a strate'y of checkin' and callin'7 This can e!en 6e done with !ery stron' hands7 For e am"le8 say you ha!e ->.>I>H8 and the 6oard comes $>/>/><>H7 It is likely that your kin's>u" are 'ood in a "ot with a small num6er of o""onents7 Howe!er8 it is unlikely you will 6e called8 e ce"t 6y a hand eJual to yours or
$1I

"ossi6ly a Back7 This is another situation in which checkin' to an a''ressi!e "layer has some !alue7 If you check8 he mi'ht try to steal the "ot8 ho"in' that you ha!e missed your low draw and will now fold to a 6et7 -'ainst a callin' station8 thou'h8 6ettin' for !alue is "ro6a6ly 6est7 (ein' aware of your o""onents9 "layin' styles is worth many 6ets in this and similar situations7 Lsin' Scare )ards To ;our -d!anta'e Sometimes the te ture of the 6oard coo"erates to make it more likely that your 6luff attem"t will 6e successful7 Players tend to "ay off in Omaha ei'ht> or>6etter unless the 6oard shows a stron' hand that they 6elie!e one of their o""onents holds7 For e am"le8 a 6oard of ->H>Q>< makes it !ery difficult for an o""onent to call if he is not holdin' the strai'ht7 Howe!er8 it is !ery "ossi6le that no one has the nuts8 and this !ery well could 6e one situation in which you will 'et credit for a strai'ht if you 6et7 The !ery idea of 6luffin' into a four>card strai'ht 6oard is not one that occurs to many "layers7 -ttem"tin' to 6luff here is a 'reat "lay 6ecause 6y the time you 'et to the ri!er8 the "ot should 6e lar'e enou'h to 'i!e a 'ood "rice on stealin' it7 Therefore8 this "lay needs to work only occasionally for it to show a nice "rofit7 Four cards to a wheel8 such as ->$>2>Q>. =or I? is another scary 6oard that mi'ht 6e worth a steal attem"t8 as lon' as no one has shown !ery much interest to this "oint7 It will 6e difficult for anyone without a wheel to call you7 -s with the "re!ious 6luff8 this "lay needs to work only a small "ercenta'e of the time to 6e "rofita6le7 Howe!er8 this "lay is a 6ad idea when the 6oard is $>.>2>I> 8 as at least one "layer:includin' you:should ha!e a wheel7 +hen you are 'oin' for low and the 6oard tri"s u" on the end8 it is worthwhile sometimes to take a sta6 at the "ot a'ainst a relati!ely small num6er of o""onents7 There is a 'ood chance that no one will 6e holdin' a "air8 and most o""onents won9t call a 6et with Bust ace>hi'h when tri"s are on the 6oard7 ;ou can check down hands like ->$>.>H or ->$>I>Q8 since your hi'h kicker mi'ht win the "ot for you7 Howe!er8 if you are holdin' somethin' like ->$>.>28 you ha!e no chance to win unless you 6et7
$1/

-lthou'h a 6luff attem"t is sometimes the only way you can win the "ot8 it is still im"ortant that you e ercise some discretion7 If you consistently try to 6luff the ri!er8 your o""onents will reco'ni%e this and start callin' you down7 The more astute ones will check their 6i' hands to you8 knowin' you may try a 6luff7 -lso8 it doesn9t matter how scary the 6oard is8 some o""onents Bust ha!e to see your hand7 Ha!e some res"ect for your chi"s8 and don9t fire in 6luffs when callin' stations are in the "ot7 +ith that in mind8 Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "ots are ty"ically lar'e enou'h on the ri!er to Bustify a 6luff attem"t into a scary 6oard7 If you are selecti!e and e ecute these 6luffs on "ots with two or fewer o""onents who are tryin' to "lay well8 you should show a "rofit7 )onclusion The most im"ortant conce"t to take with you from this section is that a''ressi!e "lay 'ets rewarded7 +ith that in mind8 remem6er to make raises that can hel" you win half the "ot8 and to 6et a''ressi!ely when you are holdin' the nuts7 -lso8 don9t for'et to 6et for !alue when you 6elie!e you hold the 6est hand8 and kee" some 6luffin' "lays in your re"ertoire7 The lar'e "ots in this 'ame allow you to err on the side of a''ression8 as your 6ets don9t ha!e to 6e successful e!ery time to turn you a "rofit7 (ONLS TOPI)S This section will co!er some related to"ics and "ro!ide more in>de"th commentary on material already discussed7 Playin' $>.8 ->28 and Similar Hands Many Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layers re'ularly "lay hands in which $>. or -> 2 re"resent their 6est "ros"ects for low7 +hile these hands should not 6e "layed automatically in a full>handed 'ame8 there are times when you should see the flo" with them7 ;ou will cost yourself some "rofita6le o""ortunities if you automatically fold these hands7 Position influences when these ty"es of hands 6ecome "laya6le7 It is "ro6a6ly 6est to "lay $>. and ->2 hands when you are near the 6utton8 as you can more accurately 'au'e when an o""onent has you 6eat for low7 -lso8 if a
$11

few 'ood "layers ha!e already entered the "ot8 you9ll know your low draw is assuredly not the 6est7 -dditionally8 the cards you need to flo":aces in the case of $>.8 and deuces and threes in the case of ->2:are "ro6a6ly not li!e7 Therefore8 foldin' is usually the ri'ht mo!e7 Sometimes the field will fold around to you in a late "osition when you ha!e a hand like $>.>2>1 =suited?7 In the case of the $>.>2>18 it is likely that the ace you need to make the nut low is Juite li!e in the deck8 which makes your hand more "laya6le7 -lso8 you will ha!e "osition on the 6linds7 - raise is "ro6a6ly your 6est "lay8 es"ecially if the 6linds are ti'ht "layers who will fold without a stron' hand7 )allin' is fine if there are loose "layers in the 6linds7 Howe!er8 if it9s folded around to you on or near the 6utton and you are holdin' ->2>/>0 =suited?8 you should "ro6a6ly raise rather than call7 There are three reasons for thisK =1? ;ou ha!e one of the aces in your hand8 makin' it less likely for one of the 6linds to ha!e a 'ood hand7 This may increase your chances of winnin' the 6linds7 =$? ;ou9re unlikely to make the nut low8 and raisin' may cause an o""onent with $>. or ->2 to fold7 =.? The 6linds are also likely to fold hands dominated 6y middle cards8 which increases the hi'h "otential for your own middle cards7 If a late "osition "layer has o"ened the "ot for a raise8 and you are ne t with a hand like ->2>I>H or ->2>H>Q8 you should consider reraisin'8 ho"in' to "lay the "ot heads>u"7 Lnless your o""onent has two aces8 your hand has a 'ood chance to win the hi'h7 -lthou'h your o""onent likely has a 6etter low draw8 you hold 6etter hi'h "otential7 ;ou also ha!e "osition8 which should allow you to steal the "ot if your o""onent doesn9t connect with the flo"7 +hen se!eral "layers are in8 hands containin' $>. or ->2 mi'ht still 6e "laya6le7 ,enerally8 you want to "lay these hands for only one 6et8 thou'h8 and it is im"ortant that your other two cards ha!e some !alue7 Hands such as $>.>2>/8 $>.>Q>H =suited?8 ->2>/>Q8 and ->2>13>< are "ro6a6ly worth a call when se!eral "layers ha!e lim"ed in front of you7 Howe!er8 hands like $>.>1> 138 $>.>4>H8 ->2>0>H8 or ->2>1>4 6elon' in the muck7
$10

Ha!in' (acku" )ards for Low Hel" How hel"ful is ha!in' 6acku" cards for low hel"E The short answer to this Juestion isK !ery hel"fulF Take a look at the followin' fi'uresK =1? +hen you flo" the nut low draw without a 6acku" card8 you will com"lete the hand a6out I1V of the time7 =$? Howe!er8 you will "air your low draw =6e counterfeited? nearly $IV of the time on the turn and ri!er7 =.? ;ou will make your low draw on the turn a6out .2V of the time8 and then 6e counterfeited on the ri!er 1.V of the time7 =2? +hen you flo" the nut low draw with 6acku"8 you will com"lete the hand 13V of the time7 =I? Only .V of the time will 6oth the turn and ri!er counterfeit your hand when you ha!e 6acku"7 These num6ers clearly demonstrate why ha!in' e tra low cards in your hand is so im"ortant7 Since you will 6e counterfeited nearly $I "ercent of the time when you only ha!e a two>card low>draw8 it9s Juestiona6le how a''ressi!ely you can "lay7 The added !alue of the additional low card "ermits a far more a''ressi!e a""roach7 -nother 6onus of the 6acku" card is that you ha!e far 'reater strai'ht "otential7 For e am"le8 with a 6oard of 2>I>H8 there is a hu'e difference 6etween holdin' Bust an ->$ =four cards to com"lete your strai'ht? !ersus an ->$>. =thirteen cards to com"lete your strai'ht?7 +hy Hin's>L" Is the (est Two Pair To Flo" (esides the o6!ious fact that kin's>u" 6eat Jueens>u" in a showdown8 there are other 'ood reasons to consider kin's>u" to 6e the only two "air in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter that is of much !alue7 First8 since a kin' is a hi'h card8 its "resence on the 6oard makes it more difficult for a low hand to 6e made7 -lthou'h aces>u" would 6e the 6est two "air8 when an ace is on the 6oard it is far more likely that the "ot will 6e s"lit with a low hand7 Since kin's are the hi'hest cards in the deck other than aces8 it is unlikely that they will lose to a 6etter two "air7 S"ecifically8 it will take a 6etter kin's> u" hand to 6eat them7 -s a 'ood Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layer8 you will 'enerally ha!e an ace in your hand when you flo" kin's>u"8 so if the ace then hits8 you will now make the to" two "air7 -lthou'h to" two "air is a dicey
$14

hand a'ainst se!eral o""onents8 it should win a 'ood "ercenta'e of the time a'ainst a small field7 - maBor "ro6lem with two "air is that there will nearly always 6e a strai'ht "ossi6ility when the 6oard is un"aired7 In fact8 in order for no strai'ht to 6e "ossi6le8 there must 6e a kin'8 a Jueen8 or 6oth on the final 6oard7 This 'rants a little e tra !alue to kin's>u" or Jueens>u"7 - hand like ->2>13>< with a flo" of <>13>/ is in trou6le e!en thou'h it is most likely the 6est hand on the flo"7 There are lots of dan'erous turn cards8 and e!en more "eril waitin' on the ri!er7 -ny o!ercard "roduces the "ossi6ility of someone makin' either a strai'ht or a hi'her two "air7 =This won9t 6e the case if you flo" kin's>u"8 6ecause the strai'ht could still 6eat you8 6ut a hi'her two "air will not7? - low card "ro!ides a tem"orary re"rie!e8 as your two "air is still likely to 6e the 6est hand7 Howe!er8 e!ery low card creates an additional strai'ht draw of some sort8 and e!ery ri!er card in the deck that doesn9t "air the 6oard creates the "ossi6ility of a strai'ht7 These ty"es of hands ha!e a chance a'ainst a few "layers8 6ut are in trou6le if you are una6le to narrow the field7 Playin' Shorthanded Playin' shorthanded Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter:that is with four or fewer "layers:is dramatically different from "layin' in a rin' 'ame7 Pro6a6ly the most distinct chan'e is in the !alues of startin' hands7 In a full 'ame8 few hands without an ace are "laya6le7 Of these8 most are hands with four hi'h> cards7 If you9re "layin' shorthanded8 howe!er8 you cannot afford to sit and wait for 'reat startin' cards7 Not only do they not come around !ery often8 they don9t win with the same "ercenta'e as "remium hands in other 'ames7 Premium startin' hands in full 'ames are so !alua6le 6ecause they can im"ro!e to make nut hands8 which is freJuently what it takes to win the "ot7 In a shorthanded 'ame8 howe!er8 you 'enerally don9t need to show the nuts to win7 Hi'h hands8 such as any two "air8 or lows as weak as the fourth nuts will often 'et the money7 This allows you to "lay a 6roader ran'e of hands7 Hands such as .>2>I>/ =dou6le>suited? are trash in rin' 'ames a'ainst se!eral "layers8 6ut are well a6o!e a!era'e in a three> or four>handed 'ame7 In a shorthanded 'ame8 you are lookin' for !ersatile hands more than sim"ly nut
$$3

"otential8 and the a6o!e hand is a "oster child for !ersatility7 E!en a low hand as weak as .>2 or .>I mi'ht 6e 'ood enou'h in a shorthanded 'ame8 as your o""onents won9t necessarily ha!e ->$ or ->.7 -'ainst a full ta6le8 thou'h8 someone is more likely to show you a 6etter low7 The necessity of holdin' an ace in your hand is less "ronounced in a shorthanded 'ame7 This is not to say that aces aren9t still the 6est cards in the deck7 It9s Bust that8 ty"ically8 aces are reJuired to make nut hands:lows or flushes8 in "articular:and the need to make the nuts is not as 'reat7 How does this fact affect your decision>makin'E Mainly8 it means that !ersatile hands such as the aforementioned .>2>I>/ =dou6le>suited? 6ecome much more "laya6le8 and hands such as ->$>$>0 6ecome more mar'inal7 The fact is that while ->$>$>0 may make the nut low8 which is 'ood enou'h to win half of a "ot8 it will 6e hard>"ressed to scoo" without some miracle 6oard such as .>2>0>0>Q7 It is im"ortant to look at a hand9s scoo" "otential8 and hands with little chance to scoo" should 6e a""roached more conser!ati!ely in shorthanded 'ames7 If you take half of a "ot heads>u"8 you make no money =e ce"t for half of "ossi6ly forfeited 6linds?8 6ut if you take half of a multiway "ot8 you do make money7 So8 you should 6e much more reluctant to "lay low>only hands shorthanded7 One ty"e of hand that 6ecomes more "laya6le in shorthanded 'ames is a 6i' "air with two low cards7 For e am"le8 hands like ->1>H>H =either suited or unsuited? should 6e folded in a full 'ame7 (ut this is usually a raisin' hand in a four>handed 'ame7 In a three>way "ot8 the kin's may !ery well win the hi'h e!en if you don9t im"ro!e them7 -nd althou'h ->1 is not much of a low draw8 it is 'ood to ha!e it for 6acku" should the kin's 'et 6eat7 *on9t underestimate the !alue of any low draw in your hand when "layin' shorthanded8 6ecause freJuently none of your o""onents will end u" with a low7 )ON)LLSIONS -lthou'h there is a lot to consider when "layin' Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 the 'ame doesn9t ha!e to 6e that com"licated7 If you can learn to "lay Juality hands in 'ood "osition8 you will a!oid 6ein' confronted with too many
$$1

difficult decisions7 It is crucial to remem6er that in multiway "ots8 it freJuently takes the nuts to win7 Therefore8 you ha!e to 6e a6le to Juickly reco'ni%e whether your hand has nut "otential7 -nd if it doesn9t8 you should usually fold7 In "ots with three or fewer "layers8 hands such as two "air or mediocre lows ha!e some !alue7 This "ermits you a 6it more leeway in your startin' reJuirements7 -'ain8 "osition is im"ortant7 The later you act8 the 6etter idea you will ha!e a6out the num6er of o""onents you9ll face and how stron' their hands are7 ;ou9ll 6enefit from kee"in' in mind the conce"ts discussed in this section as the hand "lays out7 It is 'ood to remem6er8 thou'h8 that e!ery situation is sli'htly different7 The wide !ariety of !aria6les8 such as how your o""onents are "layin'8 the si%e of the "ot8 the num6er of o""onents in the hand8 and your "osition8 mean that e!ery Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "ro6lem is uniJue7 ;ou must make the 6est decision you can8 6ased on the information a!aila6le to you7 5eali%e that "oker is a dynamic 'ame8 in which your decision>makin' has to ada"t to constantly chan'in' conditions7 -s you 'ain e "erience8 you will learn to 6etter assess the 'ame8 which will allow you to make 'ood decisions7 The conce"ts discussed in this section should hel" s"eed u" your learnin' cur!e7 Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter is a 'reat 'ame8 6ecause it "resents a 'reater num6er of challen'in' decisions than any other form of "oker7 -nd now you know how to make those decisions "rofita6ly7

$$$

SENEN )-5* STL* HI,H LO+ EI,HT>O5>(ETTE5 6y Todd (runson The old sayin'8 @The a""le doesn9t fall far from the tree8A is certainly true when it comes to my son8 Todd (runson7 In 1404 after three years of colle'e8 studyin' to 6e a lawyer8 Todd stunned me 6y announcin' that he wasn9t 'oin' 6ack to school for his senior year7 @I want to 6e a "rofessional "oker "layer8A he e "lained7 +e had ne!er talked much a6out 'am6lin' in my household8 and I didn9t e!en know that Todd knew how to "lay "oker7 It turned out he had 6een "layin' in the area around his colle'e8 Te as Tech in Lu66ock7 He had 'otten fairly "roficient and decided he liked it more than his studies7 So at the a'e of $38 Todd started his career as a "ro7 It soon 6ecame a""arent that he had the skills to win7 +hen he was $18 Todd won first>"lace at the C$338333 main>e!ent in the *iamond <im (rady tournament at the (icycle )lu6 in Los -n'eles7 It was the first of nine career wins in 6i' tournaments7 Todd had an uncanny a6ility to remem6er thin's8 e!en as a youn' child7 I9!e always thou'ht that a "oker "layer9s 'reatest 'ift is the a6ility to recall "ast hands and e!ents8 and I9m sure that his ama%in' knack for !i!idly remem6erin' the "ast has hel"ed him a lot7 -llow me to e ercise my 6ra''in' ri'hts 6y tellin' you a little story a6out Todd7 I always knew that he was a 'reat hold9em "layer8 6ut he su""orted my 6elief in s"ades this "ast year in the two 6i''est 'ames I9!e e!er heard of7 6rilliant 6usinessman came to Ne'as to challen'e the world9s 6est "oker "layers7 It was clear to me that his strate'ic ca"a6ilities e tended 6eyond 6usiness and into "oker7 He wanted to "lay so hi'h that his "oker challen'ers needed to "ool their money Bust to accommodate him7 For ten days this wealthy e ecuti!e 6attled different "layers to a standstill8 a !ery rare feat for someone who doesn9t "ractice day>in and day>out7 +e were all im"ressed7 Then Todd sat down to "lay him heads>u" in a @friendly little 'ameA of CI38333>C1338333 Te as hold9em7 On the first day of their two>day match8 Todd won C1 million7 He sli""ed a little 6it on the second day8 tallyin' only C/7I million more7 I9m certain this 'ame will 6ecome a "art of "oker folklore7 Todd9s winnin's in that Te as hold9em 'ame were o!er C$3 million7 He also
$$.

"lays daily in the world9s lar'est on'oin' "oker 'ame8 in which he is one of the most consistent winners7 (ut8 althou'h his stren'ths at hold9em are unJuestiona6le8 his insi'hts into se!en>card stud ei'ht>or>6etter are "erha"s e!en more remarka6le7 That9s why I9!e chosen him to write this cha"ter7 There9s no dou6t in my mind that you9ll 6e hearin' the (runson name in "oker for years after I9m 'one7 INT5O*L)TION Se!en>card stud hi'h>low s"lit ei'ht>or>6etter to Jualify for low8 commonly known as ei'ht>or>6etter8 is found in home 'ames and casinos throu'hout the world7 In se!en>card stud8 each "layer is dealt three cards to start8 two down and one u"7 This first u"card is called the doorcard7 There is a round of 6ettin'8 then three more u"cards are dealt to each "layer with a round of 6ettin' followin' each card7 Each "layer then recei!es his final card8 known as se!enth street or the ri!er8 which is dealt facedown7 - final round of 6ettin' follows7 Throu'hout this cha"ter8 I9ll use e am"les to identify each "layer9s cards7 The first two cards shown will 6e the "layers initial two hole cards and the ne t one8 two8 three or four cards are the u"cards7 - final se!enth card will either 6e shown 6y itself to the ri'ht of the four u"cards or 'rou"ed with the first two downcards7 In many cases8 your o""onents9 holecards will 6e re"resented 6y 9s8 meanin' they are hidden or 6uried7 Here9s an e am"le where all cards are shownK ;ouK H>4 />$>.>H 1 Player OneK $>. -><>I>. $ Player TwoK <>< I><>Q>1 4 This e am"le shows the three downcards to'ether "lus the 9s re"resentin' unknown cards held 6y the o""onents7 ;ouK ->$>- I>0>1>13 Player OneK > > Q>2>/>4 Player TwoK > > ->I>0><
$$2

*urin' tournaments8 there are many lower>limit =CI#C13 to C1I#C.3? and middle> to hi'h>middle limit =C.3#C/3 to C$33#C233? 'ames where less e "erienced "layers can 6e found7 Lnfortunately8 they seem to dry u" when the tournament ends7 In the 6i''er limits8 strai'ht ei'ht>or>6etter 'ames are rare8 6ut usually they are an im"ortant "art of the com"osite that makes u" the mi ed 'ames7 If you ha!e any as"irations of risin' to the to" in "oker8 you must learn all the 'ames8 es"ecially ei'ht>or>6etter7 It9s almost always included in the mi ed 'ames7 If you9re una6le to find low>limit trainin' 'ames in your area8 you mi'ht need to 'et e "erience in medium>limit 'ames7 ,ranted C.3#C/3 or CI3#C133 are e tremely hi'h limits to start out on8 6ut 6esides this 6ook8 e "erience is the most im"ortant wea"on in your "oker arsenal7 +hile smaller ei'ht>or> 6etter 'ames are not "o"ular in Las Ne'as8 they e ist in your local card rooms and on the internet7 Enterin' smaller 6uy>in tournaments is another 'ood way of 'ainin' e "erience without "uttin' too 6i' a strain on your 6ankroll7 One 6it of 'ood news on the 6ankroll frontK ;our swin's should 6e much lower in ei'ht>or>6etter than in many other forms of "oker7 First8 you9ll "lay fewer startin' hands7 -nd second8 of the low hands you start with8 you will usually 'et out of the "ot early8 or find yourself with a "laya6le low draw after four cards7 In this case8 you9ll make a low the maBority of the time8 which will win you at least half of the "ot7 -s you follow alon'8 remem6er that the lowest e "osed card is forced to start the 6ettin' 6y makin' a token 6lind 6et7 Once you find a "lace to start your ei'ht>or>6etter career8 read and memori%e the conce"ts in this cha"ter8 then Bust try and kee" it sim"le7 Lnlike many other forms of "oker8 in ei'ht>or>6etter8 you usually ha!e to show down a hand7 This means8 don9t try and 'et too fancy too Juickly7 -t first8 kee" it sim"le and "lay !ery strai'htforward "oker7 The time to make "lays will come8 6ut first you must know how to reco'ni%e the "ro"er situation7 My ad!iceK (e "atientF For this 6ook8 I ha!e "icked what I feel are the ei'hteen most im"ortant
$$I

conce"ts needed to master ei'ht>or>6etter7 The followin' is the most im"ortant of all the conce"ts8 not Bust in ei'ht>or>6etter 6ut all s"lit 'ames7 So8 I9m 'oin' to start my cha"ter with this rule7 )ON)EPT 1K S)OOPIN,:THE PL-TINLM 5LLE The o6Bect of the 'ame is winnin' the whole "ot8 also known as scoo"in'7 Of all the conce"ts I9ll co!er in this section8 this one is the most im"ortant7 I can9t em"hasi%e this "oint stron'ly enou'h7 ;ou9!e heard of the ,olden 5uleE +ell since this is twice as im"ortant8 I call it my Platinum 5ule7 +hen you are decidin' whether or not to enter a "ot or "roceed to the ne t street8 you should always ask yourself8 @)an I scoo" this whole "otE Or am I "layin' for halfEA If you are only "layin' for half8 stron'ly consider foldin'7 There are e ce"tions to this rule8 and we9ll co!er these later in the cha"ter8 6ut always kee" this rule in mind7 Tattoo it into your memory7 <ust as the continental di!ide se"arates the eastern and western Lnited States8 this conce"t se"arates mediocre "layers from 'reat ones7 E tremely smart and successful "eo"le "lay this 'ame for decades8 learn the ins and outs of the 'ame8 and then fore!er 6reak e!en:or lose7 This conce"t sim"ly eludes "eo"le for some reason7 Learn and "ractice my Platinum 5ule and you will ha!e a le' u" on some more seasoned !eterans7 )ON)EPT $K TH5EE (I, O5 TH5EE LITTLE8 (LT NENE5 TH5EE IN THE MI**LE Three (i' If you9re "layin' a "air8 you9ll want the 6i''est "air7 Ne!er "lay catch>u" like you mi'ht in stud hi'h7 Two Backs with a kin' kicker a'ainst a raiser with a Jueen u" is a 'ood s"ot in stud hi'h8 6ut usually not in ei'ht>or>6etter7 There are two reasons for this7 First of all8 in stud8 there9s a real 'ood chance that the raiser doesn9t actually ha!e the two Jueens7 - three>flush8 three>strai'ht or a smaller "ocket "air are actually more likely7 Therefore8 a call with Backs in stud is usually a sound "lay7 This is not so in ei'ht>or>6etter thou'h7 +hen
$$/

a Jueen comes in with a raise in ei'ht>or>6etter8 he will usually ha!e what he9s re"resentin'8 a 6i' "air7 This is a much more strai'htforward 'ame than strai'ht hi'h7 - second reason you won9t want to "lay less than the 6i''est "air in ei'ht>or> 6etter is that you will most likely "ick u" at least one hitchhiker 'oin' low7 Now8 not only are you a do' to win the hi'h half of the "ot8 there9s a 'ood chance the low half will 6e 'one8 e!en if you mana'e to draw out on the Jueens7 -nd you also need to consider the fact that the low hitchhiker may make a strai'ht or some other hand that 6eats you7 So8 like I said in the 6e'innin' of this conce"tK -lways try and start with the 6i''est "air7 Three in the Middle -!oid s"lit nines8 tens8 and e!en Backs or Jueens on third street if you ha!e o!ercards 6ehind you7 There are two e ce"tions to this rule8 and they 6oth come into "lay on rare occasionsK =1? There9s nothin' hi'her than an 0 on the 6oardD or =$? ;ou are low with s"lit ei'hts or another low "air7 In the latter scenario8 you would sim"ly re!ert to se!en>card hi'h strate'y and "lay under"airs with a kicker hi'her than your o""onent9s u"card7 Three Little The three little cards com"onent of this conce"t is 6asically self>e "lanatory7 -ll three of your startin' cards need to 6e 6elow an ei'ht7 Howe!er8 Bust 6ecause all three are 6elow an ei'ht doesn9t mean it9s a "laya6le hand7 ;ou will usually need some ty"e of hi'h "otential to accom"any your low7 This leads to our ne t conce"t7 )ON)EPT .K ST-5TIN, LO+ H-N*S Three Suited (a6ies The mother of all low startin' hands is the three suited @6a6ies7A (a6ies8 for the "ur"ose of this section8 are aces throu'h ei'hts7 If your hand contains an ace or a three>strai'ht8 so much the 6etter7 This hand is only sur"assed in
$$1

!alue 6y a rolled>u" handD that is8 three of a kind7 +hen you ha!e three suited 6a6ies8 the more o""onents still in8 the 6etter7 If you are the first to enter the "ot8 raise as you normally would7 If it has already 6een raised and there are "layers 6ehind you8 Bust call:don9t shut out any customers7 If you are last to act with no "layers 6ehind you8 'o ahead and "ut in the e tra raise8 a mo!e that mi'ht dis'uise your hand to less e "erienced "layers7 More e "erienced "layers may "ut you on this hand8 so the e tra raise definitely has a draw6ack7 Play it 6y ear8 6ut when you are undecided on the correct "lay8 lean hea!ily toward raisin'7 No>,a""ers The ne t 6est startin' low hand is the three>strai'ht7 In this 'ame8 no>'a""ers are o6!iously the 6est o"tion 6ecause there are ei'ht "ossi6le cards that would 'i!e you an o"en>ended strai'ht draw to 'o with your low draw:in other words8 a monster7 These hands includeK />1>08 I>/>18 2>I>/8 .>2>I8 $>.> 28 and es"ecially ->$>.7 ;ou also ha!e ei'ht cards to 'i!e you a 'utshot to 'o with your low draw7 Not e actly a monster8 6ut not too sha66y8 either7 The I>/>1 and the />1>0 are es"ecially 'ood com6inations a'ainst strictly hi'h hands7 +ith the />1>08 you can catch a 4 or a 13 to im"ro!e your hand 6ut still kee" that new stren'th com"letely hidden from your o""onent7 The I>/>1 can also catch a 4 that will ne!er look like a 'ood card to your o""onent7 For e am"leK E am"le One ;ouK />1 I>.>4 Player OneK H>Q H>Q>4 In this e am"le8 Player One would most likely 6et out on fifth street8 thinkin' you cau'ht 6ad7 ;ou now ha!e an easy raise8 ha!in' ei'ht outs =four aces and four twos? to s"lit8 and ei'ht more outs =four fours and four ei'hts? to scoo" the whole "ot8 not once8 6ut twice:on si th street and the ri!er7 E am"le Two ;ouK />1 0>2>13 Player OneK H>Q H>Q>4 -'ain8 Player One will assume that the 13 was a 6ad card for you7 In reality8
$$0

you now ha!e two chances to hit twel!e outs for low and ei'ht outs to scoo" the whole "ot7 For you8 a raise is e!en easier in this situation since you ha!e four more outs for low than in the first e am"le7 Notice that you could also catch a 4 on fifth street with the same results7 One>,a""ers The ne t su6set of hands are the one>'a""ersK I>/>08 I>1>08 2>I>18 2>/>18 .>2> /8 .>I>/8 $>.>I8 $>2>I8 ->.>2 and ->$>27 E ce"t for the hands with an ace8 you can catch four cards that will 'i!e you an o"en>end strai'ht to 'o with your low draw7 -s with the no>'a""ers8 ei'ht cards will 'i!e you a 'utshot7 For instanceK E am"le One ;ouK .>I / Player OneK > 0 In this e am"le8 if Player One raised comin' in8 you would sim"ly want to call7 ,ranted8 if you and your o""onent are 6oth 'oin' low8 you ha!e the 6est low draw7 (ut if he has s"lit ei'hts or a 6uried o!er"air8 you would 6e well 6ehind in the hand7 -lso8 re'ardless of his holecards8 you can9t e!en 6eat the 0>hi'h7 If you catch an ace8 $8 28 or 1 on fourth street8 you9ll want to raise Player One8 re'ardless of what he catches:the one "ossi6le e ce"tion 6ein' if you cau'ht an ace and Player One 6reaks into o"en ei'hts7 If 6oth you and your o""onent catch 6ad8 you should call7 This is one of the rare situations in ei'ht>or>6etter where you could consider callin'8 e!en if you catch 6ad and your o""onent catches 'ood7 There are two reasons for thisK =1? O6!iously8 your o""onent can catch 6ad on fifth street while you catch 'ood8 makin' you the fa!orite to win the hand7 =$? E!en if he catches 'ood a'ain8 you can still hit si teen cards =an ace8 $8 28 or 1? to "ut you in 'ood sha"e a'ainst his two most likely hands:a made 0> low or a "air with an 0>low draw7 If he has an o!er"air in the hole that aren9t aces8 you9re in really 'ood sha"e7 If you hit 6ad a'ain on fifth street8 don9t e!en consider callin'8 re'ardless of what he catches7
$$4

Two>,a""ers and *ou6le>,a""ers The final su6sets are the two>'a""er and the dou6le>'a""er7 Two>'a""ers and dou6le>'a""ers are a6out the same in !alue7 The dou6le>'a""ers areK 0>1> 28 0>I>28 1>/>.8 1>2>.8 />I>$8 />.>$8 I>2>-8 and I>$>-7 The two>'a""ers are 0> />28 1>I>.8 />2>$8 and I>.>-7 These hands are fairly 'ood8 6ut the ones without an ace are still mar'inal7 ;ou should usually call one 6et on third street with the mar'inal ones8 6ut not two7 ;our strate'y would chan'e only if 6oth o""onents 'o hi'h8 or if one is hi'h the other has an 0>u"8 and you ha!e three cards smaller than the 07 The reason 6ein'K If you make your low8 it will "ro6a6ly 6eat his 0>low7 -lso8 althou'h it is fairly difficult to make strai'hts with these hands8 it9s not im"ossi6le7 (oth the two>'a""ers and dou6le>'a""ers ha!e twel!e cards to catch to "ick u" a low draw and ei'ht cards to "ick u" a 'utshot strai'ht draw to accom"any the low draw7 They need to de!elo" early in the hand8 es"ecially in multiway "ots7 Say you ha!e one of these hands in a multiway "ot and you only catch the low draw without the strai'ht7 If it a""ears that you ha!e the worst low8 don9t 'et stu66orn7 ,et out7 Here9s an e am"leK E am"le One ;ouK 0>2 1>$ Player OneK > />2 Player TwoK > Q>4 In this e am"le8 we should assume that Player Two has s"lit Jueens or some other hi'h hand7 -s you ha!e no hi'h "ossi6ilities8 you ha!e to fi'ht with Player One for the low7 -ssumin' Player One didn9t "air8 the only "ossi6le situation where you could ha!e the 6est low draw would 6e if Player One had e actly 1>0 in the hole8 which is hi'hly unlikely7 E!en if that were the case8 you would still only 'et the low a6out /3 "ercent of the time7 Most "layers will at least take one card here7 *on9t 6other:sa!e that e tra 6et7 It may not seem like much now8 6ut a few of these e "ert sa!es8 tacked on to the rest of your tally at the end of the ni'ht8 can turn a 6reak>e!en "lay into a nice win8 or kee" what would ha!e 6een a 6ad loss into a small one7 5emem6er8 e!ery 6et countsF -ce and Two (a6ies
$.3

Ne t in the hierarchy of startin' low hands is an ace with any other two low cards that won9t make a strai'ht7 This hand often will ha!e the 6est low draw8 with the added "otential of hittin' the ace at anytime throu'hout the hand7 It may not e!en 6e necessary to "air the ace a'ainst another low handD it may win you the hi'h all 6y itself7 For e am"leK E am"le One ;ouK ->. />1>2>4 H Player OneK .>/ 0>1>13>Q $ Notice that not only do you ha!e a 6oard lock on the low end8 6ut the ace> hi'h 'i!es you the 6est hi'h as well7 This results in a scoo"ed "ot:the two sweetest words in all of "oker8 alon' with @;ou win8A @I 'i!e8A @I missed8A and @That9s 'ood7A 5emem6er8 the ace with two 6a6ies that aren9t 6oth wheel cards can 6e a 'reat hand7 It should 6e "layed !ery a''ressi!ely early on7 ;ou don9t want any middle "airs han'in' around to steal your hi'h half of the "ot8 and if you ha!e the ace>u"8 you can 'et rid of e!en 6i' "airs ri'ht away7 )onsider this e am"leK E am"le Two ;ouK 2 >/ Player OneK I>/ 2 Player TwoK H>< H In this e am"le8 you can "ro6a6ly 'et the kin's to fold on third or fourth street if you catch 'ood7 The trick is to kee" the heat on7 5aise the 6et on third street or reraise if it 'ets com"leted in front of you7 (ut this is a tricky hand8 and 'ettin' rid of the kin's is only half the 6attle here7 ;ou still ha!e Player One to deal with:that9s the other half of the 6attle7 Now that you9re heads>u" with the 6est hi'h and the 6est low8 a scoo" looks easy7 (ut looks can 6e decei!in'7 If you make a low8 it will 6e 6est almost II "ercent of the time8 and Player One9s 2>I>/ will wind u" with the 6est hi'h a little o!er II "ercent of the time7 Net resultE The 2>I>/ is a6out a one "ercent o!erall fa!orite a'ainst the ->2>/7 I know this is hard to 6elie!e8 6ut it 'oes to show you the stren'th of the strai'ht "otential with a 2>I>/7 This shows that
$.1

you9re 6etter off 'ettin' 247I "ercent of a heads>u" "ot with some dead money in it8 than .$ "ercent of a three way "ot7 So try and 'et those kin's to foldF Hands with an 0 On a final note in this conce"t8 I9d like to touch on ei'hts8 6ecause you9re in Beo"ardy almost anytime you ha!e one in your hand7 This "oint is so com"le that )once"t 1$ is totally de!oted to it8 6ut I still wanted to touch on it here7 +hen you start with an 0:6e it in a strai'ht draw8 with an ace and another 6a6y8 or e!en when you ha!e the "ro!er6ial monster of three suited 6a6ies: your hand is almost always mar'inal7 This is true unless you are only u" a'ainst a hi'h hand7 5emem6er8 an 0 loses to all other low hands e ce"t other ei'hts7 If your 0 is the u"card in your startin' hand8 6e !ery careful7 ;ou mi'ht e!en want to fold on third street a'ainst a scary 6oard7 ;our o""onents mi'ht 6e a6le to force you out with a worse concealed 0 of their own8 knowin' that with an 0>u"8 you9!e 'ot your hands tied7 If your 0 is concealed8 your o""onents can9t see your weakness8 which will "ro6a6ly sto" them from Bammin' you out of the "ot7 I9m not su''estin' that you "ass all hands containin' an 07 <ust kee" these factors in mind and don9t 'et married to the hand7 These are mar'inal situations that take years of e "erience to handle correctly7 Now that we9!e co!ered all the low "laya6le hands8 let9s mo!e on to the hi'h hands7 )ON)EPT 2K THE N-LLE OF (I, P-I5S If you9!e e!er "layed se!en>card stud hi'h>low s"lit with no Jualifier8 you9re used to throwin' away 6i' "airs in almost any situation8 6ecause it9s nearly im"ossi6le to scoo" a "ot with these startin' hands7 )on!ersely8 in se!en> card stud hi'h>low with an ei'ht>or>6etter to Jualify8 these hands ha!e 'reat !alue7 +hyE Here9s the differenceK In ei'ht>or>6etter8 "layers must Jualify for low7 If your o""onent fails to do so8 your hi'h hand will scoo" the entire "ot7 +ith a Jualifier in "lay8 your o""onent can9t freeroll with his unmade hand7 For instanceK
$.$

E am"le One ;ouK .>2 />1><>Q Player OneK H>H 4>$>1>4 If you were "layin' without a Jualifier8 you would ha!e the low half locked u" with your Back>low:the 6est low hand Player One can make is a kin': and you would 6e freerollin' with your 'utshot7 Howe!er8 "layin' with a Jualifier for low8 you now ha!e to catch the I to hit your 'utshot for the scoo"8 or an ace8 $8 or 0 for a low7 ;ou 'o from a hu'e fa!orite to a hu'e do' as we shift 6etween the two different 'ames7 -ces O6!iously8 aces are the 6est "air to start with in any 'ame7 In s"lit 'ames8 aces ha!e the dou6le 6onus of 6ein' 6oth hi'h and low7 Therefore8 aces com6ined with a low card is a monster that ranks u" there with the three suited 6a6ies7 +hich hand is 6etter8 thou'h8 is a close call7 In a multiway "ot8 I9d take the three suited 6a6ies8 6ut in a heads>u" "ot8 the aces with a 6a6y is clearly the 6est hand you can ha!e other than a rolled>u" hand7 So8 how to "lay this monsterE Play it !ery strai'htforward7 5aise or reraise ri'ht away7 Make the scoo" much more likely for yourself 6y narrowin' the field7 In the "re!ious section8 I e "lained that it9s 6est to "lay your ace>u" with two 6a6ies in the hole !ery a''ressi!ely8 and this is whyK ;our o""onents will 6e confused 6y the way you "lay 6oth hands similarly7 -nd due to the dece"tion you used earlier8 they9ll often die with their kin's or Jueens7 -ces without a small kicker should 6e "layed in much the same way7 E ce"tions can 6e made or mi in' u" your "lay can 6e done after you9!e accumulated enou'h e "erience7 In the meantime8 you must know your o""onent and how he will "lay his hand7 *on9t 'et too tricky with 'ood "layers who will reco'ni%e what you are doin' and find a way to make your "lay come 6ack and 6ite you7 Here9s a "lay that should usually 6e used a'ainst no!ice or o!erly a''ressi!e "layersK If you ha!e s"lit aces and a 6i' card raises in front of you8 Bust call7 ;ou can also lim" in from early "osition if there aren9t too many low cards out7 -fter slow>"layin' on third street8 check>call if you catch hi'h8 6ut 6et
$..

out if you catch low7 This will 'i!e your o""onents the im"ression that you ha!e a strictly low hand7 Ho"efully you will catch hi'h on fifth street and can 'et in a check>raise7 (ut once you ha!e three low cards showin'8 the Bi' is u"7 Play the hand out accordin'ly8 6y sim"ly 6ettin' out the whole way7 -lmost no one will fall for a check>raise a'ainst an ace and two other low cards7 Other (i' Pairs -fter aces8 it9s all downhill from here7 Hin's and Jueens still ha!e !alue8 6ut much caution must 6e used when "layin' them7 If an ace raises in front of you8 muck them immediately7 ;es8 your o""onent mi'ht only ha!e two cards under an 0 to 'o with it8 6ut so whatE If he does ha!e the aces you9re screwed8 and e!en if he Bust has a low8 he can still hit the ace any time throu'hout the hand7 So kee" this in mindK +hen u" a'ainst an ace8 6i' "airs de'enerate into nearly worthless hands7 -lso8 they don9t "lay !ery well in multiway "ots7 Heads>u" a'ainst a smaller "air8 a low not containin' an ace8 or a strai'ht draw are the ideal situations8 which 6rin's us to our ne t conce"t7 )ON)EPT IK NENE5 H-NE THE SE)ON*>(EST HI,H H-N* I9!e already touched on this "oint8 6ut it is so im"ortant that you a!oid holdin' the second>6est hi'h hands8 that I wanted it to ha!e its own section7 -s I stated earlier8 don9t "lay under"airs without a real 'ood reasonD for e am"le8 a drunk is "layin' e!ery hand and raises with a kin' and you ha!e s"lit Backs with an ace7 This is still an iffy "ro"osition unless you can 'et it heads>u" 6etween the two of you7 -nother time you may want to "lay the second>6est "air is if it9s 6uried and you ha!e a 6i' card u"7 ;ou can "ro6a6ly scare the 6est hand out of the "ot and either win it ri'ht there8 or 'et heads>u" with a low draw7 E am"leK E am"le One ;ouK <>< H Player OneK > $ Player TwoK Q>4 Q In this e am"le8 Player One would 6rin' it in and Player Two would
$.2

"ro6a6ly raise7 - reraise would make Player Two think you had the 6est hand with s"lit kin's8 instead of the 6uried Backs you actually ha!e7 Player Two would now almost certainly fold7 ;ou used the "ower of your u"card alon' with a little dece"tion to 6luff out the 6est hand7 Other hi'h hands that aren9t too 'ood are three>flushes without little cards and three 6i' connected cards7 These are 'reat hands in stud8 6ut in ei'ht>or> 6etterE For'et a6out it7 )ON)EPT /K MIS)ELL-NEOLS ST-5TIN, H-N*S +e9!e co!ered the hi'h and the low startin' handsD now let9s discuss hands that ha!e !alue in 6oth directions8 s"ecifically small "airs with ace kickers8 small "airs with 6a6y kickers8 and three>flushes with two 6a6ies7 Small Pairs with -ce Hickers I know I9!e said o!er and o!er that you should ne!er ha!e the second>6est hi'h hand8 6ut I also said that there are e ce"tions to rules8 and this is one of them7 - "air 6elow ei'hts with an ace kicker has a lot of !alue a'ainst a 6i' "air other than aces8 and it also has the added !alue of its two low cards7 If heads>u" a'ainst a 6i' "air8 this hand should 6e "layed out until the end8 unless your o""onent9s 6oard 'ets real scary8 that is8 he "airs his doorcard7 If you catch small8 there9s a 'ood chance that you will 'et a free card or two alon' the wayD take them8 and don9t 6other tryin' to 6luff until you make somethin' here7 If there is a hitchhiker in the "ot who is 'oin' low8 6eware7 ;ou9re now second 6est in 6oth directions7 Nery dan'erousF If you and the hitchhiker 6oth catch 'ood8 "roceed with caution7 If you catch 'ood and he catches 6ad8 'et rid of him if you can7 If he catches 'ood and you catch 6ad8 take an early out 8 or @E7O78A in dealer lin'o7 Throw your hand away 6efore you 'et "ut in the middle7 If you call on fourth street8 you9ll almost certainly 6e in that !ulnera6le "osition7 Small Pairs with a (a6y Hicker - small "air with a 6a6y kicker is a much more mar'inal hand7 Prefera6ly8
$.I

you9ll want a two>strai'ht with your "air8 and you9ll need to catch 'ood here ri'ht away8 no matter what the circumstances7 - "ossi6le e ce"tion would come into "lay if you were heads>u" a'ainst another low card and you 6oth cau'ht 6ad7 (y catchin' 6ad8 I mean a 4 or hi'her7 If you9re lucky enou'h to hit an ace ri'ht off8 "lay it a''ressi!ely7 If you9re e!en luckier and make tri"s ri'ht away8 6et out8 and if you then catch 6ad on fifth or si th street8 'o for the check>raise7 *on9t 'et stu66orn with this mar'inal hand7 *on9t e!en "lay it if you don9t think you can "ass or take your free cards when a""ro"riate7 Three>Flush with Two (a6ies Finally8 there is the three>flush with two 6a6ies7 If your u"card is a 48 138 or Back and a 6i''er card raises8 you9ll "ro6a6ly want to "ass immediately7 ;our hand will 6e too o6!ious to your o""onents8 and you9re less likely 'et "aid off if you make your hand7 +hen you ha!e the three>flush with the 6i''est card u"8 "lay it a''ressi!ely8 re"resentin' that "air7 ;ou9ll 'i!e yourself an e tra chance to win if your o""onents catch 6ad or make small "airs7 -lso8 when you wind u" makin' a low8 no one will sus"ect it7 E am"leK E am"le One ;ouK $E .E HE IE /E QE 0E Player OneK 2E 1E 0E IE 13E /E <E If you came into the "ot with a dou6le raise on third street8 Player One will ne!er 'i!e you credit for a three>flush7 ;our hand is so well dis'uised that Player One can9t hel" 6ut lose many e tra 6ets with his 0>hi'h strai'ht7 Now8 if you start your three>flush with a low card and not>so>low card 6uried and a low card u"8 your "lay should 6e much sim"ler7 *on9t try to 'et fancy here8 Bust make it look like any other low7 ;ou mi'ht e!en im"ro!e into a flush draw and 6e forced to fold with this kind of hand7 Here9s an e am"leK E am"le Two ;ouK .E <E IE QE 4E Player OneK > /E $E IE Player TwoK > HE -E 0E In this hand8 Player Two will most likely 6et7 ;ou would call here and hold your 6reath8 ho"in' Player One "aired alon' the way and won9t raise7 If he
$./

does raise8 Player Two will certainly reraise8 and you9ll ha!e no choice 6ut to fold8 knowin' Player One either made his low or is re"resentin' that he did7 This is another time when my Platinum 5ule comes into "layK Ne!er "lay for half7 If you still don9t understand the Platinum 5ule this "erfectly illustrates its im"ortance7 The low half is already 'one and you are an underdo' to 'et the hi'h half7 +ould you like to draw to a flush under these circumstancesE If you answered yes8 "lease come find me in the to" section of the (ella'io and sit in my 'ame7 Three>Strai'ht with a 4>Hi'h I9m 'oin' to include one more scenario that rarely arises7 Say you ha!e the lowest card and you ha!e a three>strai'ht with a 4 and two other cards 0 or 6elow8 such as 1>0>48 />1>48 />0>48 or e!en I>/>47 These hands are only "laya6le a'ainst hi'h hands without low "ossi6ilities7 +hile these hands are usually un"rofita6le in strai'ht>hi'h se!en>card stud8 the chances of 6ackin' into a low and sal!a'in' half the "ot make them worthwhile in ei'ht>or> 6etter7 Ne!er 'et in!ol!ed with these a'ainst a 6a6y7 Now that we9!e co!ered startin' hands8 let9s mo!e on to how you9ll want to "lay them on later rounds7 )ON)EPT 1K PL-;IN, (I, P-I5S -'ainst One O""onent +hen "layin' a 6i' "air8 you will usually 6e the only "layer 'oin' hi'h and will 6e u" a'ainst either one or more low hands7 Let9s start with the sin'le o""onent 'oin' low7 +hen "layin' a 6i' "air a'ainst one "layer who starts with a 6a6y8 you should check if he catches another low card that can 'i!e him a strai'ht or a flush draw7 If he 6ets8 only call himD 6ut if he catches a 6i' card:a 4 throu'h kin'8 or another low card with many 'a"s:you should 6et7 E am"le One ;ouK H>13 H>/
$.1

Player OneK > 0>. offsuit ;ou should 'o ahead and 6et in this situation7 -lthou'h Player One has "ro6a6ly "icked u" a low draw8 his 6oard is !ery weak for hi'h7 Make him "ay to draw7 -lso8 the three mi'ht ha!e "aired Player One8 in which case he has few low "ossi6ilities and a much worse hi'h hand than you7 On fifth street8 check>call if Player One catches a third 6a6y and 6et if he catches 6i'7 E am"le Two ;ouK H>13 H>/ Player OneK > 2>I offsuit Lnlike the first scenario8 you should definitely check when faced with this situation7 The reason for the check is that Player One easily could ha!e "icked u" a strai'ht draw as well as a low draw8 makin' him the fa!orite7 call is still definitely warranted8 howe!er7 5emem6er8 he may ha!e "aired or started with a "air or three>flush7 -s in the "re!ious e am"le8 check>call on fifth street if Player One catches a third 6a6y and 6et if he catches 6i'7 E am"le Three ;ouK H>13 H>/ Player OneK > $>1 suited E am"le Three is not as clear cut as the first two8 6ut a check is still the 6est o"tion7 Player One will almost always 6et when checked to8 so the street 'ets 6et anyway and a small amount of dece"tion is 'ained 6y your check7 If Player One did "air se!ens on fourth street8 then catches 6ad on fifth8 he may call you down with his se!ens 6ecause of your check on fourth street7 -lso8 in E am"le Three8 if Player One started with the mother of all low hands8 three suited 6a6ies8 you are a monster do'7 E!en if your o""onent has only three suited cards8 6ecause of his low draw8 he still has a 6i' ad!anta'e o!er you7 Play conser!ati!ely here and check>call7 Once a'ain8 if Player One catches a third 6a6y on fifth street8 check>call8 and if he catches 6i'8 6et7 Howe!er8 if Player One catches a 6i' card that is suited to his first two8 you should definitely check here7 ;ou can call8 6ut if your o""onent catches another suited card on si th street8 you9ll "ro6a6ly ha!e to fold:unless you
$.0

ha!e two "air7 If Player One catches another low on si th street that is offsuit8 you should use a cryin' call here and on the end7 If Player One catches another suited 6a6y card8 you should fold and run screamin' from the ta6le7 *isre'ardin' the suits8 if Player One makes four o"en 6a6ies in any of these e am"les8 it9s "ro6a6ly 6est to fold a "air of kin's7 5emem6er8 it9s 'oin' to cost two 6i' 6ets to see the hand out8 not Bust the one "ut in on si th street7 If you ha!e im"ro!ed to tri"s or kin's>u"8 you will Bust ha!e to hold your 6reath and check>call on si th and se!enth streets8 ho"in' for the 6est7 ;ou9re not 6reakin' the Platinum 5ule here 6ecause at this "oint8 the 6est is still a scoo"8 as Player One could ha!e made two "air and missed his low8 or he could ha!e started with a 6uried "air or a three>flush7 -'ainst Multi"le O""onents Let9s mo!e on to the second and trickier half of this conce"tK Playin' the 6i' "air a'ainst multi"le o""onents 'oin' low7 +hen holdin' a hi'h "air a'ainst multi"le o""onents 'oin' low8 don9t "ut e tra 6ets in on third street unless you feel that you can narrow the field 6y doin' so7 +ait until fourth street8 when some "eo"le catch 6ad8 to "ut the "ressure on7 E am"le One ;ouK H>4 H Player OneK > 2 Player TwoK > / Player ThreeK > $ Let9s say that in E am"le One8 you com"lete the 6et and are raised 6y Player One8 only to 6e called 6y Players Two and Three7 -s I stated earlier8 you should Bust call here and see what de!elo"s7 Now let9s say the ne t round of cards looks like thisK ;ouK H>4 H>13 Player OneK > 2>1 Player TwoK > />< Player ThreeK > $><
$.4

Now is the time to weed out the field7 (et out8 knowin' that Player One will raise you7 If Player Two or Three is stu66orn enou'h to call the dou6le 6et here8 'o ahead and really "unish them with another raise and make them "ay to draw7 It will rarely ha""en that "layers catch 6ad and call multi"le 6ets once an o""onent catches 'ood8 6ut e!en a so>called e "ert recently wrote that he would call a ca" with ->$>. on fourth street in this s"ot after he cau'ht a 6i' card7 That9s a terri6le mo!e 6ecause that "layer would then ha!e the worst hi'h and the worst low7 )allin' would 6e suicidal7 Now8 let9s say the hand de!elo"s as follows insteadK ;ouK H>4 H>13 Player OneK > 2>1 Player TwoK > />I Player ThreeK > $>I Proceed with e treme caution7 )heck8 and if it9s two 6ets 6ack to you8 'et out early and sa!e those 6ets7 E!en for one 6et you may want to concede the hand here and now8 rather than 'ettin' sucked down the tu6e7 5emem6er8 6i' "airs "lay well a'ainst one low hand 6ut "oorly a'ainst multi"le low hands7 This 6asically sums u" conce"t se!en 6ut I want to touch on one other situation 6riefly7 +hat do you do when you "ick u" a hitchhiker who is also 'oin' hi'h when you ha!e the 6i' "airE E am"le Two ;ouK Q>1 Q Player OneK > 2 Player TwoK > < The first thin' you need to ask yourself is8 what kind of "layer is your o""onentE +ould he "lay two Backs hereE +ould he "lay a three>flush hereE Ho"efully for your sake8 the answer to either of these Juestions would 6e yes7 (ut if I ha""en to 6e Player Two8 the answer is no8 and you are in for a world of hurt7 I may ha!e an ace>6a6y suited8 6ut chances are I ha!e a concealed hi'h hand7 -'ain8 in this situation8 you should fold and run screamin' from the ta6le7 This leads us into our ne t conce"t7
$23

)ON)EPT 0K PL-;IN, - )ON)E-LE* HI,H H-N* +hen you "lay a concealed hi'h hand such as rolled>u" tri"s8 6uried aces8 or a 6uried "air 6i''er than anyone else9s u"card8 "lay your hand accordin' to what your u"card re"resents7 In other wordsK =1? If you ha!e a hi'h card8 raise as you normally would with a 6i' "air7 =$? If you start with a middle card8 raise7 If a 6i''er card reraises you8 Bust call until you 'et to 6i''er 6ettin' on future streets7 =.? If you catch low8 re"resent a low hand and "lay accordin'ly7 If heads>u" a'ainst a hi'h hand8 you mi'ht 6e lucky enou'h to catch 6ad on fifth street7 This will allow you to raise and 'et a dou6le 6et in on a 6i' 6et street7 =2? If you catch what a""ears to 6e a 6ad card in a multiway "ot8 allow yourself to 6e "ut in the middle8 ne!er showin' stren'th8 which would ti" your hand7 If you are fortunate enou'h to start with a rolled>u" hand and make Juads on fourth street8 remem6er thisK In se!en>card stud>hi'h8 you should almost always check this hand on fourth street7 No matter how o6!ious it may seem8 you want to 'i!e your o""onent a chance to make somethin' or some kind of draw to call you with7 )on!ersely8 in stud ei'ht>or>6etter8 you want to 6et out ri'ht away8 no matter what7 If your o""onent is 'oin' low8 6et whether he catches 'ood or not7 Make him "ay to draw to his low8 es"ecially if he9s tryin' to 6ackdoor it7 -lso8 e!en if it a""ears he is 'oin' low8 he may also ha!e a concealed hi'h hand and mi'ht 6e a6le to continue7 )ON)EPT 4K *ISPELLIN, LON,>HEL* MIS)ON)EPTION This is an e tremely im"ortant conce"t8 not Bust in ei'ht>or>6etter8 6ut in almost all forms of stud7 )urious yetE Okay8 let me 6reak it down for you7 ;ou9re "layin' in an ei'ht>handed stud 'ame and a !ery ti'ht "layer raises with an ace>u"7 Since your such a 'ood "layer8 you throw away s"lit kin's7
$21

Now say the same scenario arises a'ain8 only this time two "layers ha!e aces showin' after three cards7 The same "layer raises8 and then you reraise him8 knowin' it9s less likely anyone can ha!e aces since you9re lookin' at two of them7 Smart8 ri'htE +ron'7 +hile an ace is 'one8 makin' it less likely a sin'le "layer would hold aces8 the fact that you9re u" a'ainst two "layers showin' an ace makes it more likely that you9ll 6e facin' aces in at least one s"ot7 Still confusedE Let me 6reak it down further7 Situation One One o""onent has an ace>u"7 +hat are the chances he has s"lit aces or rolled> u" acesE +e multi"ly three unaccounted for aces 6y .4 other unknown cards and 'et 111 com6inations of holecards that include a sin'le ace7 . .4 Z 111 There are also three com6inations "ossi6le in which one of your o""onents has two aces in the hole for tri" aces7 =. $? # =$ 1? Z . That makes 1$3 total com6inations that 'i!e your o""onent aces or 6etter =111X.?7 There are 0/1 total com6inations of cards =2$ unknown cards 21 still unknown cards di!ided 6y $? that your o""onent could ha!e in the hole7 So the "layer with an ace u" has aces or 6etter 1$3 out of 0/1 times8 1.742 "ercent of the time8 meanin' he is a /710 to 1 underdo'7 Situation Two Two o""onents ha!e an ace>u"7 How often will one ha!e aces or 6etterE Now we ha!e four holecards 6etween the two "layers7 Let9s calculate 6y multi"lyin' the num6er of unknown cards remainin' as each card 'ets remo!ed in order to deri!e the total num6er of holecard com6inations7 2$ 21 23 .4 Z $8/0/8.$3 +e di!ide the total num6er of unknown cards 6y $2 holecard com6inations =2 "ossi6le first cards . "ossi6le second cards $ "ossi6le third cards 1 "ossi6le fourth card? to eliminate the "ossi6ility of countin' the same hand more than once when the cards are in a different order7 This lea!es 11184.3 com6inations of 6uried cards that your o""onents could ha!e7
$2$

$8/0/8.$3 # $2 Z 11184.3 Lsin' the same formula8 we can calculate the num6er of scenarios in which e actly one of the four o""osin' holecards will 6e an ace7 Multi"ly the num6er of non>aces amon' the unknown cards8 238 6y .4 and .08 then di!ide that num6er 6y / =. $ 1? to eliminate the "ossi6ility of countin' differently ordered 6ut eJual hands twice8 and you 'et 1481/3 com6inations of one ace and three non>aces amon' the four o""osin' holecards7 To determine how many com6inations e ist in which two of the holecards will 6e aces8 multi"ly the com6ination of 6oth remainin' aces8 18 6y the num6er of com6inations of two non>ace cards amon' 23 unknown non>aces8 which is 1I/3 =23 .4?7 Then di!ide that 6y $ =$ "ossi6le first cards 1 "ossi6le second card? to 'et 103 com6inations of two aces and two non>aces amon' the four o""osin' holecards7 That makes a total of $38I23 com6inations =1481/3 X 103? out of 11184.3 total in which you9ll 6e facin' at least a "air of aces from your o""onents9 hands7 This means you9ll 6um" u" a'ainst aces or 6etter 107.I "ercent of the time7 It9s only 27II to 1 a'ainst that ha""enin'8 makin' the threat 'reater than when you face a sin'le ace7 Okay8 enou'h with this com"licated stuff8 Bust remem6erK If there are two aces out8 it is a6out $2 "ercent more likely that someone has s"lit or rolled u" aces than if there is only one ace>u"7 )ON)EPT 13K 5E)O,NIWIN, THE NLT LO+ In all forms of "oker8 es"ecially in ei'ht>or>6etter8 it is !ery im"ortant to know when you ha!e a 6oard lock8 meanin' that it is im"ossi6le for any o""onent to ha!e your hand 6eat at that "oint7 ;ou don9t want to 6e raised out of a "ot when you ha!e a 6oard lock7 Let9s look at an e am"le =all hands offsuit?K E am"le One ;ouK ->2 $>I>1
$2.

Player OneK > 1>/>$ Player TwoK H>H 2>4>H ;ou ha!e a 6oard lock for low with your 1>I low and8 as no one has a strai'ht or flush "ossi6le8 Player Two has a 6oard lock for hi'h7 -'ain8 it9s im"erati!e to reco'ni%e when you ha!e the 6est "ossi6le hand8 whiche!er direction you are 'oin'7 ;ou o6!iously don9t want to 6e raised out with the 6est hand8 and you don9t want to miss any 6ets either7 I9ll add that Bust 6ecause you ha!e a 6oard lock doesn9t mean you should kee" raisin' as you may still 6e a do' if all the cards aren9t yet out8 e!en if you ha!e the nuts at the time7 E am"le Two ;ouK 0>1 />$>. Player OneK ->$ .>2>13 Player TwoK H>Q H><>< Notice that Player One has a 13>u" and would need another low card to form an 0>or>6etter low7 ;ou ha!e a low already made8 meanin' you ha!e a 6oard lock7 Should you kee" raisin' hereE -6solutely not7 ;ou must hit runner> runner in order to make a hi'h =a6out $3 to 1 a'ainst?8 and you are actually a do' on the low side 6y a few "ercenta'e "oints7 Of course8 you don9t know that he has "erfect low cards 6uried8 6ut he9s most likely drawin' 6etter than you are8 so don9t "ush it8 6ecause you9re most likely "layin' for only half the "ot7 ;ou would e!en fold if you could see his holecards7 Naluin' a Low6all Hand The "ro"er way to !alue a low6all hand is from the weakest cards8 not the stron'est7 For e am"le8 an ine "erienced "layer mi'ht not know that .>2>I>/> 0 6eats ->$>.>1>0 6ecause he mi'ht start countin' from the 6ottom of the hand8 .>2 or ->$8 instead of the to"8 0>/ or 0>17 (ut as you and I know8 the 0> / hand is o6!iously a 6etter low than the 0>17 Similarly8 a 1>/>I>2>-8 a 1>/ hand8 o6!iously would 6e 6etter than an 0>2>.>$>-8 an 0>2 hand7 Notice that the hands are referred to 6y their two weakest cards7 -n ->$>2>/>1 would 6e called a 1>/ hand8 as would a $>.>2>/>17 (ut weaker "layers mi'ht not know ri'ht away that8 in a showdown8 'i!en that the worst three cards8 the 18 /8 and
$22

28 are all identical8 the first hand would win since the $ is lower than the .7 -lthou'h it may seem unnecessary to most readers with a 6ack'round "layin' ace>to>fi!e low6all8 I want to take time out to make sure e!eryone is so comforta6le with the low hand !alues that they don9t ha!e to 'i!e it a second thou'ht at the ta6le7 To do this8 I created the followin' chart to show the rankin' of all the Jualifyin' low6all hands7 The chart reads from to" to 6ottom8 left to ri'ht8 from the weakest low hand =the 0>1>/>I>2? to the stron'est =I>2>.>$>-8 the wheel?7 ;ou can use this chart to hel" you reco'ni%e when you hold the 6est low "ossi6le8 'i!en the cards that are in "lay7 Playin' the Second>(est Low Hand -lthou'h ha!in' the second 6est low hand is not a s"ot you want to 6e in8 it is sometimes una!oida6le7 This is nowhere near as 6ad as ha!in' the second> 6est hi'h hand7 +hyE First of all8 you9ll often know for certain when a "layer is 'oin' hi'h7 For instance8 if an o""onent with a kin'>u" raises into multi"le o""onents on third street8 he9s definitely tellin' you that he9s 'oin' hi'h7 On the other hand8 when that same "layer raises into multi"le o""onents on third street with a .>u" instead of a kin'8 he may 6e rolled u" or may ha!e a 6i' "air in the hole7 Then a'ain8 he may not7 In the former situation8 you know for sure which way your o""onent is 'oin'D in the latter you don9t7 ;ou can9t sim"ly muck all your low hands for fear of 6ein' u" a'ainst a 6etter low7 That9s es"ecially true when you may 6e the only one that9s actually 'oin' low7 -lso8 Bust 6ecause you9re 'oin' low8 that doesn9t mean you mi'ht not wind u" with the hi'h end of the "ot7 It9s much easier to im"ro!e your low hand into a hi'h hand than !ice !ersa7 Take H>H>2 for e am"le7 +ith this startin' hand8 you must catch four runners to make a low7 Meanwhile a hand like I>/>1 o6!iously has 'reat low "otential7 The difference 6etween the two hands is that the I>/>1 can easily de!elo" into a hi'h hand 6y makin' either a strai'ht8 two "air8 or "ossi6ly e!en a flush:ena6lin' it to scoo" the entire "otF Here are some more e am"les to dri!e the "oint home7
$2I

E am"le One ;ouK I>/ 1 Player OneK H>H . Player TwoK H>< H Here8 Player Two comes in for a raise8 you call8 and Player One reraises7 +hile this looks scary from the outside8 this is actually one of the 6est s"ots you can e!er occu"y in ei'ht>or>6etter7 +hile another "layer has a low card u"8 you are actually u" a'ainst two "layers 6oth 'oin' hi'h7 E am"le Two ;ouK I>/ 1 Player OneK 0>I . all suited Player TwoK H>< H In this e am"le8 the action comes down the same way and a'ain you fear you ha!e the worst low7 (ut once a'ain8 you are in 'ood sha"e7 +hile Player One is also 'oin' low8 he isn9t raisin' on the "ower of his low draw 6ut on his two>way draw7 ;ou ha!e the 6est low draw alon' with some "retty 'ood "otential for hi'h7 E am"le Three ;ouK I>/ 1 Player OneK ->$ . Player TwoK H>< H +hile in the first two e am"les you were in 'ood sha"e8 in E am"le Three you are u" a'ainst it7 (ut e!en thou'h you ha!e the worst hi'h and low draws8 you can still draw out in either8 or 6oth8 directions7 Part of the 6eauty of "oker is that the 6est hand at the outset doesn9t always win7 If it did8 I would 6e sittin' 6y myself u" in the (ella'io "oker room instead of 6ein' swam"ed with customers7 Try not to make ha!in' the worst low hand or draw a ha6it7 On the contrary8 try to 6e drawin' 6etter than your o""onents the maBority of the time7 <ust kee" in mind that this is not always "ossi6le8 and remem6er that you can9t "lay "oker scared7 -''ressi!e usually8 cautious sometimes8 scared ne!erF
$2/

Let9s look at one more e am"leK E am"le Four ;ouK $>2 1>I Player OneK > H>Q Player TwoK > $>. In this situation8 you may think you are drawin' to the second>6est low8 and you "ro6a6ly are7 -lthou'h you mi'ht 6e tem"ted to fold8 you shouldn9t7 ;ou should take a card here7 ;our hand still has strai'ht "otential and you may out>draw him for low anyway7 -n ace will 'i!e you a !ery 'ood low and a . or a / will 'i!e you a decent low with a 'utshot strai'ht draw for dessert7 Player Two may also ha!e an 0 or a worse 1 =1>/? in the hole8 so kee" the faith7 )ON)EPT 11K PL-;IN, LO+ H-N*S In ei'ht>or>6etter8 how low hands are "layed is much of what se"arates the e "erts from the merely 'ood "layers7 Much of ei'ht>or>6etter is fairly o6!ious to an e "erienced "layer8 and many of the situations that call for the e "ert "lays I9!e co!ered8 and will co!er later8 rarely arise7 )on!ersely8 low hands will 6e a constant "art of your 'ame8 forcin' you into decision after decision7 Let9s start off 6y addressin' how to "lay these hands as they de!elo"7 *on9t make a ha6it of Bammin' it or "uttin' e tra money in the "ot with mere low hands on third street7 )om"lete the 6et or Bust call if someone has already done so in front of you7 Hands such as ->$>/ or $>.>2 are fine startin' hands and can de!elo" into monsters8 6ut much of the time you will sim"ly catch 6ad and ha!e to fold7 If you do catch 6ad on fourth8 should you call and see fifth streetE This de"ends on your o""onents9 6oards8 your "osition8 and how many 6ets went in on third street7 The followin' e am"les illustrate the im"ortance of "osition and your o""onents9 6oardsK E am"le One ;ouK .>2 I><
$21

Player OneK > />1 Player TwoK > H>4 In e am"le one8 you must definitely fold ri'ht away8 e!en if you "ut two 6ets in on third street7 The reason for this is that if you call Player Two9s 6et8 Player One will definitely raise7 Then Player Two will raise a'ain "uttin' you in the middle and forcin' you to call at least two8 and "ro6a6ly four more 6ets to stay in the hand7 ;ou will almost certainly 'et Bammed out of the "ot if you call8 so sa!e that 6et7 E am"le Two ;ouK .>2 I>< Player OneK > />Q Player TwoK > H>4 )an you 'uess what the action will 6e in E am"le TwoE E!en if Player Two were Ste!ie +onder8 he would still 6et out into these two 6oards7 )all8 cross your fin'ers8 and say a Juick "rayer7 -'ain8 you must catch 'ood immediately to continue with the hand7 If not8 ditch it7 ,ettin' Quartered For Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter "layers startin' to "lay stud ei'ht>or>6etter8 remem6er thisK In Omaha8 'ettin' Juartered is a !ery real fear8 e!en when you ha!e the nuts7 - "ot 'ets Juartered when one "layer has the hi'h and two "layers ha!e the same low8 or !ice !ersa7 +hen this ha""ens8 the two "layers with the same hands:usually the low hands:wind u" with only one Juarter of the "ot and actually lose money if they are two of the only three still in7 In Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 'ettin' Juartered ha""ens a lot8 e!en when you ha!e the nuts8 6ecause "layers 'et to "lay two cards out of the four in their hands and share three of the fi!e community cards7 This makes it considera6ly more likely that two "layers will wind u" with the same hand7 (ut in stud ei'ht>or>6etter8 this almost ne!er ha""ens8 6ecause you ha!e to "lay fi!e cards out of your hand and you share none7 Therefore8 when you ha!e a 6oard lock in stud ei'ht>or>6etter8 'o ahead and ca" it on the end8 don9t sto" raisin' as you would in Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter7 For e am"leK E am"le One
$20

;ouK ->$ I>1>0>Q . Player OneK > />1>0>Q Player TwoK > ->0>H>4 Okay8 here you ha!e a 1>I8 un6eata6le a'ainst these two 6oards7 The 6est Player One could ha!e is a 1>/ low and the 6est Player Two could ho"e to muster is an ei'ht "erfect =0>2>.>$>-? not 'ood enou'h8 unfortunately for your o""onents7 Hee" the "ressure on here7 5aise and reraise until the cows come home7 -lthou'h you can9t scoo"8 you ha!e half locked u" for sure7 There are times8 howe!er8 when should not raise e!en when you o6!iously ha!e the 6est low draw7 There are two reasonsK =1? ;ou don9t want to knock any6ody out7 ;ou want full !alue7 =$? If you miss8 you wind u" with nothin' anyway7 ;ou lose the minimum as well as dis'uise the true stren'th of your hand7 Let9s look at an e am"le that illustrates these "ointsK E am"le Two ;ouK $>. I>/ Player OneK > H>Q Player TwoK > ->1 In this e am"le8 you ha!e a multiway "ot with only a low draw and a 'utshot strai'ht draw for hi'h7 ;ou want to make sure it stays a multiway "ot8 so don9t raise the o6!ious hi'h hand out of the "ot7 +hen Player Two 6ets out8 Bust call him7 ;ou will accom"lish little 6y knockin' out Player One8 as Player Two has you 6eat for the hi'h hand ri'ht now anyway7 If you are lucky enou'h to com"lete your strai'ht8 you9ll want as many !ictims in there as "ossi6le8 so let him li!e7 If you raise Player One out8 there are times when you will 'et scoo"ed instead of winnin' the hi'h with a small "air7 +hen this ha""ens8 take a dee" 6reath and take solace in the fact that you "layed your hand correctly7 ;ou don9t ha!e to win all the 6attles8 Bust the war7 )ON)EPT 1$K (E+-5E THE 0 +hen "layin' your low hands8 6e e tremely careful any time you9re drawin' to an 0 and other o""onents are 'oin' low7 In fact8 unless you ha!e a strai'ht
$24

or flush draw8 or an ace in your hand to 'o alon' with the 08 you shouldn9t e!en 6e in the hand to 6e'in with7 Hands like $>.>0 mi'ht look 'ood8 6ut ask yourself8 @+hat am I ho"in' to make with this handEA 5emem6er the Platinum 5uleF E!en when you ha!e the strai'ht "otential8 whate!er low you end u" with won9t 6e !ery 'ood7 Here9s an e am"leK E am"le One ;ouK 0>$>13 1>2>.>13 Player OneK 2>I>< $>/>Q>1 Player TwoK $>0>- ->.>/>4 This is what you can e "ect to ha""en when you "lay these hands7 Since you9re drawin' to the worst low8 you9ll "ro6a6ly wind u" with the worst low7 ;ou started with no hi'h "otential8 so you 'ot what you deser!ed7 Hands such as $>.>08 $>2>08 $>I>08 $>/>08 $>1>08 .>2>08 .>I>08 .>/>08 and .>1>0 are all un"laya6le unless you9re in a multiway "ot a'ainst strictly hi'h hands7 -lthou'h they ha!e no ei'hts8 $>.>18 $>2>18 $>I>18 and $>/>1 are usually un"rofita6le8 e!en when you are the low card or 6rin'>in7 *on9t fall into the tra" of "layin' mediocre one>way hands7 +ould you 6uy a 6usiness that was losin' money and had little "otential to chan'e thatE Of course not7 E!en if you 'ot a chea" "rice on it8 it would still 6e a losin' "ro"osition7 It9s the same when you are the 6rin'>inK <ust 6ecause you can 6uy this lemon of a hand at a discounted rate8 don9t fall for it7 *od'e the tra" and sa!e your money7 Here9s an e am"leK E am"le Two ;ouK 0>2 $>/>4>< I Player OneK H>/ H><>/>$ 4 Let9s say you are the low card and ha!e to 6rin' it in7 ;ou did mana'e to 'et your money 6ack8 so it was worth it8 ri'htE I ho"e you said @+ron'7A If not8 reread this cha"ter8 then take a fi!e>minute time out in the corner and think a6out your answer7 +hy were you wron' for chasin'E ;ou had to call the com"letion of the 6et on third street8 a small 6et on fourth8 and 6i' 6ets on fifth and si th to make your low7 +hat did you accom"lish 6y takin' all this heatE ;ou 'ot your
$I3

money 6ack8 almost all of which you could ha!e ke"t anyway:and half the antes and half the 6rin'>in:at no risk8 6y muckin' your hand on third street7 That means that in a C$33#C233 'ame8 you risked C181I3 to win a "rofit of C$$I7 -nd you were an underdo' to 'et that7 In many "oker 'ames8 you sometimes ha!e to take a stand7 Ei'ht>or>6etter is not one of those 'ames7 If you like to 'et stu66orn8 stick to limit hold9em or stud hi'h7 ei'ht>or>6etter is a 'ame of disci"line and "atience7 )ON)EPT 1.K HEEPIN, T5-)H OF THE LP)-5*S Hee"in' track of the u"cards is im"ortant in all !ariations of se!en>card stud8 6ut it is im"erati!e in ei'ht>or>6etter:es"ecially when it comes to the 6a6ies7 If you are 'oin' hi'h and there are a lot of low cards out8 you know it will 6e more difficult for an o""onent to com"lete his low draw7 Likewise8 if he were showin' three clu6s8 you need not worry nearly as much if three or four clu6s were seen in other "layers9 hands on third street7 It9s 6est to remem6er each card 6y suit8 6ut if you can9t8 try to remem6er all the low cards as well as any du"licates in other "eo"le9s hands and whether there are many cards of one suit out7 L"cards and Hand 5eadin' One of the 6eauties of any stud 'ame is that you can 'et an idea of your o""onent9s hand 6y his u"cards7 In ei'ht>or>6etter8 you can usually tell who9s 'oin' hi'h and who9s 'oin' low and make your "lays accordin'ly7 Hee" in mind that low hands can de!elo" into hi'h hands and8 to a lesser e tent8 !ice !ersa7 Take this situation8 for e am"leK E am"le One ;ouK 1E /E IE 0E QE <E $E Player OneK $E -E HE <E IE 1E 2E Notice that Player One started with a 6i' card u"8 cau'ht a card suited to his first card8 and then followed that with two 6a6ies7 This is a !ery dece"ti!e
$I1

hand7 It looks like he is strictly hi'h 6ut he wound u" with a decent low8 and actually scoo"s you7 These situations are rare8 6ut they do occur8 so kee" them in mind7 5emem6er that the cards you9!e seen will hel" you deci"her your o""onent9s hand7 The followin' scenarios8 thou'h8 are much more commonK E am"le Two ;ouK .>2 1>I>H>. I Player OneK Q>1 Q>$>13>2 4 E am"le Three ;ouK .>2 />$><>4 I Player OneK Q>1 Q>$>13>4 4 In E am"le two8 you started out 'oin' low only to stum6le into two "air8 winnin' yourself the "ot8 as Player One failed to im"ro!e his "air of Jueens7 In E am"le three8 Player One im"ro!es to two "air8 only to lose to your strai'ht7 This is why it9s usually correct to check your hi'h hand on the end a'ainst a "layer 'oin' low7 If he missed e!erythin'8 you won9t 'et "aid anyway7 If he has a small "air8 he will most likely fold7 If he made a low8 you won9t win anythin' anyway8 and if he made a hi'h that 6eats you8 you9ll lose it all7 Lastly8 if you each made a hi'h hand:most likely two "air:and you check8 your o""onent will almost always 6et8 ho"in' to 'et "aid off 6y one "air =unless8 of course you ha!e an o"en "air on 6oard?7 So you see8 the end 'ets 6et anyway:you Bust risked much less7 5eco'ni%in' +hen an O""onent Pairs His Holecard -nother ad!anta'e to remem6erin' all the u"cards is that it will hel" you reco'ni%e when someone has "aired his holecard7 Let9s say a 'ood "layer calls a dou6le raise with a fi!e>u"8 and there are two si es and two deuces out on third street7 Now8 that "layer then catches a / on fourth street and a $ on fifth street to 'o with his I7 There is only one / and one $ left in the deck8 so chances are he didn9t "air either7 From this you can deduce that this "layer likely made a strai'ht or at least a !ery 'ood low with a strai'ht draw7 Thanks to the additional information you 'ained 6y remem6erin' the u"cards on
$I$

third street8 you could muck a 6i' "air here7 Let9s look at an e am"le where you can tell someone actually did "air his holecardK E am"le One ;ouK .>2 $>I>< Player OneK > H><>0 Player TwoK > I>1>0 Let9s say Player One 6ets and Player Two Bust calls7 +hat could Player Two ha!eE - low without a strai'htE Im"ossi6le7 He would raise to 'et you out7 4>hi'h strai'htE -'ain8 he would ha!e to try to raise you out and 'et the scoo"7 -n 0>hi'h strai'htE Possi6le8 6ut hi'hly unlikely7 +ith the worst "ossi6le low8 any other low hand would 6eat his8 unless he im"ro!ed8 so he would want to 'et the low draw out7 So what does Player Two most likely ha!eE He either started with some kind of hi'h hand8 which is still unlikely since he didn9t attem"t to raise the low draw out8 or he has made a "air7 Hnowin' this8 what is your 6est course of actionE Pro!ided no aces or si es were out on third street8 this hand definitely warrants a raise7 ;ou9!e 'ot ei'ht cards to scoo" and fi!e or si to take half the "ot7 If you make your low8 you know he will need to hit runner>runner to 6eat it8 as he is drawin' to an 0>1 low:if he e!en has a low draw at this "oint7 Here9s another e am"leK E am"le Two ;ouK 2>I 1>0 Player OneK > H>Q Player TwoK > $>/ Player ThreeK > 2>/ In this scenario Player One 6ets8 Player Two raises8 and Player Three folds7 +hat should you doE Most likely8 Player Three "aired his / since he folded ri'ht away7 Player Two also has a / showin'8 meanin' that there is "ro6a6ly only one / left in the deck7 Not only is a raise the wron' "lay8 a call here is tou'h as well8 since you almost certainly ha!e the worst low draw with little ho"e of de!elo"in' it into a hi'h hand7 I would definitely still take a card on fourth street for one 6et:6ut not for
$I.

two:ho"in' 6oth that Player Two catches 6ad and that I catch 'ood8 or may6e e!en sna' that miracle /7 NoteK -lthou'h Player Three folded on fourth street8 the / did not necessarily affect his hand7 He may ha!e started with s"lit fours8 a "ocket "air8 or a three>flush and failed to catch a fourth card of that suit7 So8 there is still a fair chance that there are two si es left7 (ut "airin' the si es is sim"ly the most likely scenario that would make Player Three fold7 (lockers In the "re!ious e am"le8 the / is what9s known as a 6locker7 5eco'ni%in' when 6lockers are out can ena6le you to 'et in e tra raises you normally mi'ht not 6e a6le to make7 These situations arise in all forms of stud7 They are more im"ortant in ei'ht>or>6etter than stud>hi'h8 6ut not as im"ortant as in ra%%8 which is another name for se!en>card stud ace>to>fi!e low6all7 In ra%% you can 'o from an underdo' to a hu'e fa!orite8 de"endin' on the other cards that are out7 Let9s look at another e am"le that illustrates the effect of 6lockersK E am"le One ;ouK I>I I>$>.>1 Player OneK > 1>/>2>To em"hasi%e the "oint8 let9s say the last I was out on third street7 In this situation8 you should not only raise Player One8 you should "ut four or more 6ets in8 de"endin' on who your o""onent is7 If you make any low8 e!en an 0> low8 you can raise with almost no fear of 6ein' scoo"ed7 In order to scoo"8 Player One would need to make a 6etter low hand:assumin' you hit yours with a / or an 0:and ha!e three si es8 se!ens8 or aces to 'o with it7 )ON)EPT 12K ELIMIN-TIN, THE )OMPETITION No8 I don9t mean killin' off the other 'ood "layers8 althou'h8 if a few were suddenly whacked8 the rest would "ro6a6ly fall into line7 <ust kiddin':"ut your 'un away7 In the "re!ious section8 I talked a6out not raisin'8 or smooth>callin'8 to kee"
$I2

a third o""onent in the "ot7 In this conce"t8 I will talk a6out raisin' in order to limit the field8 which will ma imi%e your chances at scoo"in' the whole "ot7 Often8 when hands de!elo" and 6oards start lookin' scary8 you can use this to your ad!anta'e 6y re"resentin' somethin' that a "layer holdin' a hi'h hand would 6e afraid of8 so you could 6luff him out7 So8 if you9re in a three>way "ot with the 6est low and a weak hi'h that has a chance to 6eat your other o""onent who is also 'oin' low8 a raise to force out the hi'h hand mi'ht ena6le you to scoo" the whole "ot7 For e am"leK E am"le One ;ouK ->$ 2>.><>/ Player OneK > H>Q>2>. Player TwoK > 1>/>I>13 If Player Two 6ets here8 a raise mi'ht knock out Player One7 If that ha""ens8 your ->< mi'ht 6e 'ood for hi'h7 If the ->< isn9t 'ood enou'h8 "airin' the ace8 Back8 /8 or may6e e!en one of the 6a6ies mi'ht earn you the scoo"7 This "ro6a6ly would not ha!e 6een "ossi6le if Player One had stayed in for the showdown7 (ut if Player One does 'et stu66orn and stays in8 it9s 'reat !alue anyway8 as you ha!e the nut low and are assured of 'ettin' at least half7 -nother time to knock out an o""onent is if you ha!e the worst low or low draw and only you know it7 Take this scenarioK E am"le Two ;ouK 1>0 2>I Player OneK > 0>/ Player TwoK > H>Q In this e am"le8 if Player Two 6ets out8 a raise mi'ht 'et Player One to fold7 +hy do you want him to muck hereE He "ro6a6ly has the 6est low draw 6ut doesn9t know it8 as your 1 and 0 are 6uried7 This is the kind of situation you want to 6e in:three cards to come with a low draw and a strai'ht draw8 e!en if it is Bust a 'utshot8 a'ainst a strictly hi'h hand7 One last e am"leK E am"le Three ;ouK .>2 />1
$II

Player OneK > I>< Player TwoK > H>13 Player Two will certainly 6et out here8 and you must raise7 +hyE For !alue8 for one thin'7 -s we Bust discussed8 this is a 'reat s"ot to 6e in7 Howe!er8 the main reason you9ll want to raise here is to force out Player One7 @+hyEA you ask7 ;ou9re thinkin'8 @I ha!e the 6est low draw8 may6e I should let him han' around7A No8 a6solutely notF It would 6e easy for him to catch 'ood while you cau'ht 6ad8 and then you mi'ht wind u" with the worst low draw7 I see fairly 'ood "layers Bust call here on a re'ular 6asis7 This is a horri6le "lay7 These are the s"ots you9re waitin' for7 This is the time to di!ide and conJuerF )ON)EPT 1IK STE-LIN, THE -NTES -nte stealin' is not as intricate a "art in stud ei'ht>or>6etter 'ames as it is in many other forms of "oker8 es"ecially in full 'ames8 mostly 6ecause the low card is almost always 6elow an 08 so any "layer with such a card has one> third of a "laya6le hand showin'7 -s in other 'ames8 if you9re 'oin' to try to steal the antes8 you o6!iously need to 6e in late "osition7 If there is an ace or multi"le low cards 6ehind you8 don9t e!en think of tryin' it7 ;our 6est chance is when you ha!e an ace>u"8 and there9s nothin' 6ut middle cards 6ehind you7 The reason 6ein'8 e!en if one of your o""onents has a s"lit middle "air8 he will "ro6a6ly muck it when an ace raises in front of him7 Here are three e am"les7 E am"le One ;ouK H>< Player OneK > 13 Player TwoK > 4 Player ThreeK > 2 E am"le one is the situation you9re lookin' for to steal the antes7 5emem6er8 the lowest card on 6oard in the first round of 6ettin':the 2 held 6y Player Three:is forced to start the action 6y makin' a token 6lind 6et8 so 6asically8 your only concern is whether or not the low card has a hand7[ If he does8 he "ro6a6ly will not reraise you anyway8 6ut Bust callin' here 'i!es you another
$I/

shot at stealin' this "ot7 This arises when you catch 'ood on fourth street and he doesn9t7 He9ll "ro6a6ly 'i!e u" ri'ht there and you will 'et the "ot7 If you 6oth catch 'ood and you are on a cold steal8 say with two "aints in the hole8 'i!e it [ For 6ettin' "ur"oses on the first round8 the ace "lays as the hi'h card8 not the low7 u" ri'ht there7 *on9t 'o down with the shi"D Bust check and muck with a coy smile7 E am"le Two ;ouK 4>2 < Player OneK > H Player TwoK > 4 Player ThreeK > 2 This is another 'ood s"ot to try to "ick u" the antes7 If you can 'et 6y the kin'8 the 4 is "ro6a6ly out unless he holds an o!er"air7 Play the way I Bust descri6ed a'ainst the 27 The most im"ortant thin' to remem6er is that you should throw your hand away immediately should the kin'8 or anyone else for that matter8 reraise7 *on9t throw 'ood money after 6ad7 E am"le Three ;ouK 4>$ < Player OneK > Player TwoK > 0 Player ThreeK > 2 I "ut in this last e am"le Bust to make you feel smart7 If you can9t reco'ni%e that this is a 6ad s"ot to try to steal8 han' u" your 'uns and mask7 ;ou9ll ne!er make it as a thief7 )ON)EPT 1/K *EFEN*IN, -,-INST THE STE-L Once a'ain8 this is not a !ery common situation in ei'ht>or>6etter7 (e sure your timin' is ri'ht and don9t o!eruse this "lay7 +hen a loose and a''ressi!e
$I1

"layer8 es"ecially one on tilt8 raises in late steal "osition with a low card8 what do you doE If you feel he may 6e stealin'8 you should "ro6a6ly reraise him with any hand that you would normally Bust call with7 ;ou don9t want to 'i!e the thief a free chance to win the "ot8 which is e actly what he9ll do if he catches 'ood and you catch 6ad with only one 6et each in the "ot on fourth street7 On the other hand8 if you each ha!e two 6ets in on fourth street8 the "ot is now 6i' enou'h to Bustify a call e!en thou'h you mi'ht 6e 6ehind7 5emem6er8 if he started with a 6ad one in the hole8 you9re not 6ehind:you9re e!en7 That reraise on third street is a kind of insurance a'ainst the luck of the draw7 ;ou now dou6le your chances to stay in the "ot 6y forcin' yourself to see an additional card on fifth street7 -lso8 you are com"oundin' his mistake for himD if he had the 6ad one 6uried8 he9s now "uttin' in two 6ets with that 6ad hand7 If you find yourself on the other end of this situation8 don9t call8 ho"in' for some miracle7 ,et out immediately and sa!e that e tra 6et7 Let9s look at some e am"les of this techniJue7 E am"le One ;ouK $>. I Player OneK > I In the first e am"le8 Player One raises in late "osition7 Often8 you would Bust call in this s"ot7 Howe!er8 if you sus"ect a 6ur'lary is in "ro'ress8 reraise and 6rin' this thief to Bustice7 E am"le Two ;ouK ->0 I Player OneK > 1 The same 'oes for this e am"le8 only this time the ace you hold makes the reraise much easier7 5eason 6ein'8 e!en if Player One has a le'itimate hand8 you will "ro6a6ly still ha!e him 6eat for hi'h with your ace7 The "lay in the second e am"le can 6e used much more than in the "lay in E am"le One7 In addition to defendin' a'ainst the steal8 it can 6e used to "ush around weaker "layers8 to esta6lish a loose8 confident ima'e8 or Bust to mi u" your "lay7 It would 6e a much 6etter hand if your other two cards 6esides the ace were
$I0

se!ens or lower7 E am"le Three ;ouK />< I Player OneK > / Finally8 in this third e am"le8 when Player One raises in late "osition8 Bust fold8 e!en if you are the low card and feel stron'ly that he is on the steal7 ,et out nowF *on9t try and 'et fancy or out>"lay him7 If he9s 6ad enou'h to raise here8 he will han' himself later on8 so sa!e those e tra 6ets for that time7 )ON)EPT 11K -N -*N-N)E* PL-; -s seldom as the last two conce"ts occur8 this scenario comes into "lay e!en less freJuently7 (ut8 rare or not8 this "lay8 if e ecuted "ro"erly8 can ha!e such "owerful re"ercussions8 I felt it deser!ed it9s own section7 -s with the last conce"t8 6e sure that your timin' is ri'ht and don9t o!eruse this "lay7 Here we 'oF If you start with a monster on third street and ca" it in a multiway "ot8 "ut in a raise on fourth street to 6ack down an o""onent 'oin' hi'h8 which will kee" you from 'ettin' "ut in the middle if you catch 6ad7 This can 6e used in any "oker 'ame8 6ut works 6y far the 6est in stud ei'ht>or>6etter7 Let9s look at a cou"le of e am"lesK E am"le One ;ouK $E .E 2E 13E Player OneK > 1E 2E Player TwoK > HE <E In this e am"le8 after third street is ca""ed8 Player Two will 6et out7 If you call8 Player One will most likely raise7 Then8 Player Two will definitely reraise8 Player One will 'o to four 6ets8 and Player Two has an easy decision in ca""in' it7 +ith a hand as 6i' as yours8 you can9t 'o out7 ;ou also want to "ut the minimum amount of money "ossi6le into the "ot at this "oint7 The solutionE Instead of Bust callin'8 raise7 If Player One "aired8 the raisin' will sto" ri'ht here8 sa!in' you three 6ets7 If not8 Player One will 'o to three 6ets and unless Player Two is a 6e'inner8 he will Bust call8 sa!in' you two
$I4

6ets7 E am"le Two ;ouK $E .E 2EE13E Player OneK HE <E Player TwoK 1E 2E Similarly8 in this e am"le8 Player One will 6et out and Player Two will raise unless he "aired:and there9s a 'ood chance he will raise e!en if he did "air7 Once a'ain8 if you Bust call8 Player One has an easy decision to raise8 and you9re lookin' at a ca""ed "ot7 -nd once a'ain8 the solution is the same7 raise will free%e Player One and cause him to Bust call7 If Player Two did not "air8 you9ll still ha!e to call another raise from him8 6ut four 6ets are 6etter than fi!e7 Not only do you sa!e these e tra 6ets8 the 6eauty of the "lay is the dece"tion it "ro!ides you7 (oth "layers will "ut you on a hi'h hand8 and the o""onent that9s 'oin' hi'h will 6e scared to "ut a 6et in the "ot throu'hout the hand7 Meanwhile8 since you9!e "ut in so many 6ets8 your o""onent 'oin' low will ne!er 'i!e you credit when you make your low8 often "uttin' too many 6i' 6ets in on the end7 I9!e often used this "lay and had 6oth "layers so confused that they checked all the way to the ri!er7 +ith these free cards you can 6ackdoor all kinds of hands8 such as strai'hts8 flushes8 lows8 and e!en two "airs or tri"s7 (efore we mo!e on8 I want to once a'ain em"hasi%e that this "lay should not 6e used on a re'ular 6asis7 It should only 6e used after a lot of 6ets ha!e 'one in on third street8 addin' the eJuity reJuired to make this successful7 )ON)EPT 10K P-5TIN, THOL,HTS In conclusion8 I want to tell a short anecdote7 This final story has to do with all forms of "oker8 not Bust ei'ht>or>6etter:e!en all of life for that matter7 -lthou'h it doesn9t "ertain only to the 'ame that I co!ered in this cha"ter8 I wanted to include it in a 6ook as 'reat as Su"er#System $ for "osterity9s sake7 Let9s say you went to a "et store and saw a do' you fell in lo!e with 6ecause of its 6ark7 +ould you then take the do' home and yell at it and tell it that it
$/3

was stu"id for 6arkin'E +ould you try to teach the do' how to meow or moo insteadE No8 of course not7 *oin' so would 6e unreasona6le and ridiculous7 ;ou would "ro6a6ly say a "erson who did this was irrational or e!en cra%y7 Howe!er8 if you look for 'ames with 6ad "layers8 then 'et in the 'ame and yell at them and tell them that they9re stu"id when they "lay 6adly and 6eat you8 isn9t that the same thin'E Isn9t that cra%yE *o's 6ark7 That9s what they do7 This is tantamount to what 6ad "layers do:they lay 6ad 6eats on "eo"le7 ;ou wanted to "lay with them 6ecause they "lay 6ad7 So8 you ha!e no ri'ht to 'et mad or make s"eeches when they do "lay 6ad and wind u" 6eatin' you7 *on9t try to teach a do' to meow and don9t try to teach 6ad "layers how to "lay 'ood7 It9s their money and they can "lay it as they like7 -lso8 think a6out how fussin' at 6ad "layers makes you look7 If this 6ad "layer has enou'h money to "lay cra%y and loose in the same 'ame you9re tryin' to win in8 how can you call him a suckerE I find nothin' more amusin' than when a "layer of modest means tells a recreational "layer worth many millions that he9s a sucker7 =- few years a'o8 I heard Phil Hellmuth8 who didn9t ha!e a lot of money at the time8 tell Larry Flynt that if he ke"t "layin' that way he9d 'o 6roke7? -s the old sayin' 'oes8 if you can9t handle the heat8 stay out of the kitchen7 Find a kinder8 'entler "oker 'ame with less maniacs and more sta6le "layers7 ;ou will "ro6a6ly win less8 6ut you mi'ht mana'e to hold on to your sanity a little lon'er7 Hee" in mind that I9m referrin' to comments that will 6e taken seriously7 ,ood>natured Bokin' and ri66in':or 'i!in' the needle8 as we say in "oker: is "art of the 'ame7 It "ro!ides a sense of camaraderie not found in most other forms of 'am6lin'7 So don9t 6e afraid of "okin' a little fun here and there7 In fact8 a little needlin' will kee" many "layers comin' 6ack who normally wouldn9t do so7 <ust kee" it 'ood>natured7 5emem6er8 the "oint of "layin' 'ames is to ha!e fun8 and "oker is the 'reatest 'ame e!er createdF

$/1

POT LIMIT OM-H- HI,H 6y Lyle (erman There was only one "ossi6le choice of a writer for the "ot>limit Omaha cha"ter:world>renowned 6usinessman and the 'reatest "ot>limit Omaha "layer in the world8 Lyle (erman7 +hile his 'ame is 'eared for ultra hi'h> stakes "oker8 Lyle was the first "layer to really crunch the num6ers of the 'ame and has calculated statistical charts that were the first of their kind7 -n all>around "oker "layer8 Lyle has won three 'old 6racelets at the +orld Series of PokerK one each in limit Omaha8 no>limit Te as hold9em8 and deuce>to>se!en low6all7 +hen Su"er#System first came out in 14108 Lyle 6ou'ht a co"y and let it 'ather co6we6s until 140.8 when he finally read it7 That year he won C138333:not in "oker8 6ut in a cra"s 'ame:and decided to kick 6ack 6y enterin' a C133 6uy>in "oker tournament at the Stardust7 @I didn9t win the tournament8 6ut I found that I enBoyed "layin' "oker more than shootin' cra"s8A he told me7 @-nd from that "oint on8 I was hooked7A -lways a Juick study8 he won the "ot>limit Omaha e!ent at the Su"er (owl of Poker at Lake Tahoe the !ery ne t year7 In $33$ Lyle was awarded "oker9s hi'hest honor when he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame7 Ironically8 as 'reat a "layer as he is8 Lyle9s le'acy to the "oker world will not 6e his e "loits at the ta6le8 6ut rather the "o"ularity e "losion "oker has enBoyed thanks to the +orld Poker Tour on tele!ision7 Had it not 6een for his 6ackin' and "artici"ation in the mana'ement of the +PT throu'h his com"any8 Lakes Entertainment8 a 'eneration of new "layers mi'ht ne!er ha!e e!ol!ed7 Millions watch the inno!ati!e and e citin' "oker "ro'ram that offers "eeks at the "layers9 hole cards and follows the action throu'h e "ert "lay>6y>"lay commentary7 -lon' with (enny and <ack (inion8 Lyle (erman will 'o down as one of the foundin' fathers of the new world of "oker7 INT5O*L)TION Peo"le used to think of no>limit hold9em as 6ein' the 6i''est 'ame in town8 6ut there aren9t many hi'h>stakes no>limit hold9em 'ames anymore8 outside of tournaments7 Today8 the !ersion of Omaha "layed for hi'h only8 which is the su6Bect of this cha"ter8 is the hi'hest>stake "ot>limit "oker 'ame "layed in
$/$

the world7 That alone should make this cha"ter the most colorful and e citin' in this 6ookF (i' Omaha 'ames "layed at fi ed limits are rare8 6ut when "ot>limit "oker is "layed8 Omaha hi'h:often referred to sim"ly as Omaha:is where the action is7 It9s the "rofessional9s choice7 Professionals often choose to "lay at ta6les where a !ariety of different "oker 'ames are dealt7 In this en!ironment8 you mi'ht see fi ed>limit Omaha "layed with C18I33#C.8333 6linds durin' the 6i' tournaments7 These can 6e 6i''er than the C133#C$33 "ot>limit Omaha 'ames8 6ecause more money will trade hands7 ;ears a'o I read a chart of startin' hands and I assi'ned "oints to them accordin' to the flo"7 +hat my "oint>count showed is that at the end of the day8 there are no monster fa!orites in Omaha like there are in other 'ames7 For e am"le8 in hold9em8 if you ha!e two aces and someone is "layin' a "air a'ainst you8 your aces are a 2 to 1 fa!orite7 In Omaha8 no hand is a 2 to 1 fa!orite7 That9s why there is so much action to the 'ame and why you can take a lot more flo"s than you can in hold9em7 In sim"le terms8 you9re not always 'ettin' the worst of it7 If two reasona6le hands are dealt8 it is rare for one to 6e a /3>23 fa!orite o!er the other7 THE ,-MES I PL-; The 6i' "ot>limit Omaha 'ames I "lay with my friends occu"y a uniJue niche in "oker7 +e "lay hi'h>stakes 'ames with 6linds from CI3#C133 u" to C18333#C$83338 with or without a ca"8 which is a "redetermined amount of money that a "layer can lose in one hand7 FreJuently in Omaha8 'reat hands come u" and "layers ha!e to "ut in all their chi"s7 So knowin' whether or not your 'ame has a ca" will affect your strate'y7 For e am"le8 if you ha!e a su6stantial amount of money on the ta6le in a 'ame with no ca"8 you ha!e to "lay more cautiously7 ;ou can9t afford to take the turn with a 6ottom or middle set8 so you don9t want to "lay the low or sometimes e!en the middle "airs7 +e don9t often "lay this way8 6ecause "layers tend to Juit the 'ame when they9re winnin' and ha!e a "ile of money in front of them7 -nd 6elie!e me8 we don9t want "eo"le Juittin'8 6ecause at the stakes that we "lay8 the "ool of "layers isn9t !ery lar'e7 On the other hand8 if there is a ca"8 6ottom or middle sets may 6e worth the risk to "lay7
$/.

So ha!in' a ca" not only makes the 'ame less !olatile8 it also creates a lot of action7 +e don9t want someone to lose all of his money on one hand8 so we almost always "lay this way7 +ithout the Euro"eans8 who Boin us durin' the +orld Series of Poker and the 6i' tournaments at (ella'io8 "ot>limit Omaha 'ames with CI3#C133 6linds and hi'her are rare7 (ut this doesn9t mean that you can9t find "rofita6le 'ames at lower limits8 es"ecially at multi>'ame ta6les7 ,enerally8 when multi>'ame "oker is s"read8 we "lay ei'ht hands each of Omaha8 limit se!en>card stud ei'ht>or>6etter8 no>limit hold9em8 and se!en> card stud7 -t our 6i' 'ame durin' a recent (ella'io tournament8 we "layed se!en 'amesK no>limit hold9em8 limit hold9em8 no>limit deuce>to>se!en low6all8 limit tri"le draw deuce>to>se!en8 limit se!en>card stud8 "ot>limit Omaha8 and limit Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter7 It9s a challen'e to "lay multi>'ame "oker8 and it does kee" some "eo"le out of the 'ame7 -lmost no6ody e cels at e!ery 'ame8 6ut there are s"ecialists who are 'reat at one 'ame and decent at another7 +e9re not lookin' for this ty"e of "layer7 +e want "eo"le who will "lay all the 'ames and are 'reat at some8 Bust okay at some8 and ho"efully terri6le at others7 Sometimes we structure our multi>'ame sessions to fit the tastes of "layers7 For e am"le8 Sammy Farha8 who came in second at the $33. +orld Series8 doesn9t "lay all the 'ames8 6ut he does like to "lay a few of them7 He9ll "lay Omaha ei'ht>or>6etter8 tri"le draw8 and "ot>limit Omaha8 so when he Boins us8 we "lay the 'ames he likes 6ecause we enBoy 'am6lin' with him7 +hether you seek to "lay "ot>limit Omaha at these stakes or at more modest ones8 kee" in mind that you need to know a6out ca"s and that you mi'ht find yourself in situations where you9ll need to "lay other 'ames as well7 OM-H- NS7 HOL*9EM +hat sets "ot>limit Omaha a"art from hold9em is that in Omaha8 each hand is com"rised of four cards8 two of which you must use in com6ination with three cards from the 6oard7 If you9re "layin' in an ei'ht>handed hold9em 'ame8 there are only ei'ht hands in "lay7 (ut if you are "layin' an ei'ht> handed Omaha 'ame8 e!eryone has si "ossi6le com6inations8 so there are
$/2

literally forty>ei'ht hands in "lay7 So here are se!en thin's you need to kee" in mind when "layin' "ot>limitK 17 The Nuts The 6est "ossi6le hand is often out7 That is8 some6ody has the nuts much more often than no!ices e "ect8 es"ecially if they are used to "layin' no>limit hold9em7 +hen a "layer raises in "ot>limit Omaha8 es"ecially on the end8 he !ery often has the !ery 6est hand "ossi6le7 For e am"le8 if there9s a "ossi6le flush on the 6oard and someone reraises at the end8 he usually has the nut flush7 The same 'oes for strai'hts7 $7 (luffin' There is far less 6luffin' in "ot>limit Omaha than there is in no>limit hold9em7 Of course8 "layers do 6luff in "ot>limit Omaha8 6ut with so many hands "ossi6le8 it9s more difficult7 ;ou must 6e more cautious when you 6luff 6ecause it is likely that someone will ha!e the 6est hand or the 6est draw7 .7 Startin' Hands +ith so many "ossi6le com6inations8 you can usually "lay more startin' hands in "ot>limit Omaha8 if the structure is ri'ht7 -nd if you hit certain hands8 the "ayoff can 6e !ery 'ood7 ;ou can "lay a little looser 6efore the flo" if you truly understand the 'ame8 inter"ret the flo" correctly8 and know which hands to "lay carefully8 which to 6luff with8 and which to fold7 27 *rawin' Hands ;ou can "lay a lot more drawin' hands in "ot>limit Omaha8 6ut you should make sure you9re drawin' to the nuts most of the time7 Some classic "ro6lems arise when you9re drawin' to less than the nut flush or the 6ottom end of a strai'ht7 For e am"le8 su""ose there is a 13>I>2 on 6oard and you ha!e the />. in your hand7 This is not a !ery 'ood drawin' hand 6ecause you are drawin' to the 6ottom or i'norant end7 ;ou will ha!e the 6est hand if you hit the deuce8 6ut if a 1 hits8 you face the risk that someone has the 0>1>/>I and has made the hi'her strai'ht7 Of course8 you would always like to ha!e the wra" strai'ht draw with the nut>flush draw7 Let9s say that the flo" comes with the 13E IE 2E7 ;ou ha!e the -E 0E 1E /E in your hand7 ;ou ha!e si
$/I

hands to draw to8 all of which are "retty much in "lay7 -s a 'eneral rule8 if you are 'oin' to draw to a strai'ht or a flush8 make sure it9s the 6est "ossi6le strai'ht or flush:otherwise8 it 'ets too e "ensi!e7 If you ha!e two o""onents and each of them has si "ossi6le hands8 you mi'ht think of it as ha!in' twel!e hands out a'ainst you8 not Bust two7 I7 Nolatility Pot>limit Omaha is more !olatile than hold9em7 ;ou9re 'oin' to "lay 6i''er "ots more often8 and you9ll seldom 6e a hu'e fa!orite in a hand7 Many times8 hands come u" that 6oth you and your o""onent would still "ut all your money in the "ot with:e!en if the cards were "layed face u"7 Ty"ically8 this ha""ens when one "layer has the to" set and his o""onent has a 6i' wra" or a wra" with a flush draw7 In this scenario8 if one "layer 6ets and the other raises8 6oth "layers are 'oin' to "lay the hand8 no matter which side of the raise they9re on7 It9s 6asically a coin fli" when you9re in this ty"e of situation8 6ecause the odds on the two hands are Bust a6out e!en money7 ;ou 6ecome the !ictim of the cards since neither hand is a 6i' fa!orite o!er the other7 It is harder to lay down coin>fli" hands in "ot>limit Omaha than it is in hold9em7 ;ou Bust aren9t 'oin' to fold to" set or lay down a flush and strai'ht draw7 /7 (ackdoor Hands (ackdoor hands are made more often in "ot>limit Omaha than in hold9em7 -nd althou'h you9re "rimarily "layin' your main hand8 you mi'ht also ha!e a 6ackdoor draw8 6ecause you ha!e si hands rather than two7 Su""ose you flo" two "air or a set with one of your flush cards also on the 6oard7 ;ou and your o""onent8 who flo""ed to" set8 'et all your money in on the flo"7 Then it comes runner>runner in your suit to make your flush and win the "ot7 In other words8 you ha!e esca"e !al!es in "ot>limit Omaha that you don9t ha!e in hold9em7 In hold9em you ha!e only two cards to start with8 and sometimes there is no esca"e "ossi6ility:you9re tryin' to hit two s"ecific cards and that9s it7 The odds of two of your suit comin' on the turn and ri!er are a6out $. to 17 (ut in Omaha8 the odds are more in your fa!or7 Let9s say that I ha!e -E 13E $E $E and the flo" comes <E 1E $E7 My o""onent makes tri" Backs and I make tri" deuces7 +e 'et all our money into the "ot7 I still ha!e a6out a 13 "ercent chance to make a flush if it comes clu6>clu6 or
$//

diamond>diamond on the turn and ri!er7 Therefore my 6ackdoor "ossi6ilities8 my esca"e !al!es8 are "retty im"ortant7 17 Im"lied Odds Lnderstandin' im"lied odds is !ery im"ortant in 6oth "ot>limit Omaha and hold9em7 In "art8 your im"lied odds in a hand take into account what you are 'oin' to 6e "aid off with7 (ut you often cannot count on that "ayoff in Omaha7 For e am"le8 if you9re drawin' to the nut flush and you hit it on the ri!er8 there is a stron' chance that no6ody is 'oin' to call you7 Therefore8 althou'h you must 6e aware of your im"lied odds in Omaha8 you must also reali%e that there9s a 'ood chance that you may not 'et called on the ri!er if you make the nuts7 ,eneral ,uidelines for 5aisin' (efore we 'et into the ad!anced conce"ts8 I want to 'i!e you some ad!ice on raisin'7 In the early sta'es of a hand:6efore and on the flo":you ty"ically raise the si%e of the "ot7 Later on in the hand8 you may choose not to 6et the si%e of the "ot7 )learly8 when you ha!e the 6est hand8 you want to 'et your o""onent to "ut in the ma imum money to draw to his hand or 'et him to fold so that you can take the "ot7 (ettin' the ma imum amount of money ser!es 6oth these "ur"oses Juite well7 For e am"le8 su""ose you ha!e a set7 The last thin' you want to do is to make it "rofita6le for an o""onent with a flush or strai'ht draw to call with one card to come8 6ecause he will 6e a6le to fire on the ri!er if the 6oard chan'es7 -nd since you don9t know for sure whether he is on a strai'ht or flush draw8 you will 6e at a disad!anta'e7 In other words8 you don9t want to 'i!e him the "ro"er odds to call your 6et7 -*N-N)E* )ON)EPTS +hen we talk a6out ad!anced conce"ts for hi'h>stakes 'ames8 it should 6e clear that some of these work in medium and low>stakes 'ames as well7 No matter how hi'h or low the stakes8 you9ll "rofit from the "ointers in this section7 The (est Hands To Play
$/1

+hen you ha!e 'ood hands8 you9re 'oin' to "lay most of them7 I "lay the hands descri6ed in this section8 and so does e!ery6ody else7 Players like to de6ate whether ->->H>H dou6le>suited is a 6etter hand than ->-><>13 dou6le>suited7 I much "refer ->-><>138 and I think that most other "layers do too7 (ut it really doesn9t matter which hand is 6etter 6ecause you should "lay 6oth of them7 Of course8 there9s a 6i' difference 6etween hands that you can 6et on after the flo"8 and those that you can9t 6et on 6ecause you went all>in 6efore the flo"7 I also like a hand with three connected cards and a suited ace8 such as -E 0E 1E /E or -R <E 13E 4E7 Three connected cards with one 'a" and a suited ace is also fine7 +ith a hand like this8 you9re either 'oin' to 6e in the hunt8 or you9re 'oin' to throw the hand away7 ;ou can flo" a !ery 'ood hand8 like a flush or a strai'ht8 or 'ood draws to them7 -nd many times you9ll "ick u" a monster draw8 such as a flush draw com6ined with a strai'ht draw7 I like these hands 6ecause they9re not trou6le hands7 If they9re !ery 'ood on the flo"8 "lay them7 If not8 throw them away7 - dou6le>"air hand8 such as <><>13>138 is also 'ood7 +hen you9re dealt a dou6le "air8 you will flo" a set a6out one time in four7 If you flo" a set8 you9ll "ro6a6ly 6e in a !ery "rofita6le situation7 If you don9t flo" a set8 you9ll "ro6a6ly Bust fold7 ;ou want hands in which all four of your cards are workin' to'ether7 If you ha!e Q>Q><>13 your hand is o6!iously su"erior to Q>Q>0>/7 Suited cards look much 6etter 6efore the flo" than after7 If you don9t ha!e the nut flush draw8 you really don9t want to "lay them7 (ut suited cards do ha!e 6ackdoor "ossi6ilities7 Sometimes8 if you turn a set8 you still ha!e a chance to make a 6ackdoor flush7 Suited cards also are !ery 'ood from a defensi!e stand"oint7 For e am"le8 say you ha!e two hearts in your hand and you flo" a set with two hearts on 6oard7 ;our hand makes it more difficult for an o""onent to hit his hearts if he is "layin' the ace>hi'h flush draw7 If you ha!e a 'ood hand inde"endent of the flush draw8 your flush draw can "lay defense8 as o""osed to offense7 For e am"le8 su""ose you ha!e the QE QE <E 13E8 and the flo" comes with the QE 1E 2E7 ;ou ha!e to" set and a flush draw7 +ith nine hearts to draw to8
$/0

an o""onent who has the nut flush draw is 1701 to 1 to make the flush7 Howe!er8 since you ha!e two of them8 he has only se!en hearts to draw to8 makin' him a much 6i''er underdo' to make it7 ;ou really don9t want a heart to hit8 so I call cards like these defensi!e hearts instead of offensi!e hearts7 ;ou already ha!e the 6est hand8 and you ha!e cards he needs7 *an'erous Hands To Play on the Flo" If you9re relyin' on makin' a flush that is lower than the ace>hi'h flush8 you9re drawin' to an inferior hand7 Low suited cards may look 'ood 6efore the flo"8 6ut as soon as the flo" comes8 they diminish in !alue7 It is !ery dan'erous to "lay to" and 6ottom "air8 6ottom two "air8 and less than the nut strai'ht or flush draw7 +ith small "airs8 you can flo" a set7 (ut this can 6e dan'erous 6ecause when you 'et 6eat with a set8 you 'et 6eat e "ensi!ely7 That9s why you don9t "lay hands such as H>/>/>$8 whether its unsuited8 suited8 or dou6le>suited7 ;ou stay away from those ty"es of hands7 (ad Hands To Play (efore the Flo" - hand like Q>Q>1>$ is not 'ood 6ecause you9re really only "layin' one hand7 ;ou Bust don9t ha!e enou'h 'oin' for you7 ;ou mi'ht "lay this ty"e of hand in "osition or in s"ecial situations8 6ut in 'eneral8 you ha!e to "lay the odds7 -nd the odds are that you need more than one "ossi6le com6ination7 ;ou need a ti'ht hand8 one that fits in a 6o without a dan'ler han'in' o!er the ed'e7 For e am"le8 when you hold 13>4>0>18 you ha!e e!ery com6ination workin'7 (ut when you ha!e 13>4>0>$8 you ha!e three com6inations:13>$8 4>$8 and 0>$:that don9t ha!e much 'oin' for them7 I9m not sayin' that you would ne!er "lay a hand like Q><>13>$:the hand has some su6stance to it: 6ut you wouldn9t want to "lay 4>0>1>$8 6ecause it doesn9t ha!e enou'h 'oin' for it7 Position Position is incredi6ly im"ortant in "ot>limit Omaha8 may6e more so than in any other "oker 'ame7 +hether you "lay certain ty"es of hands or muck them always de"ends on your "osition7 ;ou9ll make more on your 'ood hands and lose less on your other hands when you "lay them from the correct "osition7 (luffin'
$/4

There are some 'ood 6luffin' o""ortunities in this 'ame8 thou'h "erha"s fewer than in other forms of "oker7 ;ou9ll "ick u" most of your 6luffin' o""ortunities after "eo"le ha!e checked to you8 indicatin' that they may ha!e nothin'7 E!ery check re"resents either a lie or the truth and your challen'e is to fi'ure out which is which7 Most of the 6luffin' in Omaha ha""ens on uncoordinated flo"s8 and they usually are made 6y a "layer sittin' in late "osition7 Lncoordinated 6luffs are often hard to defend7 There isn9t as much 6luffin' on the turn and ri!er 6ecause so many different com6inations are "ossi6le7 +hat ;ou9re Lookin' for on the Flo" In addition to com"leted hands8 you9re lookin' for nut flush draws8 nut strai'ht draws8 sets8 and to" two "air8 althou'h the to" two "air is often dan'erous7 +hen it comes to strai'ht draws8 you9ll "ro6a6ly want to "lay Q><>13>48 6ecause you9re 'oin' to turn the to" end8 when you turn it7 On the other hand8 if you "lay small cards such as />I>2>.8 you can !ery easily turn the 6ottom end of somethin'7 This isn9t so 'ood8 6ecause it9s so much easier for someone to make the to" strai'ht in Omaha than it is in hold9em7 For e am"le8 if you9re holdin' />I>2>. and 4>0>1 or 0>1>/ on the flo" makes your strai'ht8 an o""onent mi'ht 6e holdin' 0>4>13><8 'i!in' him the hi'her strai'ht7 This is not to say that you ne!er "lay a low seJuential hand7 If you9re in the correct "osition8 the "ot has not 6een raised8 and there isn9t much action in front of you8 you9ll "ro6a6ly "lay that />I>2>.7 It isn9t as im"ortant for your low cards to 6e suited as it is for your hi'h cards8 6ut suits are still 'ood7 5emem6er8 you want suited cards for two reasonsK =1? they ha!e 6ackdoor flush "ossi6ilitiesD and =$? they ha!e defensi!e "ossi6ilities as 6lockers that make it harder for your o""onent to make a flush7 Playin' (i' Pairs with No )onnectin' )ards E!en with the 6i' "airs8 like "ocket aces or kin's8 you should care a6out your connectin' cards8 6ecause you want somethin' workin' with them7 - "layer mi'ht easily throw away a hand such as H>H>1>$ 6efore the flo"8 since there9s no "ossi6ility of makin' the connectin' cards work for him7 I often
$13

"lay that hand8 6ut ti'hter "layers will fold it without thinkin' twice7 Howe!er8 e!en I would not "lay H>H>1>$ for a 6i' raise7 There are times when you mi'ht like to "lay a smaller hand such as />I>2>. if the "ot is raised in front of you7 +ith small connectin' cards8 you can turn a strai'ht or two "air7 -nd two small "air 6ecomes a monster when your o""onent indicates that he has two aces or two kin's and didn9t hit the flo"7 *on9t 5aise from L" Front Ne!er raise 6efore the flo" from a front "osition7 This is a cardinal rule of Omaha7 +hen you ha!e to act first on su6seJuent streets8 you9re at a tremendous disad!anta'e7 The 6etter your hand8 the 6i''er the disad!anta'e8 6ecause you9ll want to "rotect it7 Su""ose you raise from u" front with a !ery 'ood hand that contains a "air of aces or kin's7 ;ou don9t hit the flo"8 6ut it looks innocent7 (e careful here:there still are many "ossi6le draws to e!en the most innocent of flo"s7 ;ou9re first to act and you want to win the "ot8 so you make a 6et at it7 Then some6ody comes o!er the to" with a raise7 ;ou9!e "ut enou'h money in the "ot that you almost ha!e to call7 See the "ro6lemE Pot>limit Omaha is a 'ame that you don9t like to "lay from u" front7 ;ou9re 'oin' to take flo"s with 'ood hands8 6ut you don9t want to raise with them from a front "osition7 One "ro6lem with raisin' is that you9re ad!ertisin' that you ha!e a 'ood hand7 Ty"ically8 "layers don9t want to raise with a low hand8 so your o""onents will ha!e the tendency to "ut you on a hi'h hand7 Of course8 you can 6e somewhat dece"ti!e and raise with a drawin' hand8 6ut you must 6e "re"ared to call a reraise 6ehind you7 -lso8 when you raise from u" front in "ot>limit 'ames8 you9re 'i!in' the other 'uy twice the ammunition to fire 6ack at you7 This can 6e "articularly dan'erous if you don9t ha!e a really to" hand7 So here is a 'eneral ruleK do not raise 6efore the flo" from under the 'un or from the two 6lind "ositions8 6ecause you9ll 6e o!er>committin' yourself to your hand7 It9s much 6etter to 6e committed from the 6ackside8 6ecause "layers tend to check to the raiser on the flo"7 More often than not8 when you ha!e a 6i' hand u" front8 you should lim"7 Most of the raisin' in "ot>limit Omaha is done from the late seats7 If you raised from 6ehind and the flo" is scary8 you can take off a free card if you feel like it8 whereas if you raised
$11

from the front8 you ha!e to declare what you9re 'oin' to do 6efore anyone else acts7 The 6ottom line is that you9re sim"ly "uttin' too much money at risk when you raise from u" front7 Here9s a situation where you mi'ht think a6out makin' an e ce"tion and raise from u" front7 Say you9re "layin' CI3#C133 6linds and each "layer has C1338333 in front of him7 If you raise C$33 from u" front8 an o""onent can call C$33 and raise CI337 That isn9t too terri6le7 ;ou ha!e C133 in the "ot and you still ha!e C13383337 Or if you9re "layin' CI38333 ca"8 you still ha!e C248.33 to 'o7 +e ha!e one "layer in our 'ame:I9ll call him <oe:who "lays a different 6rand of Omaha than anyone else7 <oe literally raises ei'ht of nine hands7 It9s un6elie!a6le7 (ut we ha!e a small structure in the 'ame that <oe "lays7 It9s CI3#C133 or C133#C$338 and he9s raisin' CI337 E!en if some6ody comes 6ack at him8 they9re only 'oin' to raise him C$83338 and since he still has a lon' way to 'o to reach the CI38333 ca"8 he doesn9t mind the action7 The "oint is thisK 6efore you raise8 remem6er that you could 'et closed out of a hand if some6ody with aces came 6ack at you8 althou'h aces 'enerally are ne!er more than a6out a . to $ fa!orite o!er any other hand7 5eadin' the (oard on the Flo" 5eadin' the flo" is critical in Omaha7 ;ou ha!e to know what is the 6est "ossi6le hand and what is the 6est "ossi6le draw7 This is an elementary conce"t for e "erienced "layers8 6ut it9s Juite easy to miss a strai'ht "ossi6ility on the 6oard or to think that you ha!e the 6est strai'ht draw when a hi'her one is "ossi6le7 It9s also im"ortant that you 6e a6le to identify the cards that your o""onent needs in order to call the flo"7 -sk yourself8 @+hat are the "ossi6ilities out there8 and what mi'ht my o""onent ha!eEA Su""ose the flo" comes QE 13E 1E8 and you ha!e two 6lack Jueens in your hand7 If you 6et and someone only calls8 you can "retty much infer that your o""onent has a strai'ht or flush draw7 If he had 6oth8 he would "ro6a6ly raise7 -nd if he had an underset8 he would "ro6a6ly reraise7 So8 if you ha!e a set or to" two "air and some6ody calls your 6et8 there is a hi'h "ro6a6ility that he is on a draw7 ;our Bo6 is to 'uess what hand mi'ht ha!e made him call your 6et7
$1$

Now let9s take a look at another situation in which readin' the flo" is critical7 Su""ose you ha!e "ocket threes8 and the flo" comes <>1>. rain6ow8 'i!in' you tri" threes7 ;ou raise and someone reraises7 Most "eo"le would not reraise you with an inside strai'ht draw such as 13>4>0> or />I>2> 7 So8 if there isn9t much out there and you 'et reraised8 you can "retty much infer that your o""onent has the to" set8 unless he9s 6luffin'7 If there isn9t a 6i' draw "ossi6ility on 6oard8 then it is more likely that the raiser has to" two "air or a set7 So8 this mi'ht 6e a 'ood time to fold your 6ottom set7 Here9s an e am"le from a hand that actually ha""ened in a 6i' "ot>limit Omaha 'ame with a C1I8333 ca"7 The "ot was raised and reraised 6efore the flo"7 Fi!e "layers:*a!id ,rey8 )hi" 5eese8 <ohnny )han8 <ay Heimowit%8 and I:"ut in C1I8333 each to see the flo"8 a !ery rare occurrence7 The flo" came Q>1>I rain6ow7 I had the 0>/>2> 8 so I had the 6ottom strai'ht wra"7 I 6et C/38333 to try to "ick u" the "ot8 and *a!id called with essentially the same hand that I had8 the low strai'ht wra"7 )hi" was ne t and he called with the 4>0>/> 8 the hi'h wra"8 much 6etter than mine7 <ohnny had raised the "ot 6efore the flo" with two aces8 and with three of us already in on the flo"8 he called8 thinkin' he could still win the hand if he cau'ht an ace7 I think he also had a 6ackdoor flush draw7 Then it was <ay9s turn7 He had "ocket Jueens and made to" set on the flo"7 Now he has all these 'uys in the "ot with him and he9s sittin' there with tri" JueensF The ne t card off was a /8 which 'a!e *a!id and me the 6ottom end of the strai'ht and )hi" the to" end7 +hen a 6lank came on the ri!er8 )hi" won the hand and C.1I83337 To this day8 that is one of the 6i''est "ots we9!e "layed in our 'ame7 -nd it9s a 'ood e am"le of why you don9t want to "ut your money in with the 6ottom end of the strai'ht7 This reminds me of the old sayin' a6out a 'uy who owned four farmsK He lost three of them drawin' to inside strai'hts and lost the fourth one when he made it7 -nother interestin' hand came u" a few years a'o in a tournament7 I9!e 'ot two aces in my hand8 and the flo" comes ->13>137 - fellow leads at the "ot8 and I call7 -t this "oint8 I don9t know what he has7 He could ha!e a hand or he could 6e 6luffin'7
$1.

- 6lank comes on the turn8 he leads at it a'ain8 and a'ain I call7 Now I know he9s not 6luffin':he has a hand7 -nd there are only two hands he could ha!eK Juad tens or tens full of aces7 -nother nothin' card comes off on the ri!er and he leads at it a third time7 Now I know for a fact that he either has 13>13 or ->137 Since there is only one way that he could ha!e 13>13 and two ways that he could ha!e ->138 it9s $ to 1 he9s 'ot ->137 I Bust call with my case chi"s8 6ecause I9m thinkin' that if he had 13>138 he would not ha!e led at the "ot7 Lsually it9s an automatic check when you flo" four of a kind8 6ecause you want to let some6ody catch u"7 (ut not this time7 He had 13>137 -nd I had a !ery nice !iew from the rail7 Pickin' L" the Pot on the Flo" Most of the 6luffs in "ot>limit Omaha come on the flo" rather than on the turn or ri!er7 It9s usually easier to "ick u" the "ot on the flo" from 6ehind: that is8 from late "osition:althou'h you can also "ick it u" when you9re in the lead or early "osition7 In fact8 it is e!en easier to 6luff on the flo" from late "osition in Omaha than it is in other 'ames 6ecause with four cards in your hand8 you9re more likely to flo" somethin'7 +hen there are few "ossi6ilities on the 6oard:that is8 no flush draws and no wra" strai'ht draws :it is easier to 6luff than if the 6oard were coordinated in some way7 Flo"s like <>1>. and Q>I>$ make it easy to "ick u" the "ot7 (ut sometimes the o""osite is true7 +hen there9s a !ery scary 6oard8 you can sometimes "ick u" the "ot 6ecause no6ody wants to commit7 Let9s say that the 6oard comes with three diamonds8 and e!ery6ody checks to you7 ;ou mi'ht take a sta6 at it8 re"resentin' a made flush7 If no6ody else has anythin'8 they9ll often Bust 'i!e it u"7 It9s "ossi6le to "ick u" the "ot with a 6luff on the turn and ri!er8 6ut that9s much harder to do than "ickin' it u" on the flo"7 If a "layer calls on the flo" with a drawin' hand8 he will usually call on the turn as lon' as the 6oard doesn9t chan'e dramatically:that is8 as lon' as it doesn9t "air or show a third suited card7 Su""ose the flo" comes H>13>17 ;ou 6et8 someone calls8 and a deuce comes off on the turn7 If you 6et a'ain8 you can 6e "retty sure that you will 6e called a'ain7 *raw Only To the Nuts
$12

This conce"t is incredi6ly im"ortant in OmahaK +hen you9re drawin' to a strai'ht or a flush8 draw to the nuts or don9t draw7 -lthou'h this isn9t true 133 "ercent of the time8 it is at least a 40>"ercenter7 E!en if you9re drawin' to the nut flush8 you9re only 'oin' to make it a""ro imately one out of three times anyway8 so why draw to the non>nutsE It9s sim"ly a 6ad "lay7 Of course8 there are times when you mi'ht draw to a non>nuts flush8 6ut only when you ha!e other "ossi6ilities workin' for you8 for e am"le8 when you ha!e other cards in your hand that mi'ht hel" you win the "ot e!en if you don9t make the flush7 Su""ose you ha!e the HE <E 13E 0E8 and the flo" comes 13E 1E $E7 ;ou ha!e the second>nut flush draw8 a 'utshot strai'ht draw8 "lus the "ossi6ility of makin' tri"s or two "air7 ;ou aren9t 133 "ercent sure where you9re at in the hand8 6ut the hand has enou'h !alue to warrant takin' a card off7 If you hit your draw8 you don9t want someone else to hit it 6i''er7 Su""ose the flo" comes 13>/>I to your 1>2> > 7 If an 0 comes8 you will make your strai'ht8 6ut someone with 4>4>0>1 will make a hi'her one7 Nor should you draw in the ho"es of makin' two "air if most of the cards that will make a second "air for you could make a strai'ht for someone else7 If there is a flush draw "ossi6ility on the 6oard8 "uttin' too much money in the "ot is dan'erous when you are drawin' to a strai'ht8 6ecause the "ossi6le flush takes away $I "ercent of your cards7 Three 6ad thin's could ha""enK =1? you miss your strai'htD =$? you make the strai'ht with a card that 'i!es your o""onent the flushD or =.? you make a strai'ht on the turn with one card to come and your o""onent makes the flush on the ri!er7 Of course8 there are always minor e ce"tions8 times when you mi'ht think a6out drawin' to the non>nuts7 For e am"le8 su""ose a 'uy raises 6efore the flo"8 and you know that he only raises with 6i' "airs7 ;ou flo" the 6ottom wra" strai'ht draw7 ;ou ha!e clear insi'ht into the ty"e of hand that your o""onent has8 so you ha!e 'ood reason to think that a small strai'ht draw mi'ht 6e 'ood7 Since you9re "retty sure that he doesn9t ha!e the to" wra"8 you mi'ht draw to the lower strai'ht7 (ut if you don9t ha!e a clear read in heads>u" action like this8 you draw to the nut flush or the 6est strai'ht:or you don9t "lay the hand7
$1I

Playin' the Nut Strai'ht from Late Position Here9s a hand that I "layed some time a'o that illustrates an im"ortant conce"t7 I was sittin' on the 6utton with 4>/> > 8 and the flo" came 0>1>I7 "layer led into me and I Bust called8 for two reasonsK =1? His 6et im"lied that he had a made strai'ht7 =$? If the 6oard "aired on the ne t card8 I could "ro6a6ly take the "ot away from him 6y 6ettin'8 thus re"resentin' a full house7 EJually im"ortant8 if he had the second>nut strai'ht8 as I sus"ected8 raisin' on the flo" would ha!e told him that I had the 6est hand8 and he mi'ht ha!e folded7 (ut8 if I Bust called on the flo"8 he checked the turn8 then I 6et8 he9d ha!e no idea what I was holdin'7 *o I ha!e the nut strai'htE The second>6est strai'ht for a tie with himE *o I ha!e two "air or a set that I9m 6ettin' 6ecause I don9t think he has the strai'htE -s it turned out8 he checked on the turn8 I 6et the "ot8 and he called with all the money he had on the ta6le7 -s I sus"ected8 he had the />28 and I won the "ot7 <ud'in' from the way he "layed8 I knew that this "articular "layer would ha!e folded if I had raised him on the flo"7 +hen you "lay with stron' "layers8 they will often 6et at the "ot with less than the nuts7 If you ha!e the 6est hand and raise 6ehind them8 it9s !ery easy for them to throw their hands away7 In other words8 to" "layers are not reluctant to fold a hand if they think they are 6eaten7 Here9s an e am"leK I was "layin' in a 'ame with *a!id @*e!ilfishA Llliot7 I 6et8 he called8 and off came a card that made the second>6est strai'ht for me7 I checked8 and he also checked 6ehind me7 Had he 6et8 I think I would9!e thrown my hand away7 Nothin' came on the ri!er to chan'e thin's8 and a'ain I checked7 This time8 he 6et7 I had a !ery hard time "uttin' him on the nut strai'ht since he9d let a free card come off with one to come7 -fter all8 I could ha!e had a set or two "air8 in which case he was 'i!in' me an a6solutely free draw to a full house7 So8 I "aid him off7 Turns out8 he had the nut strai'ht7 I lost7 ;ou can make a similar "lay with the nut flush7 Let9s say that the flo" comes with three hearts8 'i!in' you the ace>hi'h flush7 -n o""onent checks8 you 6et8 and he calls7 On the turn8 nothin' si'nificant comes off7 Now9s your chance to make a so"histicated "layK If he checks8 check ri'ht 6ehind him7
$1/

That way8 he9ll think that his kin' or Jueen flush is 'ood7 On the ri!er he mi'ht 6et ri'ht into you8 or if he checks a'ain and you 6et8 it mi'ht a""ear to him that you don9t ha!e the nuts and he mi'ht call7 This strate'y 'i!es you a way to 'et "aid off on the hand7 +hen "layin' a'ainst !ery 'ood "layers8 it is occasionally wise to check on the turn with the a6solutely 6est hand7 In essence8 you delay 6ettin' in order to make more money at the end7 Playin' )autiously with the Nuts +hen I first started "layin' 6ack in the O03s8 I lost my first 6i' "ot in a 'ame where I flo""ed the 6est "ossi6le hand7 It was a'ainst (o66y (aldwin8 and we 6oth had the nut strai'ht8 6ut he also had a heart draw7 +hen a heart came on the ri!er8 he won a !ery lar'e "ot7 This tau'ht me the lesson that in Omaha ha!in' the 6est hand at the moment doesn9t always make you the fa!orite7 Omaha is one of those rare 'ames in which you sometimes need to e ercise caution when you9re holdin' the a6solute 6est hand on the flo"7 One of the most "erilous situations you can 'et into is when you flo" the nut strai'ht with a flush draw on the 6oard8 and some6ody raises you7 Let9s say that the 6oard comes 0E 1E /E8 you ha!e a 13>4> > in your hand8 and your o""onent raises you7 Two 6ad thin's can ha""enK =1? -t the !ery least8 your o""onent has also flo""ed the nut strai'ht with "erha"s an o!ercard that could make a hi'her strai'ht7 If he has the <>13>48 and a 4 or 13 falls8 you will lose the hand to a su"erior strai'ht7 =$? ;ou mi'ht 6e u" a'ainst the same strai'ht:in which case you mi'ht win !ery little 6y s"littin' the "ot:not to mention a flush draw8 two "air8 or a set8 and you9ll lose a 'reat deal of money if your o""onent hits7 The "oint is that e "erienced "layers in 6i'>limit "oker would 6e !ery cautious a6out reraisin' with only a naked nut strai'ht7 They need more than that in order to raise7 So when you 6et and a 'ood "layer raises8 there9s a 'ood chance that he has you tied and also has outs to a 6etter hand7 Here9s an e am"le from a CI38333 ca" 'ame I "layed a while a'o with <oe and another "layer that I will call (ill7 (ill had 6een killin' the 'ame8 winnin' a lot of "ots7 Two deals 6efore this "articular hand was "layed8 (ill
$11

had showed his cards on the ri!er7 He had a hand that was the second>6est "ossi6le8 a hand that almost any6ody would ha!e 6et in this scenario7 (ut (ill elected to Bust show it down8 thus tele'ra"hin' to e!eryone how cautiously he was "layin'7 Now8 two hands later8 the flo" comes Q><>13 with two clu6s7 (ill checks8 <oe 6ets8 and (ill raises7 If I had 6een <oe8 I would ha!e thrown my hand away at that "oint and lost a6out C283338 6ecause there was no Juestion that (ill had the nut strai'ht with a flush draw7 (ut not <oe:he raised the CI38333 ca"7 Off came a clu6 on the turn8 and <oe lost his CI383337 This is another e am"le of how a "re!ious hand can affect your "lay as the 'ame 'oes forward8 and a'ain why you should 6e !ery o6ser!ant of your o""onent9s "lay at all times7 One interestin' "oint to make a6out the "lay of this hand is that it shows how a !ery 'ood "layer can make money a'ainst a mediocre "layer7 I would ha!e lost C28333 "layin' this hand8 6ut <oe lost CI38333 and thou'ht he had 6een !ery unlucky7 He wasn9t unlucky at all:he sim"ly "layed the hand horri6ly7 If the flo" comes Q><>13 with two flush cards8 'i!in' you the nut strai'ht and you 'et raised after you9!e 6et8 it is almost an automatic fold7 +hyE (ecause !ery few "layers in our hi'h>stakes 'ame would "ut in a lot of money with a naked ->H on that flo"7 Perha"s at lower limits8 less ad!anced "layers would "lay differently7 I once had the same ty"e of hand in a tournament8 e ce"t that the flo" came 4>0>17 I 6et with the nut strai'ht8 and there was a raise and a reraise 6ehind me7 @This strai'ht can9t 6e any 'ood8A I said to myself as I threw it away7 -s it turned out8 howe!er8 one 'uy had a flush draw and the other one had a set7 Neither one of them 'ot there8 so I would ha!e won a humon'ous "ot7 (ut the "oint is that in Omaha there are situations when throwin' away the nuts is o6!iously the "ro"er thin' to do:usually when you ha!e the nut strai'ht and it9s "retty clear that an o""onent has the same hand8 "lus a draw to a flush or a 6i''er strai'ht7 This doesn9t ha""en when you ha!e the nut flush 6ecause no6ody can make a 6etter flush7 The Juestion of risk !ersus reward is !ery rele!ant in this ty"e of situation7 In the hand that (ill and <oe "layed8 <oe had !ery little money in!ested in the
$10

hand8 only a6out C283338 and he had to either make it CI38333 or fold7 Now that9s a 6i' difference:"ut in C2/8333 more or foldF The risk>reward ratio Bust wasn9t there7 The Juestion is8 @Is it worth the risk of 'oin' 6roke to the handEA Most of the time when you 6et8 you make a small commitment to the "ot8 6ut you may ha!e to "ut in ten times that amount to see the hand throu'h7 O6!iously8 you don9t Bust routinely throw away the 6est hand8 6ut many times you mi'ht want to check the nut strai'ht on the flo" when a flush draw is "ossi6le and wait to 6et it on the turn if the 6oard doesn9t chan'e7 This strate'y is more ty"ical of an un>raised "ot8 6ecause there isn9t a lot of money in it yet7 If there9s 6een a su6stantial raise 6efore the flo"8 you ha!e a little more incenti!e to "lay the hand 6ecause there9s more money in the "ot7 E!erythin' in "oker is risk !ersus reward7 Su""ose you9re "layin' in our 'ame with CI33#C18333 6linds and a C1I8333 ca"7 Three "eo"le ha!e lim"ed in8 so there9s three or four thousand in the "ot7 The flo" comes Q><>13 with two clu6s7 ;ou ha!e the ->H with nothin' else7 E!eryone checks to you8 and you 6et C283337 Then some6ody comes o!er the to" and raises C1$83337 ;ou know that on the !ery ne t card8 he9s 'oin' to 6et C./83337 -nd then the 6oard mi'ht chan'e on the ri!er8 and you won9t know where your o""onent is at in the hand7 *o you want to risk C118333 more in order to s"lit:at 6est :an C08333 "otE The answer is no7 )hess is the ultimate think>ahead 'ame7 To" chess "layers think se!en or more mo!es ahead7 In "oker you must similarly think two or three mo!es ahead7 Sometimes you9re e!en thinkin' two or three hands ahead8 layin' the foundation for a "lay you9re 'oin' to make in a future hand7 Hnowin' this8 think 6ack a6out the hand I descri6ed 6etween (ill and <oe8 when <oe lost CI38333 to (ill when he only needed to lose a few thousand on the flo" and ask yourself if you would ha!e folded <oe9s hand7 Im"lied Odds The conce"t of im"lied odds is im"ortant in all ty"es of "oker7 Im"lied odds is a ratio that wei'hs the amount of money risked 6y 6ettin' a'ainst the amount of money that can 6e won if you hit your hand and 'et your o""onent to "ay you off7 For e am"le8 if you 6et C1383338 hit your o!erfull8 and fi'ure
$14

to win C4383338 your im"lied odds would 6e 4>1 =6ettin' C138333 to win C438333?7 So when decidin' whether to call8 6et8 raise or fold8 you make a risk>reward calculation 6ased on your odds of winnin'8 how much you will 'et "aid 6ack8 and how 6i' the "ot is relati!e to that sum7 That is8 you look at the im"lied odds of the situation7 In limit "oker8 it9s a lot easier to calculate your im"lied odds 6ecause of the structure of the 'ame7 For e am"le8 su""ose you9re "layin' C18333#C$8333 limit and you ha!e a flush draw on the turn7 ;ou know that it9s a6out 2 to 1 a'ainst makin' the flush7 The "ot is already C1$83338 and your o""onent 6ets C$83337 ;ou9re 'ettin' 1 to 1 odds to make a flush8 so it9s a slam>dunk to call the 6et7 ;our C$8333 6et could turn into C128333 or e!en C1/8333 and u" if the "ot is raised on the ri!er7 Pot>limit is much different8 6ecause many times you9ll "ut your money in8 e!en thou'h the current "ot odds aren9t in your fa!orD 6ut you do so ho"in' that the odds will im"ro!e later in the hand7 For e am"le8 let9s say that with one card to come8 you ha!e the nut flush draw7 -'ain8 the odds are 2 to 1 a'ainst your makin' it7 If there9s CI8333 in the "ot and some6ody 6ets CI83338 you9re only 'ettin' $ to 1 "ot odds if you call7 ;ou can9t "ossi6ly call unless you 6elie!e that you9ll 'et called for a C1I8333 6et if you make the flush on the ri!er7 If you think all this will ha""en8 you9ll 6e 'ettin' I to 1 im"lied odds =6ettin' CI8333 to win C$I8333? on your money in a 2 to 1 set u"8 so that9s a 'ood reward7 For this "lay to work8 thou'h8 you ha!e to know your o""onents and really 6elie!e they9ll call7 ,enerally s"eakin'8 if someone 6ets and you call8 your o""onents will "ut you on a draw7 Then if the 6oard chan'es and you make that draw8 it9s harder to 'et "aid off 6ecause they9ll sus"ect that you9!e 'ot it7 It9s what we call the re!erse>"lay odds8 meanin' you can9t necessarily e "ect to 'et "aid off7 ;ou ha!e to know your o""onent and his frame of mind at the time7 Is he winnin' or losin'E Is he frustratedE -ll of these !aria6les 'o into the formula of how you "lay im"lied odds7 -nd that9s why they can 6e dece"ti!e7 In fact8 im"lied odds can 6e dece"ti!e in two ways7 =1? They can fool you into thinkin' that you are 'oin' to 'et "aid off8 and that you therefore should callD and =$? they can fool you into thinkin'
$03

there9s no way you9ll 'et "aid off8 so you shouldn9t call7 ;ou9re sim"ly makin' an educated 'uess7 How im"ortant are im"lied odds in tournament "layE They9re im"ortant8 of course8 6ut they aren9t always as im"ortant as they are in cash 'ames7 In tournament "lay8 e!en if the im"lied odds are 'ood enou'h to 6et8 you mi'ht 6om6 out of the tournament if you lose the hand7 Therefore8 e!en if the im"lied odds are in your fa!or8 you mi'ht not want to risk takin' a draw when someone makes a lar'e 6et that would reJuire riskin' the last of your money7 On the other hand8 you ha!e to win some money to stay in the tournament8 so it9s a dilemma7 Playin' with a Pair Showin' on the (oard +hen the (oard Pairs on the Flo" It9s Omaha 131K +hen a "air comes on the flo"8 e!ery6ody "lays !ery cautiously7 I think it is almost a cardinal rule that when a "air a""ears on the flo" in Omaha8 you9re not 'oin' to try to make a flush or a strai'ht7 In hold9em8 when there is a "air showin' on the 6oard8 chances are slim that one of your o""onents has a full house8 so drawin' to a flush or strai'ht isn9t always 6ad7 (ut when there9s a "air on the 6oard in Omaha8 it9s all too likely that someone has flo""ed a full house or has a 'ood chance of makin' one with the same card that you need to make your strai'ht7 If the flo" comes 0>1> 18 for e am"le8 and you ha!e <>13>4> 8 the "erson who has a 1 in his hand may !ery well also ha!e an 08 48 138 or Back8 which are connectin' cards7 The one e ce"tion to this rule comes into "lay when you feel stron'ly that your o""onent is "layin' aces or kin's8 and you ha!e either the nut flush draw or the nut wra" to a strai'ht7 Su""ose your o""onent raised 6efore the flo"8 and you9re almost "ositi!e that he raised with aces8 which often ha""ens :this is another reason why you don9t want to tell "eo"le that you ha!e aces 6y raisin' 6efore the flo"7 Then the 6oard comes 0>1>18 and you ha!e <>13>4> 7 ;our o""onent 6ets into you7 +hat do you doE If you can9t 'uess what he has8 you9ll "ro6a6ly ha!e to throw your hand away7 (ut if he reraised 6efore the flo":and most reraises come from "layers who ha!e "ocket aces or 6i' cards:you mi'ht !ery well "lay the hand7
$01

The O!erfull7 +hen there9s a "air on 6oard8 you can also make an o!erfull house or an underfull house7 If the flo" comes ->1>1 and you ha!e "ocket aces8 you ha!e the o!erfull7 Naturally8 this is the 6est "osition you can 6e in7 Furthermore8 you should 6et8 lookin' to catch someone who has a se!en in his hand or e!en 6etter8 an ->18 the underfull7 Or su""ose the flo" comes 0>1>1 to your "ocket ei'hts or H>1>1 to your "ocket kin's7 In either case8 you want to 6et or raise immediately8 tryin' to 'et as much money in the "ot as you can7 ;ou9re lookin' for someone who has a 1 in his hand to 'i!e you some action7 ;ou could also check8 ho"in' that someone with a 1 will 6et8 allowin' you to reraise him7 The Lnderfull7 It9s hard to make money with an underfull7 If you ha!e "ocket deuces8 for e am"le8 and the flo" comes 1>1>$8 you9re in Beo"ardy7 If someone "lays with you8 chances are he has a 17 ;ou ha!e a wonderful hand on the flo"8 6ut unless a deuce comes off on the turn8 you9re in a lot of trou6le7 If you can raise and 'et a lot of money in early8 you9re Bustified in "layin' the hand7 (ut if you raise and there9s still a whole lot of money left to "lay8 you9ll ha!e trou6le e!en callin' one 6i' 6et after another card comes off7 In Omaha8 many "eo"le8 includin' me8 "lay small connectors such as 2>.>$>$7 +hile small "airs can make you a lot of money in the ri'ht situation8 they aren9t "articularly 'ood hands to "lay in Omaha8 and they can 'et you into a lot of trou6le7 Of course8 it always de"ends on what hand you "ut your o""onent on7 +hen the (oard Pairs on the Turn or the 5i!er +hen the 6oard "airs on the turn or the ri!er8 there9s a 'ood chance that someone has made a full house7 ;ou must 6e cautious a6out "layin' an underfull in these scenarios7 Su""ose the 6oard comes Q>0>1 and you ha!e a "air of se!ens in your handD someone 6ets and you call7 Off comes an 0 on the turn8 so the 6oard now reads Q>0>1>07 ;ou ha!e the underfull8 and you9re in Beo"ardy7 +hen you make an underfull on the turn or ri!er8 you ha!e a hand that is !ery hard to 'et "aid off with8 es"ecially on the ri!er7 If the 6oard "airs on the ri!er8 you should rarely if e!er raise with an underfull7 It9s okay to 6et8 6ut if you 'et raised8 you9re 6eaten unless your
$0$

o""onent is on an a6solute 6luff7 Essentially8 if you9re 44 "ercent sure that you ha!e the 6est hand 6ut the only hand that you know your o""onent will call with will 6eat you8 then you should not 6et7 -n underfull is a hand you can 6et for !alue8 6ut if you 'et raised8 6e aware that the only hand you can 6eat is a 6luff7 - 'ood Omaha "layer won9t raise with strai'hts or flushes on the ri!er when there9s a "air on 6oard7 If he thinks you9re 6luffin'8 he mi'ht call with a strai'ht or flush8 6ut he won9t raise7 I9m not sayin' that you shouldn9t 6et an underfull7 If a man 6ets on the turn with a strai'ht or flush "ossi6ility on 6oard8 then he checks to you when the 6oard "airs on the ri!er8 you9re "ro6a6ly 'oin' to 6et your underfull7 <ust 6e cautious a6out callin' a raise on the ri!er7 I ha!e laid down many an underfull on the ri!er a'ainst a raise7 Playin' Two Pair In 'eneral8 the only two "airs that are any 'ood in Omaha are the to" two7 To" and 6ottom "air8 and 6ottom two "air are e tremely !ulnera6le7 It is !ery difficult to win a lot of money with them8 6ut it9s easy to lose a lot7 -s a rule8 they aren9t worth "layin' for two reasonsK =1? ;ou can easily 6e 6eat 6y to" two "air or a set8 in which case you ha!e !ery few outs7 =$? E!en if you ha!e the 6est hand8 it may not look !ery 'ood as soon as another card comes off7 In Omaha8 an im"ortant Juestion to ask yourself when you are holdin' two "air or Bust a6out any hand8 for that matter8 is8 @+hat card do I need to hel" my hand8 and how much will it hel" some6ody elseEA For e am"le8 in a recent shorthanded 'ame8 the flo" came 13>/>$7 +ith si es and deuces8 I was 43 "ercent sure that my hand was 'ood at the time8 6ut as soon as one card comes off8 what 'ood would it 6eE Lnless I cau'ht a / or a $8 any card that came off the deck would ha!e "ut me in Beo"ardy7 So8 I threw it away7 In Omaha8 "layin' e!en the to" two "air can 6e less "rofita6le than you think7 Here9s an e am"le from a 'ame I "layed7 I had tens and nines on a flo" of 13>4>$7 - "layer I9ll refer to as @-lA led at it8 and another "layer called7 I
$0.

wasn9t willin' to raise with my to" two "air 6ecause it would ha!e "ut me in too much Beo"ardy a'ainst this ty"e of 6oard7 I called8 6ut I was still !ery leery 6ecause if any card from a / to a kin' came off8 my hand would 6e !ulnera6le7 The turn card was a I8 which "ro6a6ly hel"ed no one7 I checked8 and -l 6et C1183337 The third man called the 6et with all the money he had left on the ta6le7 I still thou'ht that I had the 6est hand8 so I raised C.383338 thinkin' that -l was on some ty"e of draw and I had the 6est of it7 -l folded7 +hen we turned our hands u"8 the third man had the same hand I did and we s"lit the "ot7 To" and (ottom Pair +hen hold9em "layers come into an Omaha 'ame8 they often think that to" and 6ottom "air is a !ery 'ood hand8 as it is in Te as hold9em7 (ut it9s a !ery "oor hand in Omaha8 e ce"t when you 6elie!e your o""onent has aces7 In Omaha 'ames8 a reraise:not the ori'inal raise:'enerally means "ocket aces7 ,enerally8 a "layer with anythin' less than aces won9t reraise8 6ecause he reali%es that he will 6e !ulnera6le if he runs into aces and mi'ht wind u" lookin' at a 6et that he can9t e!en call7 Therefore8 when you know that a "layer has reraised with aces =as in the e am"le 6elow?8 to" and 6ottom "air look fantastic7 I rarely raise with aces8 6ut I ha!e 6een known to make e ce"tions to my rule7 In a side 'ame that my friends and I "layed durin' a recent +orld Poker Tour e!ent8 some6ody raised C083338 and )hi" 5eese called7 I thou'ht he had raised C1383338 so I tried to reraise C.I8333 with my ->- dou6le>suited7 -s it turned out8 I could only raise a6out C$083338 and )hi" called my reraise7 The flo" came H><>07 )hi" flo""ed Backs and ei'hts and mo!ed in7 Had I not reraised 6efore the flo"8 )hi" would not ha!e called after the flo" with Bust Backs and ei'hts7 (ut he knew for a fact that I had aces:I mi'ht as well ha!e shown it7 There was a slim chance that I could ha!e had ->H>H>Q dou6le> suited or a similar hand8 and with a kin' on the 6oard8 he was takin' a little risk7 (ut the "oint is that his Backs and ei'hts 6ecame a !ery 6i' hand e actly 6ecause he could "ut me on aces7 -nd that9s why it9s usually 6est not to raise with aces in Omaha7 To" Two Pair
$02

To" two "air is "laya6le in many situations8 6ut it9s still a dan'erous hand7 Flo""in' to" two "air a'ainst a 6oard like Q>1>$ is 6est8 6ecause there aren9t many hands that could 6e drawin' to that 6oard7 +ith a hand like ->H>Q>18 that flo" doesn9t look so 6ad8 since your Jueens and se!ens ha!e a chance to im"ro!e7 This is much 6etter than flo""in' to" two "air on a 6oard of 13E 4E $E8 6ecause you are !ulnera6le to strai'ht and flush draws7 Or su""ose the flo" comes H><>08 as it did in an earlier e am"le7 If you ha!e kin's and Backs8 you ha!e a !ulnera6le hand 6ecause the ne t card off could com"lete a strai'ht for an o""onent7 - lot of "eo"le will call a 6et on the flo" with a strai'ht or flush draw8 so two "air must 6e "layed !ery carefully7 - two>"air hand "lays 6etter from a late "osition 6ecause after the cards come off8 you see what your o""onent does in front of you without ha!in' to commit yourself7 So you can duck a scare card if you want7 On the flo"8 your o""onent won9t know where you9re at in the hand8 so if he checks8 you can check 6ehind him7 Or you could 'et most of your money in 6efore the turn card comes so that you don9t ha!e to make any 'uesses7 Playin' *ou6le PairsK My $I Percent 5ule I mentioned earlier that I like to "lay hands such as -E 4E 0E 1E8 with the ace suited8 6ecause they don9t 'et me into a lot of trou6le7 I also like to "lay two> "air hands8 and sometimes I9ll raise with them8 e!en if they9re smaller "airs like nines and si es or ei'hts and fi!es7 The rationale 6ehind raisin' 6efore the flo" with two small "air is that you ha!e a lot of dece"tion 'oin' for you7 +hen you raise8 "eo"le "ut you on 6i' "airs or 6i' cards7 If the flo" comes somethin' like <>0>I and you ha!e "ocket fi!es8 they don9t "ut you on tri" fi!es 6ecause you raised 6efore the flo"8 so they9re 'oin' to "lay their two> "air hands7 Not only is this ty"e of hand dece"ti!e8 it has the "otential for makin' a little more money if you make your set7 O6!iously8 it9s easier to make money with 'ood hands in raised "ots than in unraised "ots7 Howe!er you can9t carry thin's to the e treme:deuces and threes aren9t "articularly 'ood hands7 ;ou could flo" a set and still not 6e ha""y a6out it7 My $I "ercent rule is sim"ly a reminder that you will flo" a set one out of four times when you start with two "ocket "air7 It9s "retty much8 @No set8 no
$0I

6et8A unless an accidental strai'ht com6ination lea!es you in contention7 ;our raise re"resented a 6i' "air8 so if the flo" comes <>/>$ unsuited8 you mi'ht take a sta6 at the "ot if you miss7 Playin' -ces I think that more money has 6een lost with a "air of aces in Omaha than has 6een won7 Lnlike in hold9em8 where they hold u" more than I3 "ercent of the time8 aces 'enerally ha!e to im"ro!e to win in Omaha7 If a strai'ht is "ossi6le on the 6oard8 anythin' less than a set of aces is a tou'h hand to "lay7 If you raised 6efore the flo" and then a "air flo"s:it comes 1>$>$8 for e am"le:you9re !ulnera6le 6ecause you9re almost forced to 6et7 -nyone who has a deuce knows that you "ro6a6ly ha!e "ocket aces8 and he is 'oin' to come o!er the to" of you8 so you9re already "layin' a 6i' "ot7 Howe!er8 if you didn9t raise 6efore the flo" and it comes 1>$>$8 you can make a sta6 at it7 Then if you 'et reraised8 you can throw your hand away7 It9s harder to do that when you9!e committed to the "ot 6efore the flo"7 There is a downside to raisin' 6efore the flo"7 E!en if your o""onents know that you9re a''ressi!e and mi'ht ha!e raised with any four cards8 you9re still "uttin' yourself in Beo"ardy 6ecause you9re forcin' yourself to 6et mar'inal hands on the flo" that you normally wouldn9t 6et7 If you raised 6efore the flo" with "ocket aces8 you would ha!e to 6et on the 1>$>$ flo" 6ecause there9s Bust too much money in the "ot to lea!e it layin' out there7 Now su""ose the flo" comes 1>$>$ in an unraised "ot and e!eryone checks around to you7 ;ou mi'ht make a small sta6 at it8 and if you 'et raised8 you would "ro6a6ly throw it away7 Or you mi'ht want to let one more card come off for free and see what ha""ens7 (ut remem6er that since e!ery "layer has si hands8 it9s !ery easy to hit 'utshots or make a set with a small "air8 so it9s e traordinarily dan'erous to 'i!e free cards7 To reca"8 unless you9re an e traordinarily a''ressi!e "layer who raises all the time8 you should not usually raise with aces 6efore the flo"7 One could e!en make an ar'ument that you should ne!er raise 6efore the flo" with aces8 6ecause e!en if you9re a 'ood "layer and your o""onents can9t "ut you on aces8 the fact that you "ut so much money in the "ot forces you to defend your aces o!er !ery risky flo"s7
$0/

Put sim"ly8 a reraise with aces almost screams at your o""onents8 @I ha!e acesFA -nd once you9!e told "eo"le that you ha!e aces8 6ottom two "air and to" and 6ottom "air look 'ood to them8 and any set looks like a monster on the flo"7 -lmost as im"ortant8 a hand that flo"s one "air with nine cards to make two "air looks "retty 'ood to your o""onents7 For e am"le8 let9s say that I Bust call an o""onent9s "re>flo" reraise with 13>4>0>1 and the flo" comes 1>I>$7 I know that he has aces8 6ut I fi'ure that I ha!e a "retty 'ood hand7 In order to 6eat him8 I need to catch a 138 48 or 0 to "ick u" a second "air8 a / to make a 'utshot strai'ht8 or a 1 to make tri"s7 There are four si es and two se!ens8 "lus nine other cards:fifteen outs total :that I could catch to 6eat him8 so I9m a6out e!en money to win7 My o""onent9s aces are !ulnera6le in this situation7 Of course8 if I didn9t know that he had aces and he 6et on the 1>I>$ flo"8 I would 6e more careful7 -ny time you ad!ertise that you ha!e aces8 unless you can 'et three Juarters or more of your money in the "ot8 Bust call and wait to see what ha""ens on the flo":e!en if you9re normally an e tremely a''ressi!e "layer7 Playin' a *rawin' Hand *rawin' hands are a 6i' "art of Omaha7 ;ou can turn monsters that are fa!orites o!er sets7 It9s easy to turn nut flush draws8 nut flush draws with a strai'ht draw8 or a wra" with a flush draw8 all of which are dan'erous hands for your o""onents to draw a'ainst7 If some6ody 6ets into them8 many "layers8 includin' me8 will raise with 6i' draws such as a flush draw with a strai'ht draw or may6e two "air with a flush draw7 If you ha!e a drawin' hand and you9!e 6een 'i!en a free card8 it9s dan'erous to 6et on the turn8 es"ecially from late "osition7 If you 6et it8 you9re 'i!in' someone the o""ortunity to come o!er the to" for all his money7 If you 'et most of your money in on the flo"8 it9s fineD 6ut if you make a small 6et on the flo" and 'et called8 and nothin' ha""ens on the turn8 then it9s a 'ood idea to check and wait to see what ha""ens on the ri!er7 -nother reason not to 6et a 'ood draw from a late "osition is that you can 6e a little more dece"ti!e7 Let9s say that you ha!e the nut flush draw with one card to come7 ;ou 6et from the late "osition with a clu6 draw and 'et called7 Then a clu6 comes on the ri!er8 'i!in' you the nut flush7 ;our o""onent is
$01

'oin' to "ut you on a flush 6ecause the 6oard looks dan'erous7 In other words8 it will 6e harder for you to 'et "aid off7 Now8 su""ose you check the turn and a clu6 comes on the ri!er7 ;our o""onent mi'ht check and call when you 6et7 The "oint is that you can 6e a little dece"ti!e 6y checkin' a 6i' drawin' hand rather than 6ettin' it7 *on9t ,i!e Free )ards In hold9em8 when you ha!e a 6i' hand8 you want your o""onent to catch u" a little8 so you9ll 'et "aid off7 Therefore8 if you are far ahead in the hand8 you don9t mind 'i!in' away a free card7 In Omaha you rarely want to 'i!e your o""onent a chance to im"ro!e and catch u" with you7 For e am"le8 if the flo" is ->1>1 and I ha!e "ocket aces8 I would 6et 6ecause I9m trollin' for a 17 This means I make a 6et and ho"e someone with tri" se!ens calls7 I9m settin' a tra"7 If none of my o""onents has a 18 I9m not 'oin' to make any money7 (ut if some6ody has one and takes the 6ait8 I stand to make some "retty 'ood money7 +hen you 'i!e free cards8 there9s a chance that an o""onent with a "air will catch a two>outer to 6eat you or that he9ll make a 'utshot strai'ht8 which ha""ens often7 -lso8 remem6er that a lot of 6ackdoor hands are "ossi6le in Omaha7 (ackdoor flushes8 in "articular8 don9t always ha!e to 6e the nuts to win the "ot7 So8 if you ha!e a hand on the flo"8 you should usually 6et it7 -lso8 sometimes you ha!e to 6e "re"ared to throw the hand away7 Let9s say that the flo" comes <>0>$ and you ha!e to" and 6ottom "air7 E!ery6ody checks around to you8 and you 6et it8 mainly 6ecause you don9t want to 'i!e a free card7 ;ou want to "ick u" the "ot ri'ht there7 If you 'et raised8 it9s "retty easy to throw it away7 If you 'et called8 you ha!e to 6e cautious from that "oint onward7 This doesn9t mean that you shouldn9t 6et this ty"e of handD you9re still tryin' to "ick u" a "ot with a little 6it of somethin'7 If you Bust sit there and say8 @I can9t 6et these mar'inal hands8A you aren9t 'oin' to win in Omaha7 ;ou take sta6s at "ots8 6ut you9re also "re"ared to fold if you 'et raised7 -nother factor to consider if you9re 6ettin' these hands as well as your 'ood hands8 such as to" set8 is that your o""onents may not 6e a6le to "ut you on Bust two "air7 (ettin' +hen ;ou )an9t )all
$00

Many times you make 6ets in Omaha that you cannot call if you 'et raised7 This often ha""ens when you make a 6et in order to a!oid 'i!in' a free card7 (ut you should still 'o ahead and 6et 6ecause if you don9t8 you9re Bust too !ulnera6le and you9re not 'oin' to "ick u" many "ots7 To win at Omaha8 you must "ick u" some small "ots7 5aisin' To Protect a Hand Su""ose you ha!e to" two "air or a set8 and you want to 'et some money into the "ot7 The flo" comes 13E 4E $E7 ;ou ha!e the -E 13E 13E 2E7 E!en thou'h you ha!e to" set and the nut flush draw8 your hand is still !ulnera6le to a strai'ht draw7 Su""ose an o""onent has a H>Q in his hand8 you let a free card come off8 and he catches a Back7 Many times8 he9ll ha!e a wra" and call your 6et8 and you9ll lose7 It9s one thin' to lose when you9!e "ut money into the "ot8 6ut it9s somethin' else to 'i!e him a free card and lose7 Playin' the Turn If you9re 'oin' to call on the ri!er8 you mi'ht as well raise on the turn:this is a fundamental conce"t in "ot>limit and no>limit "oker8 es"ecially when your 'ame has a ca"7 Let9s su""ose a "erson 6ets into you on the turn7 -lthou'h you ha!e a callin' hand8 you don9t know if it9s the 6est one out there8 6ut you9re "lannin' to call on the ri!er with your last money anyway7 In this case8 you mi'ht as well raise8 6ecause if you Bust call8 you9re 'i!in' him a free shot7 For e am"le8 let9s say that there9s a "ossi6le flush on 6oard8 you ha!e the kin'>hi'h flush8 and someone 6ets into you7 If you9!e made u" your mind that you9re 'oin' to call him on the ri!er8 don9t wait for him to 6et it a'ain8 6ecause he mi'ht not:'o ahead and raise7 He mi'ht ha!e two "air or three of a kind8 and he9s "ro6a6ly 'oin' to call the raise7 +ith this "lay8 you9re 'oin' to make more money if you win at the ri!er8 and if you lose8 you9ll still only lose the same amount7 There are two e ce"tions to this rule7 If you are "lannin' to call on the ri!er8 you should not automatically raise the turn ifK =1? you think he9s 6luffin' and you ha!e such a 'ood hand that you want him to 6luff into you a'ainD or =$? you ha!e a "owerful hand that is far 6etter than his 'ood hand8 so you
$04

don9t want to scare him off7 (y Bust callin' in these situations8 you9re inducin' your o""onent to 6et at the ri!er7 Sometimes 6y raisin' on the turn you mi'ht e!en 'et "eo"le to lay down 6etter hands than yours7 Let9s say that with a Back>hi'h flush8 you know that you9re 'oin' to call on the ri!er8 and your o""onent 6ets into you on the turn7 If you mo!e in on him in this situation8 he mi'ht lay down a kin'>hi'h flush7 Here9s another story that illustrates this "ointK In a hand that I "layed with *a!id Sklansky8 the flo" came H>Q><> 7 *a!id 6et on the flo"8 and I called him with three kin's7 On the turn8 after no hel" came8 he 6et a'ain7 I had made u" my mind that I was 'oin' to call him on the ri!er8 so I raised him7 +ell8 'uess whatE He didn9t ha!e the ->13 for the nut strai'htD he had the 13> 4:and he threw it away7 (y raisin' I told him that I had the 6est hand7 Playin' the 5i!er Playin' the ri!er is a !ery interestin' as"ect of Omaha7 Here are a cou"le of "ointers that may hel" you win more or lose less on the ri!er7 If you ha!e the nuts8 it isn9t always the 6est idea to 6et the si%e of the "ot8 6ecause you9re forcin' "eo"le to "lay 'ood "oker7 ;ou9re sayin' to them8 @I ha!e the 6est hand and I9m 'onna 6et all this money8 so I su''est you dro"7A +ell8 'uess whatE They do Bust what you e "ect7 If the "ot is C238333 and you ha!e the 6est hand8 there9s nothin' wron' with 6ettin' only C1I8333 or C$383337 This is called sellin' the nuts7 ;ou make a moderate 6et so you9ll 'et "aid off7 This "lay also sets u" 6luffs for you7 If your o""onents know that you9ll sell the ri!er with the 6est hand 6ecause they9!e seen you do it8 a C1I8333 6et on the ri!er with a 6luff has the same im"act7 In this sense8 it9s win>win7 +hen you 6luff and 'et called8 you lose less7 -nd you 'et "aid off on your 'ood hands a lot more often7 Many "eo"le Bust can9t stand the idea of throwin' a hand away for a small amount of money:and that notion allows you to sell the nuts7 In 'eneral8 there is no reason to always 6et the si%e of the "ot on the ri!er when you ha!e the nuts8 unless you9re "retty sure that your o""onent will call7 - while a'o I "layed a hand a'ainst a man I9ll call Nate7 There was a Q>< on the 6oard8 and I had an ->H> > in my hand7 Nate made a 6i' 6et on the flo" and then he checked on the turn7 On the ri!er came a 138 'i!in' me
$43

the nut strai'ht7 My hand didn9t look like the nuts to him 6ecause he knew that I would ha!e raised him on the flo" with a wra"7 I 6et the "ot8 a6out C2383337 Nate thou'ht for a lon' time and then threw his hand away7 In retros"ect8 I re'retted 6ettin' that much:I wish I had 6et a6out C$38333 to make it look more like a 6luff8 in which case he may ha!e called7 Here9s a "lay that works 6etter a'ainst a!era'e "layers than to" "layersK Let9s say that you ha!e the second or third 6est hand8 like a strai'ht that9s not the 6est a!aila6le8 and you don9t know where your o""onent is at in the hand7 Or may6e you make a Jueen>hi'h flush on the ri!er8 6ut a'ain8 you9re not sure where he9s at7 *on9t make a full 6et:toss in somethin' small7 ;ou can throw the hand away if he raises8 6ecause he9s "ro6a6ly 'ot the nuts8 and of course8 you still mi'ht 'et "aid off if he calls7 (ut if you check and he 6ets8 you won9t know where he9s at7 If you try this "lay a'ainst 'ood "layers8 6e aware that it can work the other way:they9ll know what you9re doin' and will reraise you8 knowin' that you9re 'oin' to throw your hand away7 Makin' an Educated ,uess -6out ;our O""onents9 )ards ;ou can sometimes fi'ure out e actly what your o""onents9 holecards are throu'h inducti!e lo'ic7 Se!eral years a'o8 *oyle8 5o'er Moore8 and I "layed an interestin' hand that illustrates this "oint7 *oyle had ->-> > in his hand8 5o'er had a 13 with connectin' cards8 and I had an ->13> > 7 The flo" came ->13>137 *oyle 6et8 I called8 and 5o'er called7 -t this "oint8 I had no idea what *oyle had7 He may ha!e had a 'ood hand or he could ha!e 6een 6luffin'8 6ut I knew 5o'er wouldn9t call without a reasona6le hand7 5o'er must ha!e had either two aces or a 13 to ha!e made the call7 *oyle led at it a'ain on the turn8 so I knew that *oyle wasn9t 6luffin':the flo" was Bust too dan'erous to 6luff into a'ain with two "eo"le callin'7 -t that "oint8 I should ha!e thrown my hand away7 +hyE (ecause e!en if *oyle didn9t ha!e two aces8 I thou'ht 5o'er did7 Lnfortunately8 I called7 +hen 5o'er threw his hand away8 I knew for sure that 5o'er had a 138 I a6solutely knew it8 6ecause he called and then folded7 -t that "oint8 I also knew that *oyle could not ha!e a 138 since 5o'er had one and I held another8 so he
$41

o6!iously had two aces7 On the ri!er *oyle 6et for the third time7 There was Bust no hand in the deck that he could ha!e other than two aces7 E!en thou'h *oyle9s last 6et was relati!ely small8 I showed him my hand of tens full of aces and threw it away7 He made some unflatterin' remarks as he showed me his two aces7 This hand clearly shows how 'ood "layers are a6le to deci"her an o""onent9s hand7 -lthou'h not as cut>and>dried as this e am"le8 a similar hand came u" in a recent +orld Poker Tour no>limit hold9em tournament7 I "layed my ->13 6adly8 6ut this time I won a 6i' "ot with it7 Sittin' in middle "osition8 I raised 6efore the flo" with an ->138 (illy ,rey called on the 6utton8 and an elderly "layer who was short>chi""ed called from the 6i' 6lind7 The flo" came ->-> .7 I 6et C18I338 and (illy raised C.8I33 more7 I thou'ht that may6e (illy had an ->0 or ->4 and was testin' me to find out where he was at in the hand7 (ut then the senior mo!ed in with his last C183337 -t that "oint8 I should ha!e 'i!en credit to either "layer and thrown my hand away7 +hat could I 6eatE May6e I was Bust 6ein' nai!e in thinkin' that (illy had an ->0 and was "ro6in' the stren'th of my hand8 and that the elderly 'entleman had two kin's7 Of course8 it Bust wasn9t "ossi6le that the senior had mo!ed in with his case money if he didn9t ha!e at least ->H or ->Q7 I called anyway7 (ut as 6adly as I "layed it on the flo"8 (illy "layed it e!en worse on the turn when a 13 slid off the deck7 I 6et C138333 with my full house8 and he mo!ed in C1I8333 more7 +hat did he think I was 6ettin'E *id he think that I would 6et an ->H or ->Q at that "ointE ,i!e me a 6reak:this was a dry "otF The third man was all>in8 and it was o6!ious that he had sent all his chi"s in with a 'ood hand8 so there was no "oint in my 6luffin' at the "ot7 +hat was I 'oin' to do8 try to 'et (illy out so that I can lose to the third 'uyE (illy should ha!e fi'ured out "retty Juickly that he had the worst hand7 -s it turned out8 (illy had .>. and the senior 'entleman had ->.7 True8 I "layed it 6adly when I called on the flo"8 6ut they should ha!e known that I wouldn9t "ut C138333 in on the turn if I didn9t ha!e somethin'7 If I hadn9t hit my kicker8 I would ha!e checked and (illy would ha!e 6et7 Then8 reali%in' that (illy was 6ettin' into a dry "ot8 I would ha!e 'i!en credit to the third man for an ->H or ->Q8 and I would ha!e folded7
$4$

In retros"ect8 I think that (illy may ha!e 6een !ery tired after "layin' tournament "oker for so many days in a row7 In order to "lay "oker well8 you need to think well7 I9!e found that when I 'et tired8 I don9t "lay cards well8 I let the cards "lay me7 If I9m Bust lookin' for a 'ood hand8 not out there thinkin' a6out e!erythin'8 it9s time to 'o to 6ed7 O!er the course of a week9s "lay at "oker8 each sim"le mistake can cost you tons of money7 Three of those mistakes durin' a tri" can mean the difference 6etween winnin' and losin'7 FIN-L NOTES Playin' Shorthanded Shorthanded "ot>limit Omaha is Juite a different 'ame than a rin' 'ame and reJuires different skills7 - lot of "eo"le who "lay !ery 'ood rin' 'ame Omaha can9t "lay shorthanded8 and !ice !ersa7 - friend of mine from Houston who "lays su"er>a''ressi!e is a much 6etter shorthanded "layer 6ecause he raises !irtually e!ery "ot7 In a shorthanded 'ame8 that works 6ecause you aren9t always u" a'ainst Juality hands7 (ut if you continually raise in a rin' 'ame8 you will often find yourself u" a'ainst su"erior hands and will 6e takin' the worst of it7 Peo"le 6luff a lot in shorthanded "lay 6ecause8 'enerally s"eakin'8 no one flo"s a 'ood enou'h hand to call with7 -dditionally8 the nut hand isn9t out there nearly as often7 I find that "layin' shorthanded is more fun than "layin' in a full 'ameK ;ou "lay more hands8 and it isn9t 6orin' 6ecause as soon as you dro"8 another hand starts7 <ust remem6er that shorthanded Omaha reJuires a different set of skills7 +hat Se"arates -!era'e Players From To" Players I think that what se"arates a!era'e "layers from 'ood "layers is the amount of money a!era'e "layers lose with "ocket aces 6efore the flo" and with full houses7 If you o!er"lay your aces 6efore the flo"8 and if you9re not ca"a6le of layin' down a full house:es"ecially an underfull:when it9s "retty o6!ious that you9re 6eat8 you9re 'oin' to lose 6i' "ots "layin' Omaha7 If you "lay enou'h Omaha8 these 6i' hands will mean the difference 6etween winnin'
$4.

and losin'8 so you ha!e to "lay them in such a way that you won9t lose a lot of money7 -nd when you "lay an underfull8 you must 6e careful not to o!er> commit to the "ot8 e!en in shorthanded 'ames7 Let me tell you a little story Bust to show you how dan'erous these hands can 6e7 In a shorthanded 'ame8 a "layer I9ll call @*onA and I each had a little 6it of money in 6efore the flo"7 The 6oard came H>H>138 and althou'h I had a kin' in my hand8 I Bust checked7 *on 6et around C.83337 I thou'ht he was 6luffin'8 6ut as it turned out8 he had two tens7 I called8 off came a four on the turn8 and I made kin's full of fours7 He 6et C1383338 and I raised him his last C138333 to "ut him all>in7 Since we were "layin' shorthanded8 it was more difficult for *on to 'et away from his hand7 He called8 showed down his tens full of kin's8 and lost all his money7 This e am"le Bust shows you how easy it is to lose a 6i' "ot with an underfull7 *on couldn9t ha!e won as much money with tens full as he could ha!e lost if I made kin's full7 In this e am"le8 if I9d held somethin' like H>Q>I>28 I still would ha!e seen that flo"7 That9s not an a6solutely "remium startin' hand of course8 6ut when you9re "layin' three> or four>handed8 you can "lay almost any four cards7 That is8 you9ll ha!e a little more latitude in your startin' hands as lon' as you "lay well on the flo"8 turn8 and ri!er7 -'ain8 it9s risk>reward:for e am"le8 if you9re "layin' C$33#C233 6linds and there is CI38333 or C/38333 on the ta6le8 you can take a lot of flo"s for C233 if the "ayoff mi'ht 6e C$38333 to C.383337 Lyle (erman9s Hiller )ards )hart In the late 1403s8 I was twiddlin' my thum6s in my condo in Nail8 forced 6y the crummy weather to stay inside all day7 Sittin' in front of the fire"lace8 I started to wonder what a killer card is worth in Omaha7 For e am"le8 su""ose you ha!e a set or two "air and your o""onent is drawin' to a strai'ht or a flush7 If he makes his strai'ht or flush on the turn8 you could still kill him on the turn or the ri!er 6y makin' a full house for the 6est hand7 Or8 you could make your full house on the turn8 and he would 6e drawin' dead7 I knew that killer cards were !ery !alua6le8 6ut I didn9t know e actly what they were worth7 -ll I had with me was a calculator8 6ut I was a6le to come
$42

u" with a formula that 'enerated the chart 6elow8 which has ne!er 6efore a""eared in "rint7 If I were 'i!en Bust a 6asic calculator today and forced to stay "ut in a room for a week8 I wouldn9t 6et that I could recreate this chart7 I 6elie!e it is "erfect7 The chart shows how many wins you ha!e8 assumin' that you9re the do'8 the "erson who does not ha!e the 6est hand7 +hen you ha!e a set8 you actually ha!e two calculations to consider:one on the turn and one on the ri!er7 ;ou ha!e se!en cards to kill with on the turn7 In other words8 you ha!e se!en cards that will make a full house or four>of>a>kind8 and if you don9t make it8 you ha!e three more 6ecause the ri!er can "air that card as well7 So you ha!e se!en and then ten8 for se!enteen outs or killers7 The chart shows the 21>card "ercenta'es for Omaha7 +e are concentratin' on the 21>card "ercenta'es8 and the ei'ht killer columns to the ri'ht a""ly to Omaha7 The fourth column shows what each killer card is worth in Omaha =it9s !ery similar in hold9em? and e tra"olates from there7 (asically8 the chart shows that in order to 6e I3>I3 a'ainst a set8 you really need se!enteen outs twice7 This is si'nificant for Omaha8 6ecause most "eo"le think it9s thirteen or fourteen8 as it is in hold9em7

$4I

T5IPLE *5-+ 6y *aniel Ne'reanu INT5O*L)TION In recent years8 tri"le draw has steadily increased in "o"ularity7 In fact8 these days you will rarely find a hi'h>limit 'ame at the (ella'io in Las Ne'as that does not include some form of tri"le draw7 Ty"ically8 ta6les that are C$33#C233 and hi'her are mi ed 'ames8 so in order to "artici"ate you9ll ha!e to learn the fundamentals of se!eral forms of "oker8 includin' tri"le draw7 In this cha"ter8 we9ll co!er the deuce>to>se!en form of tri"le draw7 It is the more wides"read and intricate of the two most common tri"le draw 'ames8 the other 6ein' ace>to>fi!e low6all7 Most of what you9ll learn here a""lies to ace>to>fi!e as well8 6ut near the end of the cha"ter8 I will 'o o!er the key differences 6etween the two 'ames and the necessary adBustments you9ll need to make when mo!in' from one to the other7 There is a common misconce"tion amon' some hi'h>limit "layers that tri"le draw is nothin' more than a 'ame of "ure luck7 That9s sim"ly not the case7 +hile luck "lays a role in any 'i!en hand8 "layin' correctly will minimi%e any dan'erous swin's that luck may 6rin'8 and skill will "re!ail7 Tri"le draw has cau'ht on so Juickly 6ecause of the allure of action and 6i' "ots7 Ty"ical tri"le draw "ots are lar'er than those 'enerated 6y a hand of Omaha hi'h>low8 for e am"le7 ;ou9ll also notice that when you add tri"le draw to a mi of other 'ames8 it tends to li!en u" e!eryone9s "lay7 Tri"le draw is an action 'ame8 no Juestion a6out it7 ;ou9ll need to ha!e your seat 6elt on at all times7 To 6etter "re"are you for the 6um"y ride8 this cha"ter will 'i!e you all the tools you9ll need to 6ecome a winnin' "layer7 I9ll "ro!ide you with a 6asic set of "rinci"les that8 if followed closely8 should 6e enou'h to ena6le you to 6eat almost any tri"le draw 'ame in the world7 HO+ TO PL-; THE ,-ME (efore we 'et into any strate'y discussion8 it9s im"ortant that you understand the rules of the 'ame8 as well as how the 6ettin' works7 The rules are rather
$4/

sim"leK ;ou are dealt fi!e cards facedown and can choose to draw as many cards as you wish8 u" to three times7 ;ou can sto" drawin' at any "oint8 which is more commonly known as standin' "at7 In deuce>to>se!en tri"le draw8 the winner of the "ot at the showdown is the "layer with the worst "oker hand7 For e am"le8 $>.>2>I>1 with no flush is the worst hand in traditional "oker 6ut the 6est hand in deuce>to>se!en7 Strai'hts and flushes count a'ainst you in deuce>to>se!en8 so 2>I>0>4>Q would actually 6eat $>.>2>I>/8 a strai'ht7 -lso8 in deuce>to>se!en8 an ace can only 6e used for hi'h8 and not for low7 This leads to the rare case of the worst traditional "oker hand winnin'7 Since an ace is always hi'h8 I>2>.>$>- is not a strai'ht8 and it 6eats any "air or other ace>hi'h7 The rules for ace>to>fi!e are sli'htly different7 The 6est hand in ace>to>fi!e is sim"ly ->$>.>2>I7 Flushes and strai'hts don9t count a'ainst you8 and an ace is considered a one7 In this 'ame8 the winner of the "ot is the "layer with the fi!e lowest un"aired cards7 So ->$>.>I>Q would 6eat ->$>$>.>27 If8 6y the ri!er8 the two remainin' "layers 6oth ha!e a "air8 the lower "air wins7 For e am"leK ->->I>/>4 would 6eat $>$>.>2>I7 T5IPLE *5-+ LO+(-LL The *eal The deal is similar to hold9em8 with a 6utton8 small 6lind8 and8 of course8 a 6i' 6lind7 Since there are so many drawin' rounds8 this 'ame can only 6e "layed si >handedD otherwise you would run out of cards too often7 It is "ossi6le to "lay the 'ame se!en> or ei'ht>handed8 6ut only if "layers sit out on e!ery deal7 +hen "layin' se!en>handed8 the "layer to the left of the 6i' 6lind is forced to sit out one hand7 Ei'ht>handed8 the "layers in first and second "ositions sit out7 (ettin' In some areas of the South8 they "lay s"read>limit8 meanin' that in a C133#C233 'ame8 you can 6et from C133 to C233 at any time8 6ut the more "o"ular 6ettin' structure is fi ed limits7 If you are seated in a C$33#C233 tri"le draw 'ame8 the small 6lind "osts C133 and the 6i' 6lind C$337 If you are first to act8 you can fold8 call the C$338 or raise it to C2337 E!ery "layer
$41

after you has the same o"tionsK fold8 call8 or raise7 Once that action is com"lete8 there is another 6ettin' round8 also in C$33 increments8 after the first draw7 -fter the second draw8 the 6et dou6les7 ;ou can now 6et or raise C2337 Finally8 after the third draw8 the 6et is once a'ain C2337 So there are four 6ettin' rounds in total7 In a C$33#C233 'ame8 they would 6eK =1? C$33 6efore the first drawD =$? C$33 after the first drawD =.? C233 after the second drawD and =2? C233 after the third draw7 Now that we9!e 'ot that out of the way8 let9s look at what ty"es of hands we should 6e startin' with7 Startin' Hands First and foremostK *on9t lea!e the 'ate without a deuce7 In deuce>to>se!en tri"le draw8 the lowly deuce is more "owerful than any other card7 ;our 'oal in deuce>to>se!en tri"le draw would 6e to make a se!en8 and in order to do so8 you must ha!e a deuce in your hand7 There are four "ossi6le se!ens8 all of which contain a deuceK =1? $>.>2>I>1 =known as a wheel or num6er one8 for o6!ious reasons8 and eJui!alent in rankin' to the ->$>.>2>I wheel in ace>to>fi!e7? =$? $>.>2>/>1 =known as num6er two? =.? $>.>I>/>1 =known as num6er three? =2? $>2>I>/>1 =known as num6er four? +hile .>2>I>/>1 'i!es you fi!e cards to a se!en8 it also makes a strai'ht that can9t 6e used in deuce>to>se!en low6all7 So o6!iously8 most startin' hands ha!e a deuce in them7 Pat Hands If you are dealt a "at hand:a 'ood hand that reJuires no discardin' or drawin' on your "art:you want to "rotect it 6y "uttin' in e!ery 6et you can7 -ny "at se!en is a monster8 and while a "at ei'ht is 'reat8 it is also !ulnera6le7 For the most "art8 if you are dealt a "at se!en or ei'ht you won9t 6e drawin' at all8 and de"endin' on the action8 you9ll "ro6a6ly see the hand
$40

throu'h to the end7 Once you9!e decided to stay "at with your se!en or ei'ht8 there is no need to slow>"lay your hand7 (et and raise at e!ery o""ortunity 6efore the draw and after the first draw7 +ith a "at hand8 smooth callin' 6efore the draw is "ointless8 since your secret will 6e out as soon as the dealer asks you how many cards you want7 Once you say8 @I9m 'ood8A your o""onents will know that you ha!e a se!en8 ei'ht8 or may6e a nine7 - nine8 howe!er8 is more difficult to "lay7 In some situations8 it may 6e okay to stay "at with a nine8 6ut in 'eneral you want to a!oid e!en "layin' a rou'h nine7 ;ou9d 6e 6etter off "lacin' a hand like 4>0>1>/>2 in the muck than ho"in' it holds u" in a multiway "ot7 Howe!er8 if you held somethin' like 4>1>2>.>$8 you would ha!e a dynamite draw7 ;ou would discard the nine and ha!e three chances at a se!en7 ;ou are certainly a fa!orite to make at least a nine or 6etter with a draw like this8 since you9d ha!e fifteen outs three timesF That makes you a 6i' fa!orite o!er a foolish o""onent who stays "at with the same nine7 One>)ard *raws -ll se!en draws and most one>card ei'ht draws are "laya6le8 "ro!ided you don9t ha!e a strai'ht draw7 +hile 2>I>/>1 is only one card from makin' a se!en8 only the !alua6le $ will hel" you7 If you are in a multiway "ot8 there may not e!en 6e a $ left in the deck to sa!e youF E!en if you are lucky enou'h to catch a deuce8 your hand is far from un6eata6le7 If any other "layer makes his se!en8 the 6est you can do is tie7 Lnless you actually ha!e a wheel you always want to 6e heads>u"7 Of course8 if you ha!e a draw like $>.>2>18 you should welcome as many "layers as "ossi6le7 Howe!er8 to a!oid 'i!in' away information a6out the stren'th of your hand8 you should always raise and reraise with any one>card draw you decide to "lay7 -s I said "re!iously8 any 'ood se!en draw should 6e "layed a''ressi!ely8 re'ardless of your "osition8 "ro!ided you don9t ha!e a strai'ht draw7 To a lesser e tent8 if you decide to "lay a strai'ht draw8 such as $>.>2>I8 $>.>2>/8 $>.>I>/8 or $>2>I>/8 "lay it a''ressi!ely8 too7 +hile a 1 would 6e the "erfect catch for any of these four hands8 and an 0 would 6e welcome8 the strai'ht
$44

"otential makes them sli'htly less !alua6le than the other se!en draws7 +hile a one>card ei'ht draw with no strai'ht "ossi6le isn9t 6ad8 any ei'ht draw with a strai'ht "ossi6le is almost always un"laya6le7 Here are the one>card ei'ht draws you can often "layK These hands are too 'ood to fold7 +hen "layin' them8 thou'h8 6e sure to tar'et one o""onent or "ick u" the 6linds7 -ny time you "lay a one>card draw8 re'ardless of its rankin' on the stren'th chart8 you should 6e raisin' and reraisin' 6efore the first draw7 In fact8 any hand you choose to "lay 6efore the first draw should 6e raised7 There are few situations where lim"in' is correct7 If your hand is stron' enou'h to "lay8 "lay it a''ressi!ely7 If it9s not8 send it to the muck7 In tri"le draw8 your strate'y 6efore the draw should 6e similar to that used in limit hold9em 6efore the flo":ti'ht 6ut a''ressi!e7 Two>)ard *raws The maBority of the hands you "lay 6efore the first draw will 6e two>card draws7 The followin' two>card draws can 6e "layed for any amount of 6ets 6efore the drawK -ll these hands 'i!e you an o""ortunity later to draw at one card at the wheel without the "resence of a strai'ht draw7 If you are dealt any of these hands8 raise it7 In fact8 if you are in "osition8 I would ad!ise reraisin'7 That way you can isolate one "layer while ha!in' "osition8 which makes it easier to control the action7 $>.>2 !s7 $>.>1 !s7 There has always 6een a 'reat deal of de6ate o!er what the 6est startin' hand is when drawin' two7 Is it the $>.>2 or the $>.>1E Let me start 6y sayin' that it sim"ly doesn9t matter !ery much7 ;ou should "lay 6oth hands the same way7 The hands are so close in stren'th that wastin' too much time talkin' a6out which is 6etter is silly8 6ut I9m 'oin' to
.33

do it anyway to illustrate the conce"t7 -fter runnin' se!eral simulations8 I found the followin'K if the $>.>2 ran a'ainst "recisely $>.>18 the $>.>1 would 6e less than a 1 "ercent fa!orite7 That makes the $>.>1 the 6est hand then8 ri'htE +ron'7 -'ainst any other hand your o""onent mi'ht ha!e8 the $>.>2 would do 6etter than the $>.>17 Since you are rarely 'oin' to 6e in a situation where you hold $>.>2 a'ainst "recisely $>.>18 I would say that the $>.>2 is the 6est startin' hand in terms of two>card draws7 ;ou always want to 6e drawin' from the 6ottom u"7 The smoother your draw8 the more often you will win the "ot when 6oth you and your o""onent make your hand7 For e am"le8 if 6oth the $>.>2 and the $>.>1 make an 0>18 the $>.>2 can9t loseF The $>.>2 could make only $>.>2>1>08 while the $>.>1 would make 0>1s that look like thisK $>.>2>1>0 $>.>I>1>0 $>.>/>1>0 Notice how much stron'er the first 0 isE +ith the $>.>1 you9ll often ha!e to make a tou'h decision later as to whether or not you should draw to a $>.>1>0 or throw the 0 away and 'o for the wheel7 +ith the $>.>2 you would sim"ly kee" the 0 e!ery time7 (e +ary of the /7 There are four other two>card draw startin' hands that should also 6e "layed in most situations7 They are draws that contain a / that could still make you a 1>low7 Here they areK $>.>/ $>2>/ $>I>/ $>/>1 None of these draws can make a wheel8 and the first three may actually cause you "ro6lems due to the "resence of a "ossi6le strai'ht7 I would still ad!ise you to "lay these hands in most situations8 6ut you should fold them in the face of too much action8 es"ecially if the raises came from ti'ht "layers7 ,ood Ei'ht *raws7 - 'ood ei'ht draw is one that could make num6er fi!e
.31

=$>.>2>I>0?8 such as $>.>08 $>2>08 and $>I>0:6ut a'ain8 6e wary of the /7 If you make your hand with a / in it8 you mi'ht lose to ei'hts at the showdown7 From early "osition8 each of these hands can 6e folded safely7 Howe!er8 if you are in late "osition and no one has entered when it9s your turn to act8 you should raise with these hands7 These hands are stron' enou'h to defend your 6lind with as well7 +e9ll learn more a6out 6lind "lay later in the section7 Trou6le Hands +orth Playin' The followin' startin' hands should only 6e "layed when stealin' 6linds or defendin' themK .>2>0 .>I>1 .>I>0 .>/>1 .>2>1 2>I>1 These are trou6le hands or trash hands8 and they do much 6etter in "osition and in heads>u" situations7 +hen dealt one of these hands8 you often find yourself with either a 6ad ei'ht draw or a strai'ht se!en draw7 If you don9t im"ro!e Juickly with one of these hands8 you should a6ort mission and throw them in the muck7 O6!iously8 the one key card you are lookin' to catch would 6e the "owerful deuce7 -s a 'eneral rule8 you don9t want to draw to a hand that needs a deuce to fill it:you should already ha!e one7 Three>)ard *raws There are only two situations where you can Bustify drawin' threeK =1? Stealin' on the 6utton7 =$? *efendin' your 6lind7 If you are 'oin' to draw three8 one of the two cards you kee" sim"ly has to 6e a $7 Here are the hands worth drawin' three onK $>. $>2 $>I $>1 Notice we left out the $>/7 ;ou are already on a steal drawin' threeD let9s not
.3$

com"ound the "ro6lem 6y drawin' rou'h as wellF It is usually correct to draw three out of the 6i' 6lind with a hand like $>.8 as lon' as it only costs you one more 6et7 -lso8 if no one has entered the "ot8 you can attem"t to steal the 6linds from the 6utton with one of these three>card draws7 The fact that you ha!e "osition makes it likely that "layin' one of these hands will 6e "rofita6le7 -fter all8 there is still a chance you9ll win the 6linds without a fi'ht7 Since you are drawin' three8 chances are one of those three cards will hel" you7 -ny of the followin'K 28 I8 /8 18 or 0 would im"ro!e a $>. startin' hand enou'h to draw once more7 Four> and Fi!e>)ard *raws Sim"leK *on9t do it7 The only time you should draw four is when you are the 6i' 6lind in an unraised "ot7 In that case8 kee" a $8 .8 28 I8 or 18 and discard the rest7 Playin' from the (linds Playin' out of the 6i' 6lind can 6e !ery tricky7 Thou'h you will usually 'et e cellent "ot odds8 if you start with rou'h draws8 you will make rou'h hands and recei!e rou'h 6ruises to your 6ankrollF ;ou certainly want to stretch your startin' reJuirements some8 6ut if you 'o too far8 you are 'oin' to 6e left with too many difficult decisions on later streets7 For e am"le8 drawin' two out of the 6i' 6lind with a hand like 2>I>/ is Bust askin' for trou6le7 +hat are you lookin' to catchE - deuce and a 1 or a deuce and an 0E E!en if you catch this miracle draw8 your hand is still not in the clear7 Muck this draw and sa!e yourself some maBor headaches7 The hands you should add to your "laya6le list are the e cellent three>card draws =$>.8 $>28 $>I8 $>1? and some of the two>card ei'ht draws =.>2>08 .>I> 0?7 Since you are 6ein' laid such 'reat "ot odds8 you should also add the se!en draws that don9t contain a deuce =.>2>18 .>I>18 .>/>18 2>I>1?7 +ith rou'h draws like these8 you want to 'et to the draw as chea"ly as "ossi6le7 )allin' one raise is fineD callin' two raises is suicide7 E!ery once in a while you9ll "ick u" a really stron' draw in the 6lind8 such as a one>card draw to a non>strai'ht ei'ht>or>6etter or a two>card draw to a wheel containin' a deuce7 If you are holdin' one of these and find yourself
.3.

u" a'ainst a late "osition raiser8 you should "unish him 6y reraisin'7 Small (lind !s7 (i' (lind7 If e!eryone folds to you in the small 6lind8 don9t 'et carried away tryin' to steal the 6i' 6lind9s money7 In fact8 since you don9t ha!e "osition8 you should "lay ti'hter than you would if you were the 6utton7 - 'ood three>card draw:one containin' a deuce and either a .8 28 I8 or 1:is still "laya6le7 -'ainst a loose8 a''ressi!e "layer you should "ro6a6ly lim" with these weak hands8 6ut if the 6i' 6lind "lays conser!ati!ely8 you should raise it7 5emem6er8 the small 6lind acts first on all su6seJuent rounds of 6ettin'8 so it9s the worst "osition at the ta6le7 If anyone else has Boined the "ot8 you9d need a solid startin' hand to "lay from the small 6lind7 If you are in the 6i' 6lind heads>u" a'ainst the small 6lind8 you should call one more 6et with anythin' remotely "laya6le7 That e!en includes a three> card draw to a .>2F There are many reasons why ha!in' "osition is so !alua6le when "layin' heads>u"7 That8 in addition to the . to 1 odds you9re 'ettin' to defend your 6i' 6lind a'ainst the small 6lind8 makes callin' the ri'ht "lay with almost any three>card draw to a wheel7 Playin' -'ainst a 5aise If you are the 6utton and are facin' a raise8 you should usually reraise and take the hand heads>u" with the "ower of "osition7 Hands like $>.>28 $>.>18 one>card draws8 and "at hands are all stron' hands that you don9t want to fold7 Take control 6y three>6ettin' it7 If your hand isn9t 'ood enou'h to three>6et8 seriously consider foldin'7 If you9re outside the 6lind8 hands like $>.>0 are 'ood enou'h to raise with if no one has entered the "ot8 6ut not Juite 'ood enou'h to call a raise with7 Summary Let me re"eat this8 6ecause is so im"ortantK The deuce is the key card in this 'ame7 Most of the hands you choose to "lay should contain a deuce:there are few e ce"tions7 ;ou mi'ht see others drawin' to hands that don9t contain a deuce8 6ut don9t fall into that tra"7 For the most "art8 you want to "lay stron' hands that can make the nuts7 +hen you are drawin' smooth8 you are 'oin' to make smooth hands when you hit7 If you are drawin' rou'h8 you9ll often 6e drawin' to a loser or often
.32

e!en drawin' deadF Playin' -fter the First *raw *e"endin' on the draw you start with8 you9ll 'enerally want to 6et and raise when you im"ro!e your hand and either check and call or check and fold when you don9t7 -'ain8 it all de"ends on the draw you start with7 If you were dealt $>.>2>1 and were u" a'ainst any "layer who drew two8 you would 6et whether you im"ro!ed or not7 In fact8 it would 6e fine to 6et without e!en lookin' to see if you im"ro!edF +hen ;ou Miss +hat to do when you don9t im"ro!e de"ends on your "osition8 the num6er of cards you draw8 and the num6er of cards your o""onents draw7 If you draw one and your o""onents draw two or more8 you should always 6et7 In fact8 anytime you are a card ahead of your o""onents8 it9s safe to 6et:with one e ce"tion7 Here it isK if you draw two and don9t im"ro!e8 then are called 6y two "layers drawin' three8 you should check7 )hances are that one if not 6oth of them im"ro!ed8 so it would 6e wise to take the free card rather than risk 6ein' raised or check>raised7 +hen out of "osition and drawin' an eJual num6er of cards as your o""onents8 what you do de"ends hea!ily on whether or not you im"ro!e7 ,enerally s"eakin'8 you should "lay the hand strai'htforward8 6ettin' when you im"ro!e8 checkin' when you miss7 For e am"le8 in the small 6lind with $>I>/>18 a late "osition "layer raises you8 and you reraise7 ;ou draw one8 as does your o""onent7 If you don9t im"ro!e8 6ettin' would 6e silly7 ;our o""onent will almost ne!er fold here8 6ut he will likely raise you if he im"ro!es7 Sure8 you may ha!e a mar'inally 6etter draw than he does8 6ut that doesn9t Bustify losin' an e tra 6et if he does im"ro!e7 E!en if your o""onent draws to a .>2>I>08 it wouldn9t 6e a disaster if the 6ettin' round went check8 check7 In the 6est case scenario8 you9ll 'et a 6et in as a mar'inal fa!orite7 In the worst case scenario8 you9ll 'et two 6ets in as either a si'nificant underdo' or drawin' dead8 while your o""onent is drawin' smoother than you to 6e'in with7 Now8 if you are drawin' two cards to a "remium hand in a raised multiway "ot8 you should still call a 6et whether you im"ro!e or not8 since the "ot is
.3I

already si%ea6le7 Howe!er8 you should rarely call a 6et and a raise if you don9t im"ro!e your two>card draw8 as you will likely find yourself u" a'ainst either two one>card draws8 a one>card draw and a "at hand8 or two "at hands7 If you do decide to call a dou6le 6et8 you won9t e!en know for sure whether it will cost you more to see your ne t draw7 If the first 6ettor does ha!e a "at hand8 he will likely reraise8 "uttin' you in a horri6le "osition:drawin' two a'ainst a "at hand with two draws left7 +hen ;ou Im"ro!e +hen you do im"ro!e after the first draw8 it9s time to 'et a''ressi!e7 +hether you im"ro!e to a one>card draw or a !ulnera6le "at hand8 you9ll want to narrow the field as much as "ossi6le in multiway "ots7 (ein' a''ressi!e in heads>u" situations isn9t Juite as im"ortant7 Let9s look at an e am"le7 ;ou raise in first "osition with $>2>17 ;ou are called 6y the 6utton and reraised 6y the 6i' 6lind7 The 6i' 6lind draws one8 while 6oth you and the 6utton draw two7 Now you catch a I and a kin'7 The 6i' 6lind 6ets and it9s u" to you7 Should you call or raiseE The correct answer would 6e raise7 +hile it9s true that you may 6e u" a'ainst a "at hand8 you9d still ha!e two draws to make a se!en or "ossi6ly an ei'ht8 de"endin' on your o""onent9s hand7 Forcin' the 6utton out is the most im"ortant thin'7 If you Bust call8 he would 6e 'ettin' 'ood enou'h "ot odds to draw two cards7 That9s not what you want7 ;ou want to secure last "osition 6y chasin' the 6utton out8 then take the hand heads u"7 If the 6i' 6lind didn9t im"ro!e8 you9ll ha!e an e!en 6etter chance a'ainst Bust one o""onent7 +hat if you are heads u" the whole timeE Same scenario8 e ce"t this time there is no third "layer7 In this case8 a raise wouldn9t 6e horri6le8 6ut callin' would 6e 6etter7 Since you don9t ha!e to worry a6out knockin' out a "layer8 you can sim"ly call here and draw to your hand chea"ly7 The one key draw6ack to raisin' is the risk of your o""onent makin' his hand7 It would then cost you three 6ets rather than one to outdraw him7 -s I mentioned earlier8 you may 6e 'i!in' u" a little !alue since you ha!e the 6etter draw8 6ut that won9t make u" for the times you "ay e tra a'ainst a made hand7 Hee" the 0 or *raw To the +heelE
.3/

This is "ro6a6ly one of the most difficult decisions you9ll ha!e to make in a tri"le draw hand7 +hen drawin' to a hand like $>.>18 should you kee" the 0 after the first draw and draw rou'h8 or discard it and draw to the wheelE The reason it is such a difficult decision is 6ecause it de"ends on se!eral !aria6les8 includin' the num6er of o""onents8 the num6er of cards your o""onents need8 your "osition8 and the discards you made7 Num6er of O""onents7 The more "layers in the "ot8 the more you should lean toward discardin' the 0 and 'oin' for the wheel7 The "ro6lem with kee"in' the 0 with more o""onents drawin' is that it will 'et 6eat too often 6y an 0>/8 an 0>I8 or a se!en7 If you are u" a'ainst Bust one o""onent8 you mi'ht decide to kee" the 08 6ut you should consider other factors8 like the num6er of cards your o""onent is drawin' and your "osition7 Num6er of )ards ;our O""onent Is *rawin'7 If your o""onents are drawin' three or more8 you should kee" the 07 They need a lot of hel"8 and if you make an 0>1 here8 it will usually 6e 'ood enou'h to win7 If you 'o to the deck and a'ain draw two8 you will 6e 'i!in' them a 6etter shot of 'ettin' 6ack into the hand7 *raw to the 0>1 and "unish them for their loose "layF Position7 Position is e tremely im"ortant7 +hen you are out of "osition8 you won9t ha!e the lu ury of knowin' how many cards your o""onents are drawin'7 -lso8 if you are out of "osition with a rou'h draw8 you may e!en 'et out"layed on a later street7 -s a 'eneral rule8 when out of "osition you want to 6e drawin' to the nuts or as close to the nuts as "ossi6le7 -lthou'h 0> 1>.>$ may 6e a 'ood draw8 it9s far from the nut draw7 The 6est you can do is make num6er ten8 $>.>2>1>07 )on!ersely8 when you are in "osition8 you ha!e more control o!er your o""onents7 So8 in effect8 you can "lay their hands rather than yours7 If you draw one to the 0>1 and your o""onents are still drawin' two after the first draw8 you9ll often win the "ot whether you im"ro!e or not7 Therein lies the !alue of "osition7 *iscards7 +e are 'oin' to co!er this su6Bect in 'reater detail near the end of the cha"ter7 (ut for now8 we9ll say that 'enerally8 the more "aired wheel
.31

cards you ha!e in your hand8 the stron'er the hand7 +hile $>.>2>H>Q and $> .>2>.>2 a""ear to 6e the same draw =$>.>2?8 the latter is a much stron'er hand7 +hyE (ecause that e tra . and 2 mi'ht 6e cards your o""onent is lookin' for 6ut can now no lon'er catchF -dditionally8 it makes it less likely that you will "air7 Furthermore8 if your o""onent holds $>I>18 your discard makes it less likely that he will make his draw now that two of his cards are dead7 So how does that a""ly to kee"in' an 0E Sim"le7 The more "aired cards you ha!e8 the more you should lean toward kee"in' the 07 Makin' an Ei'ht on the First *raw +hen you start out "layin' tri"le draw low6all8 you are usually 'oin' to stay "at if you make an ei'ht at any "oint7 Once your readin' a6ility im"ro!es8 howe!er8 you will 6e a6le to 6reak an ei'ht and draw to the se!en under the ri'ht circumstances7 -n 0>1 can 6e 6roken8 6ut if you make an 0>/ or 6etter8 you9re 6etter off stayin' "at7 (ein' in "osition will also "lay into your decision of whether or not to 6reak an ei'ht7 How soE If you are holdin' $>.>/>1>0 and an o""onent in front of you stands "at after the first draw8 you ha!e to ask yourself8 @+hat can I 6eatEA +ould your o""onent stay "at with a nine hereE Or could he "ossi6ly ha!e a worse 0>1E In this case8 with an o""onent standin' "at in front of you8 you will usually 6reak the ei'ht8 since you ha!e such a smooth draw to a se!en =$>.>/>1?7 If no one yet has stood "at8 you should stay "at until further notice7 Playin' -fter the Second *raw +hen To )heck -fter the second draw8 you should always check to an o""onent that is one card ahead of you7 For e am"le8 if you are drawin' two and your o""onent is drawin' one8 you can e!en check in the dark7 Or if you are drawin' one and your o""onent is "at8 a'ain you can check in the dark7 In these situations8 you won9t 6e riskin' a free card 6ecause your o""onent will surely 6et7 If your o""onent doesn9t make this normally automatic 6et8 then he will often 'i!e you a free card7 If after the first draw8 6oth you and your o""onent draw one and you fail to im"ro!e to a "at hand8 you should "ro6a6ly check8 es"ecially when out of
.30

"osition and most of the time when in "osition7 E!en if you feel like you ha!e the 6est draw 'oin' into the last card8 it is usually only a sli'ht ad!anta'e8 so it9s "ro6a6ly 6est to a!oid the "ossi6le check>raise7 +hen To (et ;ou should always 6et if you are a card ahead8 re'ardless of your "osition7 If you ha!e a one>card draw !ersus an o""onent with a two>card draw8 you should 6et whether you im"ro!e or not7 If you are "at and they are drawin'8 a'ain you should 6et automatically7 ;ou sim"ly can9t 'i!e away free cards with Bust one draw left7 If there is any chance you can win the "ot here8 you ha!e to take it7 If your o""onent with the two>card draw doesn9t 'et hel"8 he mi'ht fold e!en thou'h you are still drawin' as well7 If 6oth you and your o""onents draw one 'oin' into the last draw8 you should 6et with any hand that you are 'oin' to stay "at with7 If you make 4>1>/>2>$8 you should 6et and stay "at if no one raises you7 +ith Bust one draw left8 the nine is a fa!orite o!er any draw7 To a!oid 6ecomin' too "redicta6le8 you mi'ht want to 6et your "remium draws in "osition with or without im"ro!ement7 For e am"le8 you ha!e $>.> 2>1>1 and ha!e already discarded a . and a 27 ;our lone o""onent checks to you7 In this situation8 your hand is a 6i' enou'h fa!orite o!er your o""onent9s draw that it9s worth a !alue 6et7 If you had this hand out of "osition howe!er8 you should still check des"ite the "owerful draw you ha!e7 ;our o""onent isn9t 'oin' to fold hereD he9ll either raise or call7 If he does raise8 you9!e now lost an e tra 6et and are "ro6a6ly an underdo' to win the "ot7 This is an im"ortant conce"t to understand7 +hen out of "osition8 you need to think a6out minimi%in' your losses 6y a!oidin' mar'inal !alue 6ets7 They ha!e !alue when your o""onent ha""ens to miss8 6ut when your o""onent com"letes his draw8 you 'i!e u" way too much eJuity when he raises you7 In "osition8 you should also 6et some of your "remium one>card draws for another reason7 If your o""onent is "erce"ti!e8 he will know that you don9t ha!e a "at hand when you check 6ehind him 'oin' into the last draw7 If he has a hand like $>.>2>0>138 he mi'ht decide to stay "at knowin' that your hand is not
.34

com"lete7 Howe!er8 had you 6et your draw8 he would ha!e a really tou'h time stayin' "at with a ten7 If you don9t ha!e a "at hand8 you want your o""onent to 6reak the ten7 The ten is a fa!orite o!er e!en $>.>2>1>17 If you can 'et him to 6reak the ten with a 6et8 your $>.>2>1 will 6ecome the fa!orite o!er his draw to the $>.>2>07 +hen To )all +hen drawin' one to a wheel or any se!en8 you should always call one 6et 'oin' into the last draw7 In fact8 sometimes you may e!en raise with a draw like this8 6ut we9ll 'et to that later7 Let9s co!er situations where you would sim"ly call7 If 6oth you and your o""onent draw one 'oin' into the last draw and you don9t im"ro!e 6ut he 6ets8 you should usually Bust call7 ;our o""onent9s 6et should tell you that he has a "at hand8 so unless you ha!e reason to 6elie!e he9d fold or 6reak his hand to a raise8 you should Bust call and try to outdraw him7 -lso8 if you draw two and im"ro!e to a one>card draw8 and your o""onent draws one 'oin' into the second draw8 you should Bust call7 If you 'et really lucky and make a "at hand8 then you mi'ht consider raisin'7 There is one more interestin' situation where callin' mi'ht 6e 6etter than raisin'7 Su""ose your o""onent draws one and you8 thou'h still drawin' two8 ha!e "osition on him7 ;ou find yourself with a hand like $>2>/>1>07 Should you raise or Bust callE Let9s think a6out what may ha""en if you Bust call7 If you call8 your o""onent will assume that you are still drawin' at least one8 if not two7 If he makes a hand like 13>1>2>.>$ he will "ro6a6ly stay "at ahead of you7 -fter all8 a "at ten is a fa!orite o!er any draw7 Now8 if you smooth call8 you9!e Bust ensured yourself the "ot7 Since there are no draws left8 you are "rotectin' what9s in the middle7 In a sense8 you9re trickin' your o""onent into thinkin' he has the 6est hand 6ecause you didn9t raise7 So what would ha!e ha""ened if you raisedE +ell8 you9d certainly 6e takin' the 6est of it8 as your "at ei'ht is a fa!orite o!er his wheel draw7 The "ro6lem is8 you don9t want your o""onent to 6e drawin' li!e at allF If you raise and force your o""onent to 6reak the ten8 he9ll now 6e drawin' li!e to a fi!e8 si 8
.13

or e!en an ei'ht7 +hy risk the whole "ot to 'et in one e tra 6et in on the turnE ;ou mi'ht e!en 6e a6le to win that 6et on the ri!er when the "ot is secured7 This "lay is a !alua6le wea"on that has to 6e added to your arsenal if you want to 6e a winnin' tri"le draw "layer7 Finally:and this should 'o without sayin':you should Bust call when you are a card 6ehind7 If you im"ro!e from a two>card draw to a one>card draw8 6ut your o""onent was already on a one>card draw8 you should sim"ly 6e a caller7 If you are u" a'ainst a "layer who was already "at and you are on a one>card draw8 you should usually Bust call unless you ha!e reason to 6elie!e he has a weak hand8 in which case you may choose to raise7 There is more on that in the ne t section7 +hen To 5aise The most o6!ious reason to raise is that you ha!e the 6est hand7 For the most "art8 with a se!en8 0>I8 or e!en 0>/8 you should raise since you "ro6a6ly do ha!e the 6est hand7 In a multiway "ot8 it9s e!en more im"ortant to raise with one of these "at hands in order to "ut "ressure on those o""onents tryin' to outdraw you7 They surely will call one 6et drawin' to a wheel or a 'ood ei'ht8 6ut for two 6ets you may 6e a6le to 'et them to lay it down8 de"endin'8 of course8 on the "layers7 E!en when heads>u"8 you should raise with a se!en or an 0>I8 then follow throu'h with a 6et on the ri!er7 Hands ranked one throu'h fi!e are difficult to outdraw7 ;our o""onent can9t "ossi6ly ha!e too many outs if he is still drawin'7 E!en if your o""onent is drawin' to a $>.>2>1 a'ainst your $>.>2>I> 08 he can only win the "ot with a / or one of three remainin' fi!es:a total of se!en outs7 If your o""onent has a "at ei'ht8 chances are he won9t 6reak it8 thinkin' you mi'ht 6e makin' a "lay at the "ot7 Makin' a Play at the Pot +hat do I mean 6y makin' a "lay at the "otE Sometimes if you ha!e an e cellent draw8 you mi'ht 6e 6etter off s"endin' an e tra 6et8 ho"in' to force your o""onent to 6reak a "at hand8 rather than Bust callin' in the ho"es of outdrawin' him7 For e am"le8 say you are on the 6utton with $>$>.>1>17 ;our o""onent raises 6efore the first draw8 and you reraise him7
.11

Now your o""onent draws one and you8 of course8 draw two7 ;our two new cards are a 2 and another $8 'i!in' you a wheel draw8 $>.>2>17 Ne t8 your o""onent 6ets7 (ecause of your "osition8 your stron' draw8 and the !alua6le discards you9!e mucked8 you decide to raise it7 ;our o""onent calls and decides to stay "at7 5i'ht there you can assume that your o""onent doesn9t ha!e a !ery stron' hand7 If he did8 he "ro6a6ly would ha!e reraised once more7 -lso8 since you ha!e seen three deuces and two se!ens8 it9s a lot more likely that your o""onent has a hand like .>2>I>/>0 or e!en .>2>I>0>47 On the second draw8 your o""onent is "at and you draw one to the wheel7 This time8 you catch another 1F Lnless your o""onent has 6oth the case $ and the case 18 he doesn9t ha!e a "at se!en7 ;our o""onent 6ets7 +hat should you doE It all de"ends on your read of your o""onent7 ;ou ha!e a "retty 'ood idea as to the stren'th of his hand8 most likely an ei'ht or a nine7 +ill your o""onent foldE +ill your o""onent come off of a nine and drawE If you think there is a reasona6le chance that the answer to either Juestion is yes8 then 'o ahead and raise7 (y in!estin' one more 6et8 you may either win the "ot ri'ht there or 'o from an underdo' to a si%ea6le fa!orite7 If it doesn9t work out8 it adds more dece"tion to your 'ame at little cost8 dece"tion that you can e "loit later7 -fter all8 you ha!e one more draw and could still make your hand7 In order for a "lay like this to work8 you ha!e to know your o""onent7 If you know him to 6e stu66orn enou'h not to 6reak or fold8 sa!e your money7 Howe!er8 if he is a thinkin' "layer8 he9ll ask himself8 @+hat can I 6eatEA Since you "layed the hand so a''ressi!ely 6efore and after the first draw8 a thinkin' "layer would know that you ha!e a stron' draw7 If he is lookin' down at .>2>/>0>48 what could he "ossi6ly 6reak and draw toE He has to sim"ly ho"e and "ray that you are makin' a "lay and that you will miss on the last draw7 (ased on all of this8 a thinkin' "layer may decide it9s not worth seein' the hand throu'h and fold7 5emem6er8 thou'h8 do not try this "lay a'ainst a callin' station7 Tryin' to 6luff a 6ad "layer will make you the fool7 )heck>5aisin'
.1$

There are times when you9ll 6e a6le to 'et in a check>raise after the second draw7 Often8 this ha""ens when you are one card 6ehind 'oin' into the draw8 either drawin' two to your o""onent9s one or drawin' one while your o""onent stays "at7 -nytime you make your hand in this situation8 you should 6e a6le to check>raise7 -fter all8 if your o""onent is "layin' "ro"erly8 he9ll 6et to kee" from 'i!in' away a free draw7 ;our check and your o""onent9s 6et here should 6e automatic7 ;ou could e!en check in the dark8 and your o""onent would "ro6a6ly 6et in the dark8 6ut I wouldn9t recommend doin' this if there are no!ices in the 'ame7 +hile it9s o6!ious to you and the other e "erienced "layers that these 6ets are automatic8 a no!ice may not 'ras" it7 So if there are rookies at the ta6le8 at least "retend to look 6efore you check7 If you ha""en to make a 'ood ei'ht or a se!en8 check>raisin' is "ro6a6ly a 'ood idea7 These hands mi'ht already 6e dead8 6ut there is an e cellent chance that your o""onent is still drawin'7 Playin' a rou'h ei'ht or a rou'h nine is a lot more difficult8 and check>raisin' with either one is risky7 If you9re out of "osition8 you mi'ht lose a lot of 6ets with a rou'h hand7 -nd as you already know 6y now8 you should try to a!oid losin' the ma imum with rou'h hands8 es"ecially out of "osition7 So with these hands8 you 'enerally will ha!e to make a decision 6etween checkin' and callin'8 then stayin' "atD or checkin' and callin'8 then drawin'7 In order to make 'ood decisions here8 you ha!e to "ay attention to tells8 as they are e tremely !alua6le in this situation7 +atch your o""onent closely7 Is he shufflin' his cards8 lookin' for the one he9s "lannin' to discardE Or does the way he is holdin' his hand look like he is stayin' "atE This isn9t easy8 6ut the 6est "layers read these situations !ery well7 If you aren9t a6le to "ick u" any tells at all8 I would ad!ise stayin' "at with a nine or 6etter and ho"e your o""onent draws7 If your o""onent ra"s "at 6ehind you8 you are in dee" trou6le7 If he 6ets the ri!er8 you should "ro6a6ly fold:unless you ha!e reason to 6elie!e he would 6luff here7 Now8 don9t 'et me wron':in this situation8 you can check>raise with any ei'ht or nine7 It9s not a terri6le "lay at all7 In fact8 6y doin' so8 you9ll definitely 'et a 6etter idea as to whether or not you should call a ri!er 6et7
.1.

For e am"le8 if you check>raise with a rou'h nine and the "layer 6ehind you calls and ra"s "at as well8 your hand is no 'ood7 Plain and sim"le7 ;ou can safely fold to a ri!er 6et7 If he draws8 then 'reatF Now you9ll Bust ha!e to ho"e he misses7 +hen you9re holdin' rou'h ei'hts and nines8 check>raisin' and check>callin' are 6oth !ia6le o"tions8 and 6oth should 6e used from time to time7 There is !alue in either "lay7 )heck>callin' allows you to minimi%e your losses8 while check>raisin' may e!en force your o""onent off a 6etter handF For e am"le8 if you check>raised and stood "at with a $>.>2>0>48 your o""onent may decide to 6reak a hand like $>.>/>1>48 which has you 6eat7 That would 6e fantastic8 re'ardless of the final outcome7 -s you9!e "ro6a6ly noticed8 there is more "lay on the second draw than any other street7 Similar to the turn in hold9em8 "lay on the second draw se"arates the 'reat "layers from the rest of the "ack7 How stron' a tri"le draw low6all "layer you 6ecome de"ends a lot on how well you9re a6le to master the art of "layin' the second draw7 +hen To Fold There are se!eral situations where you should fold8 e!en with one draw remainin'7 If you are still drawin' two with only one draw remainin'8 you should usually fold to a 6et8 es"ecially out of "osition7 The only time you should consider drawin' two 'oin' into the last draw is when you ha!e "osition8 you think your o""onent is still drawin'8 there is a lot of money in the "ot8 and you ha!e made !alua6le discards7 Otherwise8 it9s Bust too difficult to make a hand drawin' two with Bust one draw left7 E!en $>.>2 is an underdo' to 6eat H>Q><>13>0F -ma%in'8 6ut true7 Here9s another situation where you should consider foldin'K say you are u" a'ainst a "at hand drawin' to a rou'h ei'ht7 If your o""onent stays "at after the first draw and you are holdin' $>/>1>08 for e am"le8 two thin's need to ha""en for you to win the "otK =1? ;ou would need to make your hand7 =$? ;ou would need to 6e drawin' li!e7 Since your o""onent stayed "at after Bust the first draw8 chances are he has at
.12

least an ei'ht made8 so you will 6e drawin' dead here too often to make callin' correct7 ;ou should also consider foldin' when you make either a rou'h ei'ht or nine and 'et raised after the second draw7 The only way your hand could 6e "laya6le is if your o""onent is makin' a 6luff>raise and is still drawin'7 For e am"le8 you make a $>.>1>0>4 and 6et a'ainst one lone o""onent who raises you7 ;ou could stay "at and ho"e he is 6luffin'D you could draw one and ho"e that an 0>1 will 6e 'ood enou'h to winD or you could take the safe route and sim"ly muck your hand7 +hich course of action is the 6est de"ends on your read of your o""onent7 Finally8 you should fold when facin' two 6ets 'oin' into the last draw8 e!en when drawin' to the nuts7 This 6it of ad!ice may come as a shock to some8 so let9s look at the reasonin' 6ehind it7 +ith one draw left8 you ha!e $>2>I>1 on the 6utton7 In front of you8 it9s 6et and raised7 Fold7 ;ou know that a / will 'i!e you num6er four:a stron' hand8 6ut one that still mi'ht not 6e 'ood enou'h considerin' the action in front of you7 This lea!es you needin' a . to 'i!e you the nuts7 )onsiderin' that you are facin' two "layers who o6!iously ha!e fi!e low cards a"iece8 what are the chances that all four threes are still li!eE Not !ery 'ood7 In addition8 there9s always the chance that the first 6ettor will reraise once more7 -ll of a sudden8 your monster wheel draw doesn9t look so hot now8 does itE +hen To Stay Pat +e know for sure that a "at Back is a small fa!orite o!er any draw7 E!en a hand like <>13>4>0>/ a'ainst $>.>2>1 with one draw left is a II "ercent fa!orite7 From this8 can you assume that you should always stay "at with a Back or 6etter with one draw leftE Not Juite7 Heads>u"7 If you are heads>u" with "osition and know that your o""onent is drawin'8 then8 yes8 you could consider stayin' "at8 e!en with $>.>2>1><7 Howe!er8 if you are out of "osition and don9t ha!e the lu ury of knowin' whether or not your o""onent is drawin' or stayin' "at8 that chan'es thin's dramatically7 In this case8 you should always draw7 E!en after your o""onent draws one card8 you should "ro6a6ly draw one as well when you fi'ure you9re drawin' 6etter7 That9s 6ecause you ha!e almost
.1I

as 6i' an ad!anta'e in the one>card !ersus one>card match>u" as you do standin' "at:assumin' you Bust showed down the results without 6ettin'7 In addition8 you9ll ha!e the o""ortunity to 'ain 'round throu'h the final 6ettin'8 considerin' your su"erior draw and the fact that you9ll act last7 The o""ortunity to make more money outwei'hs your sli'htly diminished chances of endin' u" with the 6etter hand7 So it9s usually correct to draw a card7 In doin' so8 you9ll also rule out the "ossi6ility of 6ein' 6luffed out 6y an ins"ired o""onent7 -'ain8 it9s interestin' to note that in a showdown situation8 where there can 6e no future 6ettin'8 the Back is the fa!orite o!er any draw8 and it9s correct to stand "at with such a hand7 -s you see8 this is what makes "osition so im"ortant in tri"le draw7 +ith "osition in a showdown situation8 you would know for certain that the correct "lay is to stand "at 6ehind an o""onent who drew one8 ho"in' he missed7 Multiway Pots7 +hat ha""ens when you add a third "layer to the mi E How does that chan'e thin'sE Let9s look at an e treme e am"leK ;OL =$3V? PL-;E5 - =23V? PL-;E5 ( =23V? In this case8 6oth "layer - and Player ( would win the "ot a""ro imately 23 "ercent of the time8 meanin' that your "at Back will win Bust $3 "ercent of the time7 Not 'ood7 Let9s look at a more ty"ical e am"leK ;OL =..V?

PL-;E5 - =.1V?

.1/

PL-;E5 ( =.3V? +hile that9s not too 6ad:the Back will win its fair share of "ots:let9s look at what ha""ens when we drawK ;OL =.0V? PL-;E5 - =.IV?

PL-;E5 ( =$1V?

-s you can see8 you9d do much 6etter 6y drawin'7 So what hand 6ecomes a fa!orite o!er two other "eo"le drawin'E The answer is a nineK ;OL =2$V? PL-;E5 - =$4V?

PL-;E5 ( =$4V?

-'ain8 as in the "re!ious e am"les8 "osition is "aramount7 If you know 6oth of your o""onents are drawin'8 it makes stayin' "at an easy decision7 Howe!er8 if you are out of "osition and unsure whether your o""onents will draw8 it makes thin's much more difficult7 That9s why it9s im"ortant to 6et if you make your hand out of "osition7 That way8 if no one raises you8 chances are your nine is the 6est hand and you can safely stay "at7 +hile you mi'ht 'et the same information 6y checkin'8 you9d also 6e 'i!in' your o""onents a
.11

free ride a'ainst you7 +hen To (reak This is where the 'ame 6ecomes a little trickier 6ecause the correct decision is hea!ily de"endent on your read7 -s you 'ain more e "erience with the 'ame8 it should 6ecome easier7 If you are a 6e'innin' "layer8 I would ad!ise you not to out>think yourself7 (asically8 you should stay "at anytime you make an ei'ht or 6etter7 -s your readin' skills im"ro!e8 there will 6e times when you9ll want to 6reak an ei'ht and 'o for the wheel7 (ut kee" in mind that 0>/ or an 0>I should ne!er 6e 6roken7 If you hold one of these hands and are reasona6ly sure that the hand is no 'ood8 you9re 6etter off foldin' rather than 6reakin'7 Only a 1 could hel" you8 and if you think the ei'ht is no 'ood8 that lea!es only three remainin' se!ens for you to catch7 If you do lose with an 0>/ or an 0>I8 there "ro6a6ly wasn9t much you could ha!e done a6out it7 Tou'h 6eats ha""en often in this 'ameD you9!e 'ot to kee" your cool7 Now an 0>1 is a different story7 +ith the 0>/ or the 0>I8 most hands that ha!e you 6eat already are e tremely difficult to outdraw7 (reakin' an 0>18 howe!er8 'i!es you a decent chance to outdraw se!eral hands that ha!e you 6eat8 such as any rou'h 18 0>I8 0>/8 or 6etter 0>17 For e am"le8 let9s say you ha!e an 0>1>/>.>$ with one draw left8 and 6ased on the 6ettin'8 you think your o""onent has a 6etter hand7 Lnless your o""onent is 6luffin'8 if he raises you 'oin' into the last draw8 he "ro6a6ly has a 6etter hand7 (y drawin' to the $>.>/>18 you ha!e as many as ei'ht "ossi6le outs to 6eat any ei'ht =any 2 or I?7 -s I said earlier8 this is a difficult decision to make8 and you ha!e to 6e "retty certain 6efore you make it7 (reakin' an ei'ht when it is already the 6est hand is a statistical ni'htmareF If your o""onent 6et at you with a nine or 6luffed you and is still drawin'8 how nice it would 6e to ha!e that ei'ht 6ackF That9s why I su''est that 6e'innin' "layers "lay it strai'htforward and Bust take their lum"s when they 'et 6eat with an ei'ht7 Summary -fter the second draw you learned that you should always check when you
.10

are a card 6ehind8 or when you are out of "osition drawin' an eJual num6er of cards as your o""onent and you don9t im"ro!e7 ;ou also learned that you should always 6et when you are a card ahead:as when you are drawin' one and your o""onent is drawin' two7 ;ou should also 6et when you im"ro!e your hand and your draw was eJual8 re'ardless of your "osition7 ;ou should call when you think you are drawin' li!e7 ;ou should also consider sometimes callin' when you ha!e "osition and "lan on stayin' "at8 ho"in' to tra" your o""onent into stayin' "at ahead of you with a weaker hand7 ;ou should raise when you ha!e a stron' hand and want to 'et more money in the "ot7 ;ou should also raise to knock others out of the "ot when you "lan on stayin' "at with a !ulnera6le hand7 In "erfect situations8 you should occasionally raise with some of your stron' one>card draws8 ho"in' to either make your o""onent fold or 6reak a made hand7 ;ou should fold when you are still drawin' two8 and also when you think you may 6e drawin' dead7 ;ou should also consider foldin' some of your rou'her "at hands if you are raised7 Heads>u" with "osition8 you should stand "at with a ten or 6etter if your o""onent is still drawin'8 and e!en with a Back if it9s a showdown situation with no more 6ettin' "ossi6le7 In a three>handed "ot8 you should always stay "at with a nine or 6etter if your o""onents are still drawin'7 ;ou learned that 6reakin' an 0>/ or 0>I is a no>no7 Howe!er8 if you ha!e an 0>1 and are reasona6ly certain that your o""onent has you 6eat8 you may consider 6reakin'7 If you are a no!ice "layer thou'h8 I recommend stayin' "at with any ei'ht to a!oid 6ein' out"layed 6y more so"histicated "layers7 Play on the 5i!er ,enerally s"eakin'8 the ri!er is no time to 'et fancy7 The "ots are usually so 6i' 6y the ri!er that 6luffin' 6ecomes difficult7 Most successful 6luffs in deuce>to>se!en tri"le draw start well 6efore the ri!er7 +hen (oth ;ou and ;our O""onent -re *rawin' One In this situation8 you rarely should 6luff7 Since the "ots 6ecome so lar'e8 your o""onent will likely call you with as little as a kin'7 Howe!er8 there are certain situations where a 6luff could 6e "rofita6le7 ;ou would ha!e to ha!eK
.14

=1? The ri'ht ta6le ima'eD and =$? The ri'ht o""onent8 one who makes laydowns7 (luffin' with an ace8 kin'8 or Jueen is Bust silly7 ;ou9ll 'et called !irtually e!ery time your o""onent has you 6eat8 and you will @6luffA your o""onent when he makes a "air that you can 6eat anyway7 I su''est that you only 6luff when you make a 6i' "air and ha!e !irtually no chance to win in a showdown7 E!en a "air of deuces can win in the showdown when your o""onent also "airs7 I su''est 6luffin' with "airs four and hi'her8 and e!en then I would only ad!ise you to do so e!ery now and then7 It will only work if your o""onent makes a "air smaller than yours7 E!en then8 I ha!e seen "eo"le call 6ets on the ri!er with "airs as hi'h as />/F The ri!er is the time for !alue 6ettin' and not for 6luffin'7 +ith so many 6ets in the "ot8 all you ha!e to do is catch an occasional 6luff to make callin' correct7 ;ou should always call a 6et with a Back or 6etter and call most of the time with a Jueen throu'h a "air of deuces7 ;ou should also !alue 6et hands as 6ad as a Back7 -s you learned "re!iously8 a Back is a fa!orite o!er any one>card draw8 so you should 6et it when you make one8 re'ardless of your "osition7 Since your o""onent will likely call you if he makes a Jueen8 kin'8 or ace8 or e!en a small "air8 there is !alue in 6ettin' the Back7 The only draw6ack comes when you 'et raised7 In that case8 you would ha!e to 'o with your read7 More often than not8 your o""onent won9t raise you with a 48 138 or a Back8 6ut he mi'ht do it with an 0 and certainly will with a 17 +hen ;our O""onent Is Pat and ;ou -re *rawin' Out of Position If your o""onent is "at and you are drawin' one out of "osition to $>.>I>18 what should you do if you catch 28 /8 0 or e!en a 4E -s is true with most "oker situations8 it all de"ends7 -ll four of those hands can likely 6eat your o""onent if he stayed "at 'oin' into the last draw8 6ut you mi'ht not always want to 6et them7 -'ainst the ri'ht o""onent8 you mi'ht want to 'o for a check>raise with the se!en or the ei'ht7 It de"ends on how a''ressi!e your o""onent is and
.$3

whether or not he would 6et a nine or a ten on the ri!er once you9!e checked7 The safer "lay is to sim"ly 6et ri'ht out8 ho"in' to 6e called 6y a worse hand and not raised 6y a 6etter hand7 -fter all8 your o""onent could ha!e anythin' from a se!en all the way u" to a Back7 This is another situation where a 6luff mi'ht work7 +hat if you "aired se!ensE -n o""onent mi'ht fold Back8 ten8 or e!en a nine in this s"ot7 -fter all8 he knows that you know he has a "at hand8 yet you are still 6ettin' into him7 Normally that means you must ha!e made your hand and are lookin' to 'et "aid off7 - 'ood "layer mi'ht decide to sa!e the last 6et8 'i!in' you the o""ortunity to steal a nice>si%ed "ot7 It9s im"ortant to understand that this "lay won9t work as well if your o""onent stayed "at on or 6efore the first draw7 If your o""onent does that8 it usually si'nifies a 'ood nine8 an ei'ht8 or a se!en7 ;our 6luff "ro6a6ly won9t work if he has any of these hands7 +hen ;our O""onent Is Pat and ;ou -re *rawin' in Position (ein' in "osition 'i!es you more information a6out your o""onent9s hand7 If he checks the ri!er8 it9s less likely that he made a se!en8 ei'ht8 or nine8 and more likely that he made a ten8 a Back8 or worse7 -'ain8 that is assumin' that your o""onent only ra""ed "at on the last draw7 If he ra""ed "at earlier in the hand8 he "ro6a6ly has an ei'ht or 6etter8 or "ossi6ly a nine7 If your o""onent 6ets the ri!er8 you should not raise unless you ha!e a "remium hand7 -n 0>/ is ri'ht on the 6orderline7 -'ainst more a''ressi!e o""onents8 you can raise with an 0>/8 6ut a'ainst a more conser!ati!e o""onent you should 'i!e him more credit and Bust call7 If your o""onent checks the ri!er8 you should !alue 6et any ei'ht or 6etter8 and sometimes 6et your 6etter nines7 ;our o""onent9s check doesn9t necessarily mean he has a 6ad hand8 es"ecially if he stood "at earlier7 He mi'ht 6e lookin' to check>raise or collect 6ullets8 ho"in' you 6luff off your money7 It9s customary for a "layer to check an ei'ht in this s"ot and sim"ly look to call if you 6et7 It9s also customary for a "layer to check a se!en to you8 lookin' for the dou6le 6et8 assumin' you can9t call if you miss anyway7 ;ou want to 6et an ei'ht or 6etter for !alue e!ery time a'ainst a "layer who
.$1

stayed "at after the second draw8 6ut check your rou'her ei'hts a'ainst a "layer who stayed "at early in the hand7 - hand like $>I>/>1>0 isn9t worth 6ettin' a'ainst a "layer who stayed "at early8 6ut is a must>6et a'ainst a "layer who stayed "at on the last draw7 +hen ;our O""onent is *rawin' and ;ou -re Pat Out of Position In this situation you should check any nine8 ten8 or Back7 If you had a rou'h ei'ht 6efore or after the first draw8 you may consider checkin' as well7 ;ou o""onent is "ro6a6ly drawin' to 6eat you8 and it may cost you two 6ets if he does7 Howe!er8 when your o""onent misses8 you will rarely 'et a cryin' call in that s"ot7 It is not a 6ad idea to check a wheel on occasion as well8 lookin' for the dou6le 6et on the ri!er7 ;our check mi'ht induce your o""onent to 6et an ei'ht8 at which time you can 'o for the check>raise with a se!en7 (ut most of the time8 it is much safer to Bust 6et ri'ht out and lock u" one !alue 6et if you can 'et it7 +ho knows8 you may e!en 6e a6le to 'et in three 6ets on the ri!er if your o""onent raises youF ;ou should also 6et with an ei'ht if you stayed "at after the second draw7 ;our o""onent mi'ht call you with a weak hand ho"in' to "ick off a 6luff8 or he may make a nine and think it has a decent chance to 6e the 6est hand7 If you decide to check your "at hand on the ri!er8 6e "re"ared to call a 6et7 -'ain8 there is too much money in the "ot8 so it9s no time to 'et cute7 Lnless you ha!e an e cellent read on your o""onent9s tendencies8 you should 6e "re"ared to "ay off one 6et here7 +hen ;our O""onent Is *rawin' and ;ou -re Pat in Position (y this "oint8 the "ot is so 6i' that you should 6e ho"in' your o""onent misses8 'i!in' you what9s already in the middle7 If you stayed "at after the first draw with an 0>1>/>2>$8 you should check if your o""onent checks ahead of you7 )hances are8 your o""onent was drawin' to 6eat such a rou'h ei'ht8 so if he makes an ei'ht or 6etter8 he will either check and call8 or e!en check> raiseF The "ro6lem with 6ettin' such a rou'h ei'ht in this s"ot is that a worse hand will rarely call you7 *on9t tra" yourself 6y automatically 6ettin' here7 If you had made an ei'ht on the second draw8 you could make a case for 6ettin' it7 ;our o""onent mi'ht call you with a nine or e!en a ten8 tryin' to
.$$

"ick off a 6luff7 -'ain8 you ha!e to 6e u" a'ainst a "redicta6le o""onent8 one who doesn9t check>raise the ri!er and is a callin' station7 - callin' station may e!en call you with a Back8 Bust in case7 If your o""onent 6ets into you on the ri!er after you stayed "at8 chances are he made his hand and you9!e 6een 6eat7 (y this time there are often so many 6ets in the "ot that you 6etter 6e "retty certain your o""onents aren9t 'oin' to 6luff 6efore foldin'7 5aisin' on the 5i!er -s a rule8 you should ne!er lose fi!e 6ets on the ri!er7 If you are "uttin' in fi!e 6ets on the ri!er8 you 6etter ha!e "recisely $>.>2>I>17 +hile $>.>2>/>18 num6er two8 is a stron' hand8 if you "ut in fi!e 6ets on the ri!er with this hand8 you9ll lose7 Let9s look at an e am"leK ;ou make a $>.>2>/>1 after the first draw8 6ut on the last draw your o""onent 6ets into you7 Of course you would raise here8 6ut what should you do if your o""onent reraises youE +hat could he "ossi6ly ha!e to reraise you withE Most "layers would ne!er reraise with an ei'ht8 so your o""onent most likely has a se!en7 Hnowled'ea6le "layers won9t e!en raise with num6er four =$>2>I>/>1?8 so that lea!es $>.>2>I>18 $>.> 2>/>18 or $>.>I>/>17 ;ou can 6eat one of these hands8 tie another8 and lose to another7 The fact that you were reraised to three 6ets makes it e!en more likely that you are u" a'ainst a wheel or num6er two7 If you decide to make it four 6ets with your num6er two8 you will "ro6a6ly win an e tra 6et a'ainst the num6er three8 6ut you will lose two 6ets to the wheel7 The 6est "lay here is Bust to call7 In 'eneral8 you should only raise the ri!er with a stron' ei'ht or a se!en7 -ny other hand mi'ht 6e worth a 6et or a call8 6ut if you are raisin'8 you 6etter ha!e the 'oodsF The Nalue of Pairs +hile "airin' your cards seemin'ly doesn9t hel" you at all8 the fact that you may ha!e 6lockers a'ainst your o""onent9s draw increases the chances that you9ll win the "ot7 Let9s look at an e am"le7 Su""ose with one draw leftK ;OL =2/V?
.$.

;OL5 OPPONENT =I2V? Notice that the $>.>2>1 is a si'nificant fa!orite here7 Now let9s su""ose that alon' the way you "air fi!es8 si es8 and ei'hts7 +hat would that do to your chancesE ;OL =I$V? ;OL5 OPPONENT =20V?

*E-* )-5*S -ma%in'7 E!en thou'h your o""onent a""ears to ha!e the 6etter draw8 the fact that you9!e already 6urned three of the cards he would need makes your chances of winnin' the "ot 'o from 2/ "ercent all the way u" to a I$ "ercent fa!oriteF Hnowin' that8 you should understand why a hand like $>$>.>.>1 is so much 6etter than a hand like $>.>1>H>H7 It would essentially 6e the same draw =$> .>1?8 6ut your chances of winnin' the "ot with the first draw will 6e much 6etter than with the second draw7 So how do we use this information to our ad!anta'eE There are se!eral waysK =1? ;ou are in "osition drawin' two 'oin' into the last draw a'ainst a lone o""onent who drew one7 ;our draw is $>.>28 and you9!e already discarded a $8 two threes8 and a 27 -t this "oint you don9t know for certain if your o""onent is already "at8 6ut 6ecause of your "owerful discards8 you can assume that it will 6e tou'her for your o""onent to make a hand7 E!en if your o""onent has $>I>/>1 and is drawin' one8 you should still draw two 6ased on the "ot odds you are 6ein' laid7 +ith the dead cards you 6urned8 the $>I>/>1 would only 6e a I1 "ercent fa!orite a'ainst your two>card draw7 =$? ;ou can stay "at with a weaker hand7 If you "aired se!eral cards8 you can
.$2

assume that some of the cards your o""onent needs are now dead7 That will make it more difficult for him to make his hand7 In situations where you would normally 6reak a "at nine or e!en discard an ei'ht to draw to a wheel8 makin' !alua6le discards should influence your decision7 ;ou mi'ht want to kee" a hand you would otherwise fold8 such as a "at nine or a one>card draw to a rou'h ei'ht>se!en7 =.? Snowin' is a 6luffin' term that refers to stayin' "at 6efore the last draw des"ite ha!in' a 'ar6a'e hand7 Let9s look at an e treme e am"leK Let9s say you were dealt $>$>$>$>.7 Here you would ha!e two o"tions other than foldin'7 ;ou could draw three to the $>. or $8 or 6luff the hand throu'h7 Since you ha!e all of the "owerful deuces8 you know that your o""onents could not "ossi6ly make a se!en and would 6e hard "ressed to make an ei'ht7 See 6elow for a more in>de"th look at this techniJue7 How To Snow Snowin' is somethin' that you should do s"oradically7 If you do it too often it will lose its effecti!eness8 6ut not doin' it at all will make you too "redicta6le7 If you 'et cau'ht snowin' a'ain and a'ain8 you will 'et a few loose calls here and there8 6ut that will also make this 6luffin' wea"on useless to you7 On the other hand8 if you ne!er snow8 you won9t 'et "aid off like you should8 and you will 6e 'i!in' u" o""ortunities to steal some 6i' "ots7 In order to "ull it off8 you need to ha!e earned res"ect from your o""onents without 6ecomin' "redicta6le7 -s a 'eneral rule8 snowin' only when you ha!e three deuces8 three se!ens8 and so on would esta6lish a decent snowin' freJuency7 There are se!eral ways to snow8 and I could 'o on and on a6out all of them7 (ut if you ha!e a 'ood understandin' of the ones I descri6e 6elow8 you9ll do fine7 -s we learned in the last section8 the information you recei!e from "aired cards should hea!ily influence your decision of whether or not to snow7 ,enerally s"eakin'8 snowin' is more effecti!e if you9!e stayed "at on the first or second draw7 Stayin' "at so early in a hand re"resents stren'th7 Finally8 and as is the case with most "oker strate'ies8 this one works 6est when "layed in "osition7 So with the $>$>$>$>.8 you could raise it u" and stay "at ri'ht off the 6at7 If
.$I

you 'et any callers8 you would 6e forced to 6et the hand the whole way throu'h and ho"e that your o""onent doesn9t make a hand he is willin' to call you with7 Many times8 when you stay "at ri'ht off the 6at8 alarm 6ells 'o off in your o""onents9 heads7 They may sus"ect a snow and call you on the ri!er to find out7 To a!oid this8 you can draw one to your $>$>$>$>.8 and stay "at after the first draw7 This a""roach is 'enerally more 6elie!a6le and looks less sus"icious7 If somewhere alon' the way8 someone stays "at as well8 it9s time to a6ort the mission7 ;ou should fold to a 6et or8 naturally8 draw if it9s not 6et to you7 I "layed in a 'ame that illustrates a 'reat way to send your o""onents on tilt7 In a C18I33#C.8333 'ame with ,us Hansen8 I tried snowin' a hand with $>$> $>1>Q7 Lnfortunately8 'oin' into the last draw ,us stayed "at in front of me7 It looked like the Bi' was u"7 Sli'htly em6arrassed8 I drew three cards7 ,us 6et ri'ht out8 and I looked down at a .>2>I7 So o6!iously8 I raised itF I cau'ht not one8 not two8 6ut three "erfect cards7 Needless to say ,us didn9t find the hand all that funny7 The "oint of the story is sim"leK +hen you 'et cau'ht8 a6ort the mission7 *on9t continue throu'h with the 6luff if someone else has stood "at as well7 There is another8 more so"histicated snow "lay that often worksK Say 6oth you and your o""onent are drawin' one 'oin' into the last draw7 ;our o""onent checks8 and you make .>.>2>I>17 Since your o""onent checked8 it9s likely that he is still drawin'7 If you 6et and stay "at8 your o""onent will ha!e to assume you hit your hand7 If your o""onent misses on the ri!er8 you would continue with the 6luff and ho"e that your o""onent mucks7 If he makes a Back8 Jueen8 kin'8 ace8 or a "air8 he9ll almost always fold7 There is one last snow "lay I9d like to share with you7 ,oin' into the last draw your o""onent is drawin' one and you draw two in "osition to a $>.>17 ;our o""onent8 6ein' ahead one card8 6ets:as he should7 Then you catch $> $F If you call and draw8 you would 6e an underdo' to any hand8 so what a6out raisin' and stayin' "atE If your o""onent calls and draws one a'ain8 you can stay "at with your tri" deuces and 6et if your o""onent misses7 Now if your o""onent stays "at anyway8 then you9ll ha!e to a6ort the mission and
.$/

try to 'et really lucky drawin' two7 -)E>TO>FINE T5IPLE *5-+ In essence8 deuce>to>se!en and ace>to>fi!e tri"le draw are the same 'ame with different hand rankin' systems7 The same rules a""ly8 and the 6ettin' structure is the same7 The maBor difference is thisK In deuce>to>se!en8 the 6est "ossi6le hand is $>.> 2>I>1D while in ace>to>fi!e8 the 6est hand is ->$>.>2>I7 -ces count as low =ones? in ace>to>fi!e8 and neither strai'hts nor flushes count a'ainst you7 +hile these 'ames are e tremely similar8 the correct strate'ies to use differ sli'htly for each7 For e am"le8 snowin' isn9t as effecti!e in ace>to>fi!e as it is in deuce>to>se!en7 -nd althou'h the ace is the most im"ortant card in ace> to>fi!e8 it isn9t nearly as !alua6le as the deuce is in deuce>to>se!en7 Since strai'hts and flushes don9t count a'ainst you8 it9s much easier to make a stron' hand8 so 6luffin' is less "rofita6le7 I9m not 'oin' to s"end too much time on ace>to>fi!e8 as you should already ha!e a 'ood understandin' of the conce"ts of tri"le draw from the deuce>to> se!en section7 Howe!er8 I will 'i!e you some startin' hand 'uidelines and 'o o!er some of the finer "oints of the 'ame7 Pat Hands Here9s one 6i' difference 6etween the two 'amesK in ace>to>fi!e8 a "at ei'ht is a weak hand7 If you are dealt 0>/>.>$>-8 you would do 6etter discardin' the 0 and tryin' to make a 'ood si 7 ;ou would ha!e three chances to im"ro!e and twel!e cards to im"ro!e with8 s"ecifically fours8 fi!es8 and se!ens7 That makes you a fa!orite to im"ro!e on the ei'ht7 +hile ei'hts will often win in deuce>to>se!en8 you9d ha!e to consider yourself "retty lucky to win with an ei'ht in ace>to>fi!e7 - "at se!en or 6etter should 6e ke"t7 ;ou should "lay these hands a''ressi!ely8 forcin' your o""onents to "ay full "rice to outdraw you7 One>)ard *raws (elow are all the stron' one>card draws you should 6e "layin'8 from stron'est to weakest7
.$1

->$>.>2 ->$>.>I ->$>2>I ->.>2>I $>.>2>I ->$>.>/ ->$>2>/ ->.>2>/ ->$>I>/ ->.>I>/ ->2>I>/ $>.>2>/ $>.>I>/ Notice there is no one>card draw to a se!en7 *rawin' to a se!en on the first draw is askin' for trou6le7 - se!en will win its fair share of "ots8 6ut often you will make a second 6est hand and lose a lot of 6ets7 +ith a hand like -> $>.>1>H8 you are 6etter off drawin' two to the ->$>. than one to the ->$>.> se!en7 Two>)ard *raws Here are the 6est two>card draws8 from stron'est to weakest8 that can 6e "layed for any num6er of 6ets 6efore the first draw7 ->$>. ->$>2 ->.>2 $>.>2 In ace>to>fi!e8 it9s e tremely im"ortant to draw from the 6ottom u"7 +hile 6oth ->$>. and .>2>I offer you a two card wheel draw8 if you miss the wheel and make a si or worse8 it will often come down to the third8 fourth8 or e!en fifth card7 If the ->$>. and .>2>I 6oth catch a / on the first draw8 the ->$>. draw would 6e way in front7 In fact8 a 2 or a I would shut out the other draw com"letely7 The hands a6o!e are the stron'est two>card draws containin' no I or /8 6ut
.$0

they9re not the only two>card draws you can "lay7 The followin' hands8 listed from stron'est to weakest8 are often 'ood enou'h to raise with8 6ut not necessarily 'ood enou'h to come in cold for a dou6le raise8 if you9re outside the 6linds7 ->$>I $>.>I ->2>I $>2>I .>2>I ->$>/ ->.>/ $>.>/ ->2>/ $>2>/ .>2>/ ->I>/ $>I>/ *e"endin' on your skill le!el8 you should consider foldin' the 6ottom half of this list to a raise7 -s your skills im"ro!e8 you could think a6out e "andin' your list of startin' hands to include .>I>/8 and may6e e!en 2>I>/ in steal "osition:althou'h I still don9t ad!ise that "lay7 Three>)ard *raws The only time you should draw three is from the 6i' 6lind8 from the small 6lind for no raise8 or on the 6utton in an attem"t to steal the 6linds7 The only three>card draws you should 6e willin' to "lay areK ->$D ->.D and $>.7 Flo" and Turn Play The flo" and turn "lay ad!ice I offered you in the deuce>to>se!en section a""lies to the ace>to>fi!e 'ame as well8 with the only adBustment 6ein' that you should make less "lays in ace>to>fi!e 6ecause there are less "ure 6luffin' o""ortunities7 Stick to a solid 'ame "lan and solid startin' hands and you9ll do Bust fine7

.$4

FIN-L THOL,HTS I9m a 6i' fan of ace>to>fi!e tri"le draw8 es"ecially when it is "layed in a mi ed 'ame that includes deuce>to>se!en tri"le draw7 Peo"le will often 'et confused and "lay the wron' 'ame7 *on9t 6e that 'uyF If you are "layin' in a mi ed 'ame with 6oth !ersions of tri"le draw8 make sure you are alert and always know which 'ame you are "layin'7 Often times8 those "layers who are more accustomed to the deuce>to>se!en !ersion of tri"le draw really don9t understand the hand stren'ths in ace>to> fi!e7 I9!e "layed in hi'h>limit ace>to>fi!e 'ames with some fantastic "layers who stayed "at after the first draw with an ->.>2>/>4F In those same hi'h> limit 'ames8 I often hear someone call out @si >four8A only to find out later that they were "layin' deuce>to>se!enF If you "lan on "layin' hi'h limit "oker8 learnin' to "lay this 'ame is an a6solute must7 The "ots are 6i''er8 and the fluctuations can 6e monstrous7 -ddin' tri"le draw to the mi of 'ames makes all of the 'ames li!elier8 and since it causes such hu'e swin's8 it "reys on the emotionally weak7 +atch someone miss a cou"le of draws to the ->$>.>28 and you may soon see steam comin' out of their earsF (efore you know it8 they are chasin' that money in other 'ames as well7 If you9re 'oin' to "lay tri"le draw8 6e ready for an emotional roller coaster7 So 6e stron'8 6e smart8 and 6e sure to 6uckle u"F

..3

TOL5N-MENT ONE5NIE+ 6y *oyle (runson INT5O*L)TION Thanks to the recent media e "losion takin' "lace around no>limit tournament "oker8 learnin' how to "lay in tournaments is 6ecomin' more and more ad!anta'eous for e!ery "oker "layer7 Tournaments are !astly different from cash 'ames8 6ecause if you lose what you ha!e in front of you8 you are out of the tournament7 ;ou will come across many o""osin' strate'ies as you and your o""onents wrestle with this fact7 There are !ery few "layers who9!e had su6stantial success in 6oth tournaments and re'ular money 'ames8 and I9m fortunate to 6e one of them7 I9!e had really 'ood luck in tournament "lay o!er the years8 e!en thou'h I still "refer the cash 'ames7 So here are my thou'hts on the tournaments7 THE FI5ST *-; Early 5ounds There are two 6asic styles of "lay in tournament "okerK ti'ht and loose7 Of course8 there is a lot of room in 6etween8 so there are really many different s"eeds you can use7 -t the early le!els of a no>limit tournament8 I "refer "layin' e tremely ti'ht7 I don9t try to force the action7 I Bust win what the cards allow me to win as safely as "ossi6le7 If you9!e read the ori'inal Su"er#System or the no>limit cha"ter in this 6ook8 you know that that 'oes com"letely a'ainst my way of "layin' no>limit hold9em in cash 'ames7 My main thou'ht at these early le!els is on the !alue of the chi"s8 since their !alue now is much hi'her than it will 6e later on7 If you ad!ance far enou'h8 the antes and 6linds will e ceed all the chi"s you ha!e in front of you early in the tournament7 Play the early le!els8 es"ecially the first two le!els8 carefully and try to a!oid the all>in8 coin>fli" hands7 Try to "lay small "ots8 raise a lot of "ots with mar'inal hands8 6ut 6e "re"ared to "lay !ery cautiously if you 'et called7 ;ou must ha!e a 6etter
..1

hand to call than to raise7 For e am"le8 raise8 6ut don9t call8 with -E <E8 1E 1E8 HE <E7 (e disci"lined and 6e ready to lay down mar'inal hands7 I once saw Phil Hellmuth8 who has had 'reat success in no>limit hold9em tournaments8 lay down a HE <E to a QE 13E $E flo"7 He had raised the "ot8 6et at it on the flo"8 and 'ot raised all his chi"s7 It was early in the tournament and Phil "assed8 e!en thou'h he had a draw at an o"en>ended strai'ht flush7 This is somethin' that would ne!er ha""en in a cash 'ame7 I9m not sure I would ha!e "assed8 6ut it was "ro6a6ly correct to do so8 'i!en that Phil e "ected to ha!e e!en 6i''er ad!anta'es later7 Needless to say8 my o"inion of Phil9s no>limit tournament "lay went u" se!eral "oints after that hand7 Same Strate'y 5emem6er8 most of the "layers at your ta6le8 es"ecially the "rofessional "layers8 ha!e 6asically the same strate'y7 They know they ha!e to ad!ance to the ne t le!el8 so they are e tremely cautious7 The amateurs want to "lay awhile8 so they are usually "layin' ti'ht to 6e'in with7 Sometimes you ha!e a "layer at your ta6le that throws caution to the wind and "lays like a wild man8 raisin' and 6ettin' e!ery "ot7 ;ou ha!e to e!entually take a stand8 6ut the small 6lind structure allows you to 'et a Juality hand 6efore you challen'e that wild man7 -fter the First Two Le!els If you can increase your chi"s 6y 1I to $I "ercent in the first two le!els8 you ha!e done well7 -fter that8 you must ado"t more li6eral standards7 ;ou can make more sta6s at the lim"ers and at the antes and 6linds7 ;ou should usually make a 6et on the flo" whene!er you are the last raiser "re>flo"8 6ut 6e ready to "ut the 6rakes on if you 'et called7 I don9t usually ad!ocate check>callin' after the flo"8 6ut e!en with a !ery 'ood hand8 this is a safer way of "layin' at this sta'e of the tournament7 It kee"s you from 'ettin' 6roke7 ;ou ha!e to carefully e!aluate your ta6le8 "articularly if it isn9t 'oin' to 6reak for a while7 ;ou ha!e to 6e aware of the si%e of the chi" stack each "layer has7 5emem6er8 the short stacks are more likely to 'o all>in 6efore the flo" with mar'inal hands than the lar'er stacks7 Howe!er8 the short stacks
..$

can 6e "ushed around more easily after the flo" than the 6i' stacks7 If it9s a""arent that your ta6le isn9t 'oin' to 6reak8 you want to seem as if you9re unafraid to race 6y mo!in' all>in occasionally7 That is the 6est ima'e7 ;ou try to wait for a fa!ora6le o""ortunity to 'o all>in8 and you are almost always ho"in' not to 'et called7 If I can dou6le my chi"s the first day8 I9m ha""y7 THE SE)ON* *-; -fter the first day8 you9ll want to accelerate your "lay a little more7 Not 6y a lot8 6ecause you ha!e to remem6er that you can9t win the tournament until the last dayF (ut you ha!e to accumulate some chi"s in order to ha!e a 6etter chance to sur!i!e the ante and 6lind increase7 ;ou need to 6e aware of your own chi" count and your "osition in the tournament7 - few years a'o8 I had an early rush the second day and 'ra66ed C1383338 which "ut me amon' the leaders7 I had a fast ta6le with se!eral lar'e stacks7 On one hand8 the "layer in first "osition o"ened8 and the "layer in third "osition8 who had a6out CI38333 in chi"s and two +SOP cham"ionshi" 6racelets8 made a lar'e raise7 I looked down at my hand and found two kin's7 I considered my "osition in the tournament and then threw them away7 I9!e always felt I made the ri'ht "lay8 6ecause I was "ro6a6ly either 'oin' to win a small "ot or lose most of my chi"s7 The "layer I laid that hand down to was 5on Stanley7 He told me later that he had two aces8 6ut he also told a friend of mine that my kin's were 'ood7 Either way8 I 6elie!e I was correct in throwin' them away8 6ecause C138333 was sufficient to 'et me comforta6ly throu'h the ne t le!els8 and losin' CI38333 would ha!e 6een disastrous7 Ironically8 when we were down to twenty>three "layers8 the same 5on Stanley 6roke me with "ocket aces7 Here9s one last thou'ht a6out day two "layK <ust 6ecause you 'et short stacked8 don9t 6e suicidal late in the day7 5emem6er that the 6linds and antes increase a'ain startin' the third day8 and in maBor tournaments the "ri%e "ools are so 6i' that it9s worth your time and effort to try to catch an early rush7 To 6e in real contention you need four to ei'ht times your ori'inal 6uy>in7
...

THE THI5* *-; Enterin' the third day8 e!en if it is a four> or fi!e>day tournament8 I am a6out ready to start "layin' as I "lay in the cash 'ames7 I ha!e to remind myself8 @*on9t 6e afraid to 'o 6rokeFA Perha"s I won9t "lay Juite as loose as I "lay the cash 'ames8 6ut now I9m "re"ared to take races on other close 'am6les in what I think are fa!ora6le situations7 Make no mistake a6out it8 you ha!e to 6e !ery8 !ery lucky to win one of these maBor tournaments7 It9s im"ossi6le to "lay the entire tournament and always 6e a "rohi6iti!e fa!orite when the money 'oes in7 So you can see the "arlay that is reJuired to win a lar'e tournament7 The "layers that continue to "lay !ery ti'ht sometimes 'o dee" into the tournaments8 6ut seldom win7 +hen they arri!e at the later ta6les8 they are short>stacked and facin' a hu'e ante and 6linds7 They are forced to race for their chi"s 6efore they are ready8 so they are decided underdo's to the 6i' stacks8 who can 6etter control their destinies7 ;ou need to take control of your ta6le if "ossi6le7 ;ou can9t hel" what is ha""enin' at the other ta6les7 THE FIN-L T-(LE If you are lucky enou'h to make the final ta6le8 you need to e!aluate your "osition7 For e am"le8 if you ha!e second>"lace chi"s and there are se!eral short stacks8 you mi'ht try to a!oid any maBor confrontations until se!eral "layers are eliminated7 This de"ends on your financial situation and your desire to win the tournament7 If you really need the money and you ha!e a comforta6le chi" "osition8 you can often assure yourself of a second or third "lace finish 6y "layin' carefully7 That will result in a !ery nice "ayday in these e!er>increasin' lar'e tournaments7 Howe!er8 if your main interest is to win the tournament8 this is a "rime situation to really "lay a''ressi!ely and try to 'et closer to the leader or e!en o!ertake him7 The difference in fifth "lace and first "lace is so hu'e that most "layers are Bust tryin' to han' on and can 6e "ushed around in most "ots7 My main o6Becti!e has always 6een to win the tournament7 E!en 6efore I was
..2

financially secure8 I always did what I thou'ht was 6est to achie!e my 'oal of winnin' first "lace7 ;ou need to think a6out these thin's 6efore you start a tournament and decide what is 6est for you7 So if you are lucky enou'h to 'et to the last ta6le8 you9ll 6e ready7 +IL* )-5* There is one more thin' you may need to consider7 The e!er>increasin' num6er of weaker "layers enterin' the tournaments has added a new element in "oker7 I call it @two>card hold9em7A These weaker "layers know that they can9t com"ete with the 6etter "layers and that they will 'et out>"layed in the latter sta'es of the hands8 so they sim"ly wait for two hi'h cards or a wired "air and 6et all their chi"s 6efore the flo"7 I9!e seen this ty"e of "layer 'o dee" into the second and third day of the tournaments 6y doin' this7 I think Neal Furlon'8 a winner of the +SOP cham"ionshi"8 mostly used this strate'y7 I remem6er when )hris @<esusA Fer'uson was "layin' T7 <7 )loutier in the $333 +SOP finals7 T7 <78 who I think is "ro6a6ly the "remier tournament "layer in the world today8 was whittlin' )hris away8 cho""in' out the "ots without ha!in' to 'am6le !ery much7 )hris reco'ni%ed this after a while and decided he had to force the action7 So )hris made a come6ack8 and 'ot e!en with T7<7 in chi"s7 Then )hris 'ot ->4 and mo!ed in7 T7<7 had ->Q and called7 Then a 4 came on the flo" and )hris won the cham"ionshi"7 -'ain8 as in Hellmuth9s case8 )hris mo!ed u" in my o"inion 6y a hu'e amount7 He has "ro!en it was no fluke 6y winnin' fi!e 6racelets at the +SOP7 T7 <7 is the leadin' money winner in that tournament without e!er winnin' the main e!ent7 In closin'8 let me Juote my fa!orite line from my limit hold9em colla6orator8 <ennifer Harman7 @The winner of a heads>u" "ot will 'enerally 6e the "layer who "lays 6etter in mar'inal situations7A If you are interested in how I recommend you "lay in the cash 'ames and the later sta'es of the tournaments8 turn the "a'e7

..I

NO>LIMIT HOL*9EM POHE5 6y *oyle (runson INT5O*L)TION +hen I decided to create this all>new edition of Su"er#System8 I "ondered how much no>limit hold9em has chan'ed in the "ast twenty>se!en years7 Players are more knowled'ea6le and a''ressi!e today7 -nd no lon'er do you ha!e the lu ury of facin' half a ta6le full of o""onents who don9t ha!e a clue7 So8 I sat down to re!ise this cha"ter8 to 6rin' it u" to modern day standards7 (ut you know whatE I hadn9t read my own ad!ice for fifteen years8 and when I sat down to e amine it8 I Bust ke"t noddin' my head in a'reement and mutterin'8 @*amn8 that9s 'oodFA For you8 this ad!ice will 6e as "rofita6le today as when I first wrote it7 For meE +ell8 I9!e had to adBust my 'ame7 Most of my o""onents ha!e read this cha"ter in the ori'inal Su"er#System8 and if I "layed that way8 I9d 6e too "redicta6le7 ;ou don9t ha!e to "lay e actly the way I descri6e in this cha"ter7 ;ou9ll "ro6a6ly want to "ick your own style and modify these conce"ts to fit the 'ames you "lay7 Still8 if you incor"orate this ad!ice8 makin' it the soul of your strate'y8 the rest will fall in "lace7 I9!e added new thou'hts and e "anded some of the ideas8 6ut the core conce"ts remain as !alid and as "rofita6le today as e!er7 So8 here is my u"> to>date ad!ice8 6lendin' the "re!ious ti"s and the tactics that will always win at no>limit hold9em with some new insi'hts I ho"e will earn you e tra money7 Here9s how to conJuer any no>limit hold9em 'ame in the world7 -nte L" Now let9s Boin the introduction from my ori'inal no>limit hold9em cha"ter7 There9s a story I9!e 6een hearin' around "oker 'ames all my life7 It9s a6out a colorful "layer down in south Te as named (roomcorn7 =E!er since I related this story a6out (roomcorn in the ori'inal Su"er#System8 "eo"le ha!e asked me time and a'ain who was the real (roomcorn7 He is the late Lawrence
../

Herron from Houston7? +hene!er someone in the 'ame is "layin' real ti'ht8 the o""osin' "layers needle him 6y sayin'8 @+ell8 you9re 'onna 'o like (roomcorn9s uncle7A The ti'ht "layer "erks u" and res"onds shar"ly8 @+hat do you mean8 I9m 'onna 'o like himEA -nd they say8 @+ell8 he anted himself to death7A +hene!er you find yourself "layin' a !ery ti'ht and defensi!e style of "oker8 you9ll 6e in dan'er of antein' yourself to death7 -s I9!e always said8 the ante determines how fast you "lay in any "oker 'ame7 Since you9ll 'enerally "lay in a normal or medium ante 'ames8 if you "lay an a''ressi!e style of "oker8 you9ll ha!e the 6est of it7 That9s the way I recommend you "lay8 and it works7 This is es"ecially true in no>limit hold9em8 which in my o"inion is the )adillac of "oker 'ames:and not Bust 6ecause it9s my 6est 'ame7 Many of the world9s 6est "oker "layers8 some of whom are only 6e'innin' to a""reciate the 'reat !ariety of skills you need to 6e a to">le!el hold9em "layer8 a'ree with me7 -lthou'h hold9em is similar in some res"ects to se!en>card stud8 there are enou'h differences to "ut it in a class 6y itself7 It9s truly a 'ame that reJuires !ery s"ecial talents in order to "lay it at a world>class le!el7 -6o!e all else8 no>limit hold9em is a 'ame where you ha!e to 6e a''ressi!e :and you ha!e to 'am6le7 One of the 'reat thin's a6out hold9em is the infinite !ariety in the 'ame7 There are so many different com6inations of hands and !arious "lays in certain situations that the 'ame ne!er 'ets 6orin'7 Lnlike other forms of "oker8 you can re"resent a lot of different hands in hold9em and "ut your o""onent on one of se!eral hands as well7 It9s a !ery com"le 'ame7 ;ou9re forced to do a lot of 'uessin'8 as is your o""onent7 ,et in There and ,am6le If you want to 6e a winner:a 6i' winner:at no>limit hold9em8 you can9t "lay a solid8 safe 'ame7 My "hiloso"hy of "lay at no>limit hold9em is a sim"le oneK Try to win 6i' "ots and "ick u" the small ones =win without a contest?7 It9s a "hiloso"hy that necessitates a 'am6lin' style of "lay7 My style7 O!er the years8 this style has fostered numerous comments from countless "layers a6out how @luckyA I am7 I9!e 6een hearin' that for years7 The sim"le
..1

fact is that it9s not true7 E!eryone 'ets lucky once in a while8 6ut no one is consistently lucky7 It takes more than luck to 6e a consistently 6i' winner throu'h the years8 as I ha!e done7 It is somethin' else7 ;ou9ll soon disco!er what that @somethin' elseA is7 I a""ear to 6e a lucky "layer 6ecause e!ery time a 6i' "ot comes u"8 I usually ha!e the worst hand7 There are 'ood reasons for that7 I9m a !ery a''ressi!e "layer7 I reach out and "ick u" small "ots all the time7 I9m always 6ettin' at those "ots8 hammerin' at them7 -nd I don9t want any6ody to sto" me from doin' that7 I don9t want anyone to defeat my style of "lay7 -nd if I9!e 'ot any kind of a hand8 any kind of a draw8 I 6et7 If I 'et raised8 I don9t Juit7 I 'o ahead and 'et all my money in the "ot8 if it9s a reasona6le amount8 knowin' I "ro6a6ly ha!e the worst hand and am the underdo' to win the "ot7 )allin' a Post>Oak (luff Sometimes I9ll e!en call a !ery small 6et in a 6i' "ot8 knowin' my o""onent mi'ht 6e tryin' to "ull off a "ost>oak 6luff Bust to 'et a chance at a draw7 (ut if I9m 'oin' to 'am6le like that8 my o""onent must ha!e a lot of chi"s on the ta6le7 For e am"le8 say I ha!e a 13>4 and8 with C138333 in the "ot8 the flo" comes 0>.>$7 +ith a ra''edy flo" like that8 my o""onent:a ti'ht "layer8 let9s say:mi'ht try to "ick u" the "ot with a "ost>oak 6luff of C18$337 +ell that9s a 'utless 6et8 and I9ll call it tryin' to catch a Back or a 18 Bust so I can 'et an o"en>end strai'ht draw on fourth street7 Of course8 I9m ho"in' to catch a 13 or a 48 and I9m in a 'ood "osition to "ick u" the "ot on fourth street8 whether I im"ro!e or not7 The ti'ht "layer who made that weak 6et on the flo" is askin' me to take his money7 -nd in most cases8 that9s e actly what I9m 'oin' to do when the ne t card falls:re'ardless of what it is7 I9m 'oin' to make a lar'e 6et into that ti'ht "layer 6ecause I feel confident he9s 'oin' to throw his hand away and not "ut his whole stack in Beo"ardy7 -s you can "ro6a6ly 'uess8 I ne!er make "ost>oak 6luffs7 -''ression I9!e 6uilt a re"utation as an e tremely a''ressi!e "layer7 -nd I don9t e!er want to lose that re"utation7 It9s what ena6les me to "ick u" more than my
..0

share of "ots7 In most cases8 my o""onents are afraid to "lay 6ack at me 6ecause they know I9m lia6le to set them all>in7 So when they don9t ha!e a real 6i' hand8 they let 'o of the "ot8 and I "ick it u"7 The accumulation of all those small "ots is a 6i' "art of my winnin' formula7 It9s the 6onus I 'et for "layin' the way I do8 and it9s the secret of my success7 If I win ten "ots where no6ody has a 6i' hand8 ten "ots with let9s say C.8333 in them8 I can afford to take $ to 1 the worst of it and "lay a C.38333 "ot7 I9!e already 'ot that "ot co!ered thanks to all the small "ots I9!e "icked u"7 -nd when I "lay that 6i' "ot8 it9s a freeroll7 -s I said a little while a'o8 when a 6i' "ot9s "layed8 I9!e usually 'ot the worst hand7 I9d say that when all the money 'oes in8 I9!e 'ot the worst hand o!er I3 "ercent of the time7 O6!iously8 I wouldn9t 6e a6le to o!ercome that statistic if I didn9t always "ad my stack 6y "ickin' u" all those small "ots throu'hout the 'ame7 Of course8 I9m almost ne!er com"letely out on a lim6 in a 6i' "ot7 +hene!er I make a su6stantial 6et or raise8 I9!e usually 'ot an out7 (ettin' with an out8 that9s what I call it7 -nd it9s the out I ha!e that makes me a""ear lucky when I9m a do' in a 6i' "ot and wind u" winnin' it7 There are other 6enefits to "layin' the a''ressi!e way I recommend7 ;ou9ll 6e a6le to 6reak a lot of "layers 6ecause you9re in there 'am6lin' all the time8 and 6ecause of that8 you9ll 'et a lot of your real 'ood hands "aid off7 Ti'ht "layers don9t 'et their real 'ood hands "aid off 6ecause they rarely make a mo!e8 so that whene!er they do8 their hand is an o"en 6ook7 -nd they almost ne!er chan'e 'ears and start "layin' loose7 (ut you9ll 6e out there 6ettin'8 6ettin'8 6ettin'8 all the time7 ;our o""onents will see you9re an a''ressi!e "layer7 They9ll know you9re out there tryin' to "ick u" all those "ots8 so they9ll sometimes 'i!e you a little loose action7 -nd since you won9t always 6e out there with the worst hand8 you9ll 6reak one or two of them7 -fter that8 they may 6e scared to 'et in!ol!ed with you7 So your style of "lay will decei!e and 6efuddle your o""onents7 They won9t know whether or not you9!e really 'ot a hand7 They won9t know whether you9re 'oin' to set them all>in or not7 -nd anytime you 'et your o""onents in
..4

that confused state of mind you9ll ha!e an ad!anta'e o!er them7 Of course8 you won9t "lay e!ery hand a''ressi!ely7 Occasionally you9ll slow down8 and sometimes you9ll com"letely sto" and throw your hand away7 ;ou should ne!er start out 6luffin' at a "ot and kee" 6luffin' at it without an out7 For e am"le8 whene!er I raise the "ot 6efore the flo" I9m 'oin' to 6et after the flo" a6out 43 "ercent of the time7 If the flo" comes com"letely ra''ed8 and it doesn9t look like anyone can ha!e much of it8 I9m 'oin' to 6et at the "ot and try to "ick it u" e!en if I don9t ha!e a "iece of the flo"7 If I 'et called I9m usually 'oin' to 'i!e it u":unless I ha!e some kind of an out:e!en as little as third "air or an inside strai'ht draw7 Sometimes8 you can kee" hammerin' on certain "layers and dri!e them off e!en when you don9t ha!e an out7 (ut you9re usually 6etter off when you ha!e some kind of esca"e hatch7 The reason I occasionally 'o ahead and "ut in all my money when I know I9!e "ro6a6ly 'ot the worst hand deser!es re"eatin'8 since it9s so im"ortant for you to understand7 I do it 6ecause I don9t want some6ody "layin' 6ack at me and tryin' to sto" me from 6ein' the a''ressor7 If I allow that to ha""en8 it9ll cram" my style7 I9ll no lon'er 6e a6le to "ick u" all those "ots when no6ody has a hand7 -nd most of the time8 no6ody has anythin' decent7 Some6ody9s 'ot to 'et the money that9s left out there7 I want it to 6e me7 Small )onnectin' )ards -n e am"le will 6est show you what I9m talkin' a6out7 Let9s say I raised 6efore the flo" with a ty"e of hand that9s one of my fa!oritesK small connectin' cards that are suited7 I9m in the "ot with one "layer who called 6ehind me7 -t this "oint8 I "ut him on a cou"le of 6i' cards or a medium "air7 That9s all ri'ht7 It9s what I want him to ha!e7 Now8 here9s what9ll ha""en if the followin' flo" comes u"K +ith that flo"8 I9m 'oin' to lead ri'ht off and 6et7 If he "lays 6ack at me8 I can now 6e Juite sure he9s 'ot two aces or 6etter7 So8 I9m a6out a 4 to I do'7 The "ot odds will com"ensate a little 6it for that "rice8 6ut it won9t 6e layin' me enou'h to "ut the rest of my money in7 (ut I don9t want that same 'uy8 who mi'ht 6e a "retty 'ood "layer8 takin' a <>13 and makin' that same "lay when I don9t ha!e anythin'7 To let his "lay succeed8 I ha!e to throw my hand
.23

away and 'i!e him the "ot7 (ecause I want the "ot8 I can9t let him succeed7 I want him to fear me7 I want him to ha!e the o"inion I9m 'oin' to defend the money I "ut out there7 I don9t want him to ha!e any dou6ts a6out that8 so I 'o ahead and "ut the rest of my money in7 In makin' that "lay on the flo"8 there9s a 'ood chance I can win the "ot ri'ht there7 (ecause I9m known to "lay any reasona6le hand:and some unreasona6le hands in a shorthanded hi'h>ante 'ame:I9!e really made it tou'h on him7 I could9!e flo""ed a set of tri"s8 two "air8 or e!en the strai'ht7 I9!e "ut him on the defensi!e and he9s 'ot a lot of 'uessin' to do7 It9s not all that 6ad if he decides to call me 6ecause I9!e 'ot an out7 If I make my strai'ht8 I9m 'oin' to 6reak him7 -nd if I draw out on him8 it will look like I 'ot lucky a'ain7 +ell8 I did and I didn9t7 +hen I mo!ed in on him8 I was 'am6lin' to "ick u" the "ot7 +hen I didn9t succeed 6ecause of his call8 you mi'ht say I 'ot unlucky7 +hat9s more8 I am su""osed to make my draws once in a while7 In fact8 in that s"ecific situation I9ll draw out more than one third of the time8 6y makin' my strai'ht or 6ackdoorin' two "air or tri"s7 - !ery interestin' thin' a6out that "articular 1>/ hand is that I9d rather ha!e it than a 4>07 The reason is that when you flo" a strai'ht with a 4>08 you9ll freJuently find that some6ody is on to" of you7 For e am"le8 when the flo" comes Q><>138 an ->H will ha!e you nutted8 and e!en a sucker who "lays a H>4 will ha!e you 6eat7 I9!e flo""ed many a strai'ht with a 4>08 6ut when a Q><>13 falls8 I9m always real cautious with the hand7 (ecause "eo"le "lay the hi'her cards more freJuently than the lower ones8 you9re less likely to 6e in trou6le if you flo" a strai'ht with a 1>/ than you would 6e with a 4>07 I9ll discuss the 'eneral cate'ory of small connectin' cards in 'reat detail a little later7 -s I "re!iously noted8 they9re one of my fa!orite hands7 *ou6le (elly>(uster Strai'ht -nother of my fa!orites is a hand where you can flo" a two>way inside or dou6le 6elly>6uster strai'ht7 It9s one of the most dece"ti!e hands there is8 and I es"ecially like it in no>limit7 It has all the ad!anta'es of an o"en>end strai'ht8 6ut it9s not as easy to read7 (ecause it9s so dece"ti!e8 I almost always raise with it when I can win a 6i' "ot7 For e am"le8 say you ha!e a Q>13 and the flo" comes
.21

-><>07 -s you can see8 it9s !ery dece"ti!e 6ecause you can make a strai'ht with a 4 or a kin'7 +hat9s more8 if you catch a kin' and there9s someone with ->H in the "ot with you8 you can see all the trou6le he9s in7 Since dou6le 6elly>6usters are such 'ood 'am6lin' hands8 you mi'ht find the followin' Juick rule of thum6 usefulK It9s "ossi6le to flo" a dou6le 6elly> 6uster with any two cards that are "art of a strai'ht8 such as 1>/8 0>/8 4>/8 and 13>/7 -lso8 two cards with fi!e 'a"s 6etween them such as a Q>/ can also flo" a dou6le 6elly>6uster draw7 In the su""lement at the end of this section you9ll find a com"lete rundown on all the hands that ha!e dou6le 6elly>6uster "otential7 +hen you flo" a dou6le 6elly>6uster draw8 you should make careful note of which of your "ossi6le strai'hts will 6e the nuts7 For e am"le8 if you ha!e a <>4 and the fall is H>13>18 6oth an 0 and a Jueen will make you a strai'ht7 Howe!er8 only the 0 will 'i!e you the nuts7 If a Jueen falls on fourth8 someone with an ->< can 6eat your strai'ht7 So you must 6e careful: es"ecially in no>limit "lay:and you must know how to read the 6oard "erfectly in order to reco'ni%e what hand is the a6solute nuts7 Practice at home until you don9t make a sin'le mistake7 ;ou9ll learn Juick enou'h if you 'et 6roke a few times with what you thou'ht was the nuts 6ut turned out to 6e only the second 6est hand7 Look a'ain at the e am"le a6o!e7 - "layer with a <>4 could easily think he had the 6est strai'ht when the Jueen fell until someone showed him an ->< for all his money7 -n easy way to determine whether your strai'ht is the nuts is 6y followin' some sim"le 'uidelines7 ;ou9ll ha!e the nut strai'ht ifK =1? The hi'h>end of the strai'ht is made u" with the hi'hest card in your handD or =$? The hi'h>end of the hi'hest "ossi6le strai'ht is already on the 6oard7 *rawin' to a dou6le 6elly>6uster is one of few situations in no>limit where you mi'ht 6e drawin' to an inside strai'ht that won9t make the 6est hand7 -s I noted earlier8 inside strai'ht draws can 6e real 'ood "lays in no>limit hold9em 6ecause for a few chi"s you ha!e the o""ortunity to win a !ery 6i' "ot7 (ut you almost ne!er draw to a sin'le 6elly>6uster strai'ht that will not
.2$

6e the 6est hand if you make it7 They9re lon'>shot "lays8 so when you do make them8 you want to 6e sure they9re the nuts7 For e am"le8 let9s say you held Q>< and the fall was 4>0>27 Now you mi'ht want to draw at that 6elly>6uster8 tryin' to catch a 13 or make a 6i' "air =e!en in limit8 6ut mostly in no>limit?7 ;ou know if you catch that 138 you9ll ha!e a cinch hand7 (ut if you held a />I8 you9d ne!er draw to it with that flo" 6ecause there9d 6e two different strai'hts that could 6eat you if you catch a 18 the />1>0>4>13 and the 1>0>4>13><7 If a man makes a strai'ht with you8 he9s either 'ot you tied or he9s 'ot you 6eat7 So8 you ne!er draw to the dead>end of a sin'le 6elly>6uster7 (efore you decide to draw to a 6elly>6uster8 you also want to 6e reasona6ly certain that your o""onent is 'oin' to 'am6le with you if you do make it7 I mean8 drawin' to a 6elly>6uster is a 'ood "lay8 6ut only if you can win a 6i' "ot 6y makin' your lon' shot7 So you want your o""onent to ha!e the 6est hand "ossi6le on the 6oard7 If the flo" came 4>0>28 as a6o!e8 ideally8 you want your o""onent to ha!e three nines7 ;ou don9t want him to ha!e a "air of kin's or ->47 ;ou want him to ha!e at least ei'hts and nines8 or 6etter7 ;ou want him to ha!e a !ery 6i' hand7 ;our Q>< would 6e a !ery 'ood hand a'ainst three nines7 It wouldn9t 6e as 'ood a'ainst a "air of nines 6ecause it won9t make enou'h money7 ;our o""onent will release a "air far more readily than he9ll release a set7 So if you can 'et in real chea" and ha!e the "otential to win a 6i' "ot8 6elly> 6uster strai'hts are 'ood 'am6les7 (ut you also ha!e to 6e !ery selecti!e a6out the 6elly>6usters you do draw to7 ;ou don9t want it to 6e a""arent to your o""onent that you could9!e made a strai'ht7 In the illustration Bust used8 you mi'ht not 'et the action you want if a 13 falls off on fourth street7 The Q> < is actually a weak hand when the flo" is 4>0>27 ;our o""onent mi'ht "ut you on a 1>/ and8 when the 13 came8 he mi'ht 6e !ery leery a6out callin' a 6i' 6et you made7 The strai'ht "ossi6ility mi'ht e!en scare him off com"letely7 (ut if a "ossi6le strai'ht wasn9t so a""arent when the 13 came off8 you could "ro6a6ly win a lot of money7 Let9s say you had the QE 4E8 and the flo" was <> 0>$7 ;ou mi'ht want to "ick the 13 off there 6ecause that would 6e a !ery
.2.

dece"ti!e 6elly>6uster draw7 -nd inside strai'hts like these are the ones you want to draw for to win a 6i' "ot 6ecause they aren9t so o6!ious7 (luffs If you 'raduate from limit hold9em to no>limit8 you mi'ht find yourself doin' many thin's8 in addition to drawin' to inside strai'hts8 that sim"ly won9t work when all it can cost your o""onent is another 6et7 - 'ood e am"le of a 6luff that has a lot of "ower to it in no>limit8 6ut will rarely work at limit8 comes when the 6oard is one card off a strai'ht on fourth street7 Let9s say there9s an ->H>Q>< out there and your o""onent 6ets7 ;ou9!e 'ot a 13 in the hole8 and since there9s no flush "ossi6le8 you9!e 'ot the nuts7 ;our o""onent 6ets8 you raise8 and he "lays 6ack7 Now8 there9s no Juestion he9s also 'ot a strai'ht7 -n unso"histicated "layer would mo!e in on him ri'ht there 6ecause he knows he can9t lose7 (ut what 'ood is thatE He9s only 'oin' to 'et a s"lit7 Howe!er8 addin' some drama and a little actin' to your "lay 'i!es you a chance to win it all7 ;ou know you9re 'oin' to call his reraise 6ut you don9t ha!e to do it instantaneously7 Take your time7 <ust stall around7 Study the 6oard real hard and shake your head se!eral times makin' it a""ear as thou'h you o!erlooked the "ossi6le strai'ht7 ;ou could e!en "ick u" your cards sli'htly and make him think you9re 'oin' to throw them away7 Then "ut them 6ack down and say @Okay8 I9ll call it7A +ith all your a'oni%in'8 he9s 'ot to 'i!e you credit for a set7 ;ou9!e made him think you9re 'am6lin' the 6oard will "air so you9ll make a full7 If the 6oard does "air on the end8 you 6et him all your money7 There9s almost no risk to that "lay7 ;ou re"resent a full and many a time your o""onent will throw his hand away7 Of course8 it9s almost im"ossi6le to do in limit 6ecause all the 'uy has to do is call one 6et7 )allin' a (luff -s you can see from the "lay Bust descri6ed8 6luffin' often in!ol!es a lot of art7 (ut there9s science to it also7 There9s e!en science to callin' a 6luff7 The followin' "ot I was in!ol!ed in will clearly illustrate what I mean7 In a small ante no>limit 'ame early in my career8 I was on the 6utton8 so I lim"ed in with a <>13 in the hole7 There were two "layers in the "ot in front
.22

of me7 Here9s what the flo" looked likeK FLOP -s you see8 I had a 6elly strai'ht draw7 Since there was no raise 6efore the flo"8 I was reasona6ly sure neither of my two o""onents had !ery stron' hands7 On the flo"8 the 'uy in the first seat made a reasona6ly si%ed 6et =throu'hout these discussions8 a reasona6ly si%ed 6et means a6out the si%e of the "ot?8 and the "layer in front of me called it7 (oth "layers had a lot of money in front of them8 so I called as well7 The fourth card was the $E7 They 6oth checked on fourth street8 and so did I7 The last card was the .E7 The 6oard now looked like thisK

+hen all the cards were out8 the 'uy in the first seat checked a'ain7 -fter he 6et on the flo" and then checked twice on fourth and fifth8 I fi'ured he had the to" "air with a 6ad kicker7 I felt the 'uy in front of me was drawin' at some kind of strai'ht and o6!iously had missed his hand7 Much to my sur"rise8 he made a real out>of>line 6et on the end8 far 6i''er than the si%e of the "ot7 +hen he did that8 it looked to me like he was clearly tryin' to steal the "ot7 I was also sure I had him hi'h>carded7 -s I said8 I felt sure he was drawin' at a smaller strai'ht than I was7 If I was correct in thinkin' I had 6een drawin' at the hi'hest "ossi6le strai'ht8 I knew I9d win the "ot if I Bust called7 I also knew the other "layer couldn9t o!ercall 6ecause his hand wasn9t stron' enou'h7 So I called that out>of>line 6et8 and my analysis "ro!ed correct7 The "layer with the "air threw his hand away and <ohnny Moss8 the 'uy who o!er>6et the "ot8 was drawin' to a little strai'ht7 So I won the "ot with a Back>hi'h7 I didn9t tell you that "oker story 6ecause I won the "ot with a Back>hi'h7 -nd you shouldn9t remem6er it for that reason7 It has a more si'nificant messa'e7 I told you I felt neither 'uy had much of anythin' and e "lained why7 O6!iously8 it was more than Bust a ne6ulous feel7 I had "layed with 6oth those
.2I

'uys often8 so I used a certain amount of reasonin' and a "rocess of elimination7 -nd a lot of it was 6ased on recall of "re!ious hands7 5ecall +hene!er I use the word @feel8A you should understand it9s not some e tra> sensory "ower that I ha!e7 It9s Bust that I recall somethin' that ha""ened "re!iously7 E!en thou'h I mi'ht not consciously do it8 I can often recall if this same "lay or somethin' close to it came u" in the "ast8 and what the "layer did or what some6ody else did7 So8 many times I 'et a feelin' that he9s 6luffin' or that I can make a "lay and 'et the "ot7 (ut actually my su6conscious mind is reasonin' it all out7 ;ou 6uild u" a history of e!ery "layer you e!er "layed with8 I mean e!eryone that you9!e e!er done any serious 'am6lin' with7 ;ou9!e 'ot some kind of information on them7 It9s there8 6uried in your mind7 -nd you don9t ha!e to concentrate to 'et it out7 +hen the time comes to use it8 you won9t ha!e to force it7 It9ll come naturally7 -ll 'ood "oker "layers ha!e tremendous recall7 They reach 6ack into the de"ths of their minds and remem6er what a certain 'uy did in a similar situation7 - 'ood "layer mi'ht not reali%e what he9s doin' and he mi'ht not know e actly what it is8 6ut he feels when a 'uy is 6luffin' and knows he can make a real 6i' "lay or make a su"er call7 The !i6rations are definitely there7 -nd what it actually is8 is a sense of recall7 If the same situation or a similar one e isted some time a'o8 a 'ood "layer knows e actly what to do in this one7 It9s usually a stress situation8 when a relati!ely lar'e amount of money is in!ol!ed8 that "ro!es a "layer9s recall a6ility7 There9s another kind of feel you can ha!e in a 'ame that doesn9t de"end on recall7 This ty"e of feel de"ends on close o6ser!ation of what9s 'oin' on durin' a "articular session7 ;ou acJuire this feel when you notice that a certain "layer is really off his 'ame and "layin' far worse than normal7 This ha""ens all the time7 - lot of "layers lose control and 'o on tilt after they 'et one or more 6i' hands cracked7 They 6ecome un'lued8 lose their com"osure7 To recou" their losses8 they start "layin' weak hands8 and they "lay those hands 6adly:!ery 6adly7
.2/

It9s easy to ca"itali%e on those situations7 Let9s say you9re in a 'ame with a hi'h>ante structure8 =a su6Bect I9ll co!er in 'reater detail 6elow? and naturally e!ery6ody9s "layin' real fast7 ;ou "layed a <>4 and the flo" came ->4>07 Normally8 if you 'ot "layed with8 you9d 6e !ery concerned a6out that ace and also your kicker7 (ut in this case8 you9re in the "ot with a "layer who9s losin' and8 from what you9!e seen8 he9s "layin' !ery 6adly7 ;ou check on the flo"8 and so does he7 -ll of a sudden8 you 'et a @feelA that all he9s 'ot is the third "air8 a "air of ei'hts7 Since he checked8 you feel he 'ot somethin'8 a small "iece of the flo"7 He didn9t 6et 6ecause he wants to 'et the hand shown>down7 If he had nothin' he would9!e 6et to try to steal the "ot7 -nd you know he doesn9t ha!e an ace7 ;ou know the worst that can ha""en is that he could also ha!e a 4 and run you down8 chase you7 +ell8 what you want is for him to run you down with an 08 which is what you really think he has7 (ut you feel confident you9re not wron'7 If a ra' falls off on fourth8 you 6et7 ;ou know he9s 'oin' to call you8 almost out of des"eration 6ecause he9s losin'7 So you make some money on fourth and also on the end7 ;ou know he9s not 'oin' to show you a hand unless he 'ets lucky and "airs his kicker7 The !ery sur"risin' thin' a6out the "re!ious discussion is that the "layer I was referrin' to as on tilt is actually a !ery 'ood "layer7 He could e!en 6e world>class7 Of course8 the su"er>stars of the "oker world:those who I "lay a'ainst on a re'ular 6asis: are a6le to e ercise far more control than the a!era'e "layer7 ;et e!en a real 'ood "layer has moments when he9s "layin' considera6ly off his usual 'ame7 So you ha!e to 6e o6ser!ant and take ad!anta'e of such o""ortunities when they "resent themsel!es7 ;ou9ll ha!e many more o""ortunities to do that a'ainst the a!era'e "layer sim"ly 6ecause they lose control far more often7 )ate'ori%in' ;our O""onents It is also e tremely im"ortant that you 6e a6le to assess the Juality of your o""onents9 "lay7 ;ou ha!e to "lay !ery differently a'ainst stron' "layers than you do a'ainst weaker ones7 This is of crucial im"ortance in no>limit7 Shortly8 I9m 'oin' to 'o into considera6le detail on this im"ortant su6Bect 6ecause I9!e seen !ery 'ood "layers fail to adBust their strate'y when they9re
.21

in a "ot with a certain ty"e of "layer7 In fact8 recently one of the 6est "layers I know made such amateurish mistakes that I wouldn9t ha!e 6elie!ed it "ossi6le if I hadn9t seen it with my own two eyes7 (ut 6efore I 'et into the s"ecific details8 I want to 'i!e you two 'eneral rules to 'uide you in this matter7 =1? -'ainst a low>'rade "layerK ;ou sim"ly make the o6!ious "lay7 That is8 you don9t try to 'et fancy when you9re in a "ot with a weak "layer7 ;ou don9t try to make su6tle mo!es that9ll 6e far 6eyond his ca"acity to understand or a""reciate7 In a word8 you out"lay him7 =$? -'ainst a hi'her>'rade "layer =someone who could 6e thinkin' alon' the same lines as you?K ;ou must mi >u" your "lay7 Sometimes you make an o6!ious "lay a'ainst a stron' "layer:as you always would a'ainst a weak "layer:and other times you 'o at it another way and make a "lay that9s not so o6!ious7 Most of the time8 you ha!e to "ut a "lay on or out>maneu!er a stron' "layer7 In a nutshell8 that9s all there is to it7 -nd it seems sim"le and lo'ical enou'h7 There are e!en !ery 'ood "layers who know that that9s what they9re su""osed to do8 6ut knowin' somethin' and 6ein' a6le to e ecute it are two different thin's7 Playin' -'ainst a +eak Player There was a "articular "layer who entered a tournament for the first time and8 almost immediately8 it 6ecame o6!ious that he was a weak "layer7 He was the su"reme e am"le of a callin' station8 a "layer who9s ne t to im"ossi6le to 6luff7 E!en thou'h I had ne!er "layed a'ainst him 6efore8 it didn9t take me !ery lon' to reco'ni%e the ty"e of "layer he was7 I9!e "layed with thousands Bust like him throu'hout my career7 So I knew what to do when I was in!ol!ed in a "ot with him7 More "recisely8 I knew what not to do7 I was not 'oin' to try to 6luff him7 Not e!en once7 I Juickly decided that if I was in the "ot with him8 I was 'oin' to show him a hand7 -nd8 if he 'ot lucky enou'h to 6eat me8 well8 he was 'oin' to 6eat a hand7 My mind was made u"7 (ut there were other !ery 'ood "layers in this tournament who tried to run
.20

o!er him8 tried to force him out of a "ot7 They 6luffed at him constantly and were rarely successful7 If he had anythin' at all he looked Oem u"7 -s I said8 he was the ultimate callin' station7 He looked enou'h of them u" to finish far hi'her than he should ha!e7 He was "ro6a6ly a6out a 1333 to 1 do' to finish as hi'h as he did7 The reason he did was sim"ly 6ecause so many "layers: and some of them !ery e "erienced:Bust handed him their money7 They literally 'a!e it away to him7 +hat they should not ha!e done is try to 6luff him7 It takes an idiot8 in my 6ook8 to 6luff at a man who you know is 'oin' to call you7 ;ou sim"ly can9t 6luff a 6ad "layer 6ecause a 6ad "layer will call when he9s 'ot any kind of a hand and "ass when he doesn9t7 It9s clear>cut7 ;ou don9t ha!e to 6e an e "ert "sycholo'ist to fi'ure out what he9s doin'7 -ll you ha!e to know is that if he9s in the "ot he9s 'ot somethin'7 -nd you9re not 'oin' to 'et him out of the "ot 6y tryin' to 6luff him7 -6o!e all8 you don9t want to 'am6le with that kind of a "layer7 For'et a6out that7 Show him a hand7 ;ou do !ery fundamental8 e!en o6!ious thin's a'ainst a 6ad "layer:no tricks8 no strate'ic "lay8 nothin' fancy7 Play strai'htforward "oker a'ainst a weak "layer7 For e am"le8 if a weak "layer raised the "ot comin' in8 then checked it on the flo"8 and checked a'ain on fourth street8 I would automatically 6et8 re'ardless of what I9!e 'ot8 6ecause I9d know he doesn9t ha!e anythin' at all7 It9s sim"le to out"lay him 6ecause his actions tell me whether he9s 'ot somethin' or not7 There9s no mystery a6out it7 I could also out"lay him 6y adBustin' my style to his7 For e am"le8 I noted that I9m always sta66in' around tryin' to "ick u" "ots7 I could still do that with a weak "layer in the "ot8 6ut I9d adBust my "lay 6ecause he9s in there7 For instance8 I mi'ht raise him without lookin' at my hand7 Now8 here comes the flo" and he checks7 +ell8 I9m 'oin' to 6et at that "ot in the dark 6ecause I know he "ro6a6ly doesn9t ha!e anythin'8 and I also know he9s "ro6a6ly 'oin' to "ass7 He checked8 didn9t heE If he had somethin'8 he would9!e 6et7 Of course8 I mi'ht ha!e to make a further adBustment7 If he checked on the flo" and then called me8 I9d 'i!e him credit for somethin'7 If there9s no strai'ht or flush draw out there8 he9s "ro6a6ly 'ot a small "iece of the 6oard7
.24

If he had a 6i' "iece he would9!e 6et7 If he checks a'ain on fourth and calls me a'ain8 then I9d know I9m 'oin' to ha!e to show him a hand on the end7 If I9m in the "ot with a weak "layer and I flo" a real 6i' hand8 say a set of tri"s8 I would check it 6ecause I know that if he9d had anythin'8 he would ha!e 6et8 and I9d 6e a6le to 6reak him anyway7 Normally8 I don9t slow>"lay that hand7 I always lead with it7 (ut a'ainst a weak "layer8 I wouldn9t mind 'i!in' him a free card if he doesn9t ha!e anythin'8 I want him to im"ro!e his hand7 I want him to make somethin' so I can "ossi6ly 6reak him7 It9s more difficult to out"lay a stron' "layer7 ;ou can9t consistently do sim"le thin's a'ainst 6etter "layersD you9!e 'ot to "ut a "lay on some6ody who knows what9s o6!ious7 -nd if I see him do somethin' that9s o6!ious8 like I think he9s tryin' to "ick u" the "ot8 I9ll "ut a "lay on him and raise him with nothin' 6ecause he mi'ht throw his hand away7 Since a 'ood "layer will understand the o6!ious8 I must try to decei!e him7 I9ll e!en "ut a "lay on more than one 'ood "layer7 For e am"le8 if someone 6rou'ht it in or raised it in an early "osition and three "layers Bust called it8 I mi'ht make a 6i' raise with nothin'8 tryin' to "ick u" that "ot7 -'ainst a 'ood "layer8 you9ll ha!e a lot more tools to work with and many different strate'ies to use7 ;ou9re effecti!ely restricted to a "icka and sho!el a'ainst a weak "layer7 Ne!er for'et that7 *on9t try to de!ise ela6orate strate'ies to use a'ainst a 6ad "layer7 They won9t work a'ainst him7 Lse so"histicated "lays a'ainst a 'ood "layer7 They9ll work a'ainst him7 -nother "oint you should note a6out weak "layers is that they come in se!eral !arieties7 They9re not all like the one I descri6ed a6o!e7 Some are the com"lete o""osite7 There are some who check 'ood hands and 6et 6ad hands7 They like to 6luff8 and they do it almost all the time7 So8 when you reco'ni%e a "layer like that8 you kee" on checkin' it to him and let him 6luff his money off to you7 Note that I didn9t say to check>raise him7 ;ou don9t want to take the "lay away from that ty"e of "layer7 In fact8 years a'o8 I rarely used check>raisin'7 In the old days it was a weak "lay8 and I used it only occasionally7 I9d usually do it when someone seemed to 6e tryin' to take the "lay away from me7 Perha"s8 I mi'ht ha!e checked it and mo!ed in on him or somethin' like that7
.I3

(ut I didn9t do it often7 Now that "layers are much more a''ressi!e8 it is easier to check>raise7 (ut e!en today8 check>raisin' isn9t as inte'ral a "art of my "hiloso"hy as it is for many other "rofessionals7 I do it:you ha!e to kee" "eo"le in line:6ut I usually don9t look for o""ortunities to check>raise7 Howe!er8 I su""ose I encounter more check>raisin' than the a!era'e "layer 6ecause I "lay so a''ressi!ely7 If a "layer makes a hand8 he9ll check it to me thinkin' that I9m 'oin' to 6et:and he9s usually ri'ht7 Most of the time8 I will7 So he checks it to me7 -nd after I 6et8 he raises7 Sur"risin'ly8 if you em"loy my style of "lay at no>limit hold9em8 you won9t 6e in constant fear of 'ettin' check>raised7 (y "layin' a''ressi!ely8 you mi'ht think @+ell8 they9re "ro6a6ly 'oin' to 'et me this timeA e!ery time you 6et7 E!en thou'h you9ll "ro6a6ly encounter more check>raisin' than most "layers8 you9ll 6e ama%ed at how many times your o""onents kee" throwin' their hands away whene!er you 6et7 It all 'oes 6ack to my 6asic style of "lay7 My o""onents know that if I9!e 'ot any kind of a hand8 any kind of a draw8 and they do check>raise me8 all of my chi"s:and theirs:are 'oin' to the middle7 -nd 6ecause of that8 they kee" off of me7 It sto"s them from "layin' 6ack at me7 Not only does it 'i!e me8 in most cases8 an um6rella of "rotection a'ainst o""onents "layin' 6ack at me8 and not only does it make my o""onents fear me which in turn makes it easy for me to "ick u" numerous "ots without a contest8 6ut it has other ad!anta'es as well7 I9!e already told you I also 'et a lot of loose action7 This may seem contradictory:how can I "ick u" "ots easily on the one hand and 'et a lot of loose action on the otherE It9s easy to understand when you reali%e that I "ick u" "ots when no6ody9s 'ot a hand7 -nd8 as I said8 that9s a 6i' "ercenta'e of the time7 I 'et this so>called loose action when some6ody does ha!e a hand7 -t those times8 all the money is lia6le to 'o to the center7 -nd when it does:as you now know:I9!e usually 'ot the worst hand7 (ut I mi'ht also find a hand when I look down7 -nd once in a while8 it9s the 6est hand7 +hen I9m u" a'ainst another hand at those times8 the "ot 'ets to 6e a mountain7 It wouldn9t 6e nearly as 6i' if I weren9t an a''ressi!e "layer7
.I1

I9d ne!er 'et the action I do when I9!e 'ot a hand if I were known to slow> "lay hands or do a lot of check>raisin'7 That9s why I rarely do those thin's7 The reason why 6ein' known as an a''ressi!e "layer and constantly "layin' that way is the most "rofita6le way to "lay "oker is clearly illustrated 6y the followin' situation7 Let9s say I flo""ed a 6i' hand:a set of tri"s or e!en two "air7 I9m first to act8 and I9m in the "ot with someone who raised 6efore the flo"7 He9s su""osed to ha!e a stron' hand7 He9s "ro6a6ly 'ot a 6i' "air in the hole8 6i''er than anythin' that showed on the flo"7 In this situation8 there9s a "rinci"le I always a""ly in hold9emK always make it a ha6it to lead into the raiser whene!er I flo" a 6i' hand7 Most "layers will slow>"lay their hand in that s"ot or ho"e to 'et in a check> raise7 +hen they do that8 they9re "layin' it wron'7 (y 6ettin' ri'ht into the raiser8 you make him think you9re either tryin' to take the "ot away from him or you9!e 'ot some kind of draw or a mediocre hand7 )onseJuently8 he9ll almost in!aria6ly raise you7 -t that "oint you can 'et all your chi"s in7 -nd it9s tou'h for him to 'et away from his hand 6ecause he has so much money already in the "ot7 The raiser e "ects you to check to him on the flo"7 I mean8 he knows you know he9s su""osedly 'ot a stron' hand7 He raised comin' in8 didn9t heE +hen most "layers flo" a set with a small "air or two "air with small connectin' cards8 they do the o6!ious7 They check8 waitin' for the raiser to 6et8 and then they "ut in a raise7 That9s the wron' way to "lay it8 6ecause it 'i!es the raiser an o""ortunity to 'et away from his hand at a minimum loss7 (ut if you lead into him8 he "ro6a6ly will raise8 and then there9s "ro6a6ly no 'ettin' away from it7 He9s all 6ut committed to 'ettin' the rest of his money in the "ot7 E!en if it9s a ra''edy flo" without a strai'ht or flush draw8 you should still make the same "lay7 Perha"s e!en more so8 6ecause with three ra's out there8 a 6et would indicate weakness rather than stren'th to most "layers7 Since it does look like you9re weak and tryin' to take the "ot away from him8 the a!era'e "layer will res"ond to your 6et 6y raisin'7 The only risk you take when you "lay the hand this way is that the raiser
.I$

mi'ht not raise you on the flo" 6ecause he mi'ht not ha!e a hand7 Howe!er8 he mi'ht ha!e 6luffed at it if you had checked8 and you would ha!e won the amount he 6luffed7 It9s far more "ro6a6le that he does ha!e a hand7 He was the raiser7 He9s re"resented a hand7 He9s su""osed to ha!e a handF (ased u"on that !ery reasona6le assum"tion8 I 'o ahead and lead into his hand7 +hen com"ared to check>raisin' in that situation8 it9s the 6i''er money>makin' "lay8 6y far7 I think it9s one of the stron'est "lays in hold9em7 If you flo""ed a set in an unraised "ot and it was a ra''edy flo"8 you9d ha!e to "lay the hand Juite differently7 *e"endin' on what set you flo""ed8 you mi'ht not e!en "lay it at all7 ;ou9ll see what I mean in a minute7 (ut the conce"t you should understand is thisK In no>limit "lay8 you must 6e !ery careful you don9t lose all your chi"s in an unraised "ot8 unless you ha!e the nuts at the "oint you 'o all>in7 Here9s what I meanK let9s say you and si other "layers 'ot in for the a6solute minimum8 that is8 you all lim"ed>in for a CI3 force8 the 6lind 6et7 E!ery6ody Bust called7 No6ody raised:so the field wasn9t weeded out at all7 Now8 a <>2> $ flo"s7 ;ou flo" three deuces7 In the "re!ious situation:with this same flo" :you should lead ri'ht into the raiser with your set7 He9s "ro6a6ly 'ot an o!er"air and will raise as e "ected7 (ut in the "resent situation8 you must "lay it carefully7 Nery carefully7 ;ou flo""ed a hand that9s easy to 'et 6roke with7 There9s nothin' in the "ot8 and you don9t want to 'et 6roke in a nothin' "ot7 The si "eo"le in the "ot with you tried to flo" the nuts for free7 -nd one of them mi'ht ha!e the nuts8 or close to it7 So if one of the "layers commits all his money when there9s only a few hundred dollars in the "ot8 you 6etter watch out7 ;our three deuces "ro6a6ly aren9t any 'ood7 ;ou could 6e u" a'ainst three Backs8 6ut that9s not as likely as three fours8 since there was no raise 6efore the flo"7 That9s the hand you should 6e afraid of7 I9m not sayin' you shouldn9t "lay the hand7 I9m Bust sayin' that you ha!e to "lay it carefully7 Since no6ody showed any early stren'th8 you9re not likely to 6e u" a'ainst a 6i' "air8 6ut you could 6e facin' another set7 Ne!ertheless8
.I.

if it9s checked to you8 you9!e 'ot to 6et it7 (ut you don9t want to 'et 6roke with the hand 6ecause it was a nothin' "ot to 6e'in with7 If you 'et raised8 your own Bud'ment in the "articular situation will ha!e to "re!ail7 +ith the third set8 deuces8 you mi'ht want to 'o on with the hand8 6ut then you mi'ht not7 +ith the second set8 fours8 you can9t 'et away from it7 Someone9s 'oin' to ha!e to show you three Backs7 That9s all there is to it7 )oura'e -n im"ortant "oint for you to remem6er is that in a Bud'ment situation you9re always 6etter off stickin' to your first im"ression7 +ith constant o6ser!ation of your o""onents9 "lay8 you9ll learn how to "ut them on a "ro6a6le hand7 Once you decide what a man9s most likely to ha!e:es"ecially in no>limit: you should ne!er chan'e your mind7 ;ou9ll "ro6a6ly 6e ri'ht the first time8 so don9t try to second>'uess yourself7 Ha!e the coura'e and con!iction to trust your instinctsF Ha!in' coura'e is one of the most im"ortant Jualities of a 'ood no>limit "layer7 If you don9t ha!e it8 you9ll ha!e to restrict your "lay to limit "oker7 ;ou need coura'e in limit too8 6ut not nearly as much as in no>limit7 Limit !s7 No>Limit - lot of limit "layers:and I9m talkin' a6out the !ery 6est limit "layers now :Bust can9t "lay no>limit7 They don9t ha!e the heart for it7 +hat9s more8 they can9t adBust to the com"le ity of no>limit "lay8 and they find it !ery hard to 'o from limit which is essentially a mechanical 'ame8 to no>limit8 one that takes into account e!erythin'7 Only !ery s"ecial "layers can make that transition successfully7 ;ou also ha!e to ha!e a different feel for no>limit "lay7 I mean8 you ha!e to 6e ri'ht Bust a6out all the time8 es"ecially when your entire stack9s at stake7 In limit "lay8 you9re not 'oin' to 'et knocked out of a 'ame 6y one or two mistakes7 ;ou can make se!eral mistakes in a limit 'ame and still win the money if your o""onents are makin' more mistakes than you are7 +ith no> limit8 make Bust one crucial mistake at any time and you can lose all your chi"s7
.I2

Muscle It not only takes a lot of heart to "lay no>limit8 it also takes a lot of muscle7 ;ou need muscle in limit too8 6ut you need much more of it at no>limit7 stron' no>limit "layer can kee" sla""in' you around8 Bust lean on you and kee" leanin' on you until you to""le7 Of course8 that could ha""en in limit too8 6ut a'ain8 not to the same de'ree7 The !ery 6est "layers I know are e tremely a''ressi!e "layers and that9s what makes them 'reat "layers7 The more a''ressi!e they are8 the 6etter they are7 It9s that sim"le7 -nd I firmly 6elie!e that9s what accounts for the difference 6etween a !ery 'ood "layer and a truly to" "layer7 It9s the di!idin' line7 There9s not a man ali!e that can kee" leanin' on me7 I refuse to let some6ody kee" takin' my money8 and all the other truly to" "layers are the same way7 -n a''ressi!e "layer mi'ht do it for a while7 (ut at the first o""ortunity I 'et8 I9m 'oin' to take a stand and "ut all my money in the "ot7 It9s like that little 6oy who kee"s stickin' his head u" and kee"s 'ettin' sla""ed all the time7 +ell8 sooner or later he9s not 'oin' to stick his head u" any more7 So if a 'uy kee"s 'oin' on and on and kee"s "oundin' on me8 then me and him are fi in' to "lay a "ot7 Like me8 all the to" "layers know you ha!e to 6e e tremely a''ressi!e to 6e a consistent winner7 ;ou ha!e to 6et8 6et8 6et8 all the time7 If I find some6ody I can kee" 6ettin' at and he kee"s sayin' @Take it *oyle8A @Take it *oyle8A well8 I9m 'oin' to kee" "oundin' on him7 I9m not 'oin' to let u"7 -nd that "oor 'uy ne!er will win a "ot from me7 He9ll ha!e to ha!e the nuts or the ner!e to call me7 That9s what most "layers do7 They kee" throwin' their hand away7 They9re weak7 They sit down and try to make the nuts on you7 That9s hard to do7 So you kee" whammin' on Oem and whammin' on Oem and you Bust wear Oem down7 -nd sooner or later8 you9ll win all their money7 Perha"s now8 you can see more clearly what I e "lained earlier7 +hen a 6i' "ot comes u"8 I9!e usually 'ot the worst hand7 That weak "layer finally "icks u" the nuts and that9s what I usually look at in a 6i' "ot7 (ut I9!e already "aid for that 6i' "ot with all the smaller "ots I9!e won8 so I9m freerollin'
.II

with all that weak "layer9s money and the money of all the others like him7 ;ou can9t do that a'ainst a truly to">"layer in no>limit 6ecause he9s fi in' to make a stand and "lay 6ack at you7 -nd that9s the 6i' difference 6etween a merely 'ood "layer and a 'reat one7 -nother im"ortant difference is that a real to" "layer can win money with a mar'inal hand7 - weaker "layer can9t do that7 Either they don9t know how8 or they9re afraid to "ut any money in the "ot in a 6orderline situation7 They want the nuts or close to it 6efore they9ll Beo"ardi%e any of their chi"s7 They don9t want to do too much 'am6lin'8 so they check a lot of hands that I9d 6et for !alue7 (ettin' for Nalue (ettin' for !alue is what it9s all a6out7 For e am"le8 if it came down to a tou'h situation on the end and a ti'ht "layer had two "air 6ut there9s a "ossi6le strai'ht out there8 well8 that ti'ht "layer would "ro6a6ly check it tryin' to show the hands down7 In that same situation8 as lon' as I felt reasona6ly sure my o""onent didn9t ha!e that strai'ht8 I9d 6e more a''ressi!e7 I want to make some money on the end7 I want to 'et !alue for my two "air7 So I9d 6et and try to sell my hand for the most money I thou'ht I could 'et7 I ne!er was a ti'ht "layer8 e!en when I first started to "lay7 E "erience has tau'ht me a lot7 Early in my career8 I didn9t know how to start at a "ot and Juit8 like I do now7 I don9t ha!e to ha!e the nuts to 6et my hand on the end7 If I feel like I9!e 'ot the 6est hand8 I9m 'oin' to 6et it and 'et !alue for it7 - more conser!ati!e "layer would check it on the end8 and he9ll 'et his check called7 So he9ll lose that last 6et7 - !ery 6i' "art of winnin' consistently and winnin' 6i' at no>limit is 'ettin' the other 'uy in a "osition where if he makes a 6et he9s actually Beo"ardi%in' all his chi"s as o""osed to you Beo"ardi%in' all of yours7 That has always 6een the key to no>limit "lay as far as I9m concerned7 I want to force my o""onent into a decision with all his chi"s on the line7 For e am"le8 if a 'uy9s 'ot C$38333 in chi"s and you lead off for C/8333 or C183338 you9re really 6ettin' him C$383337 He knows that if he calls that si or se!en8 well then8 he9s 'ot to 'o for the rest of it7 ;ou9re 6ettin' C18333D
.I/

he9s 6ettin' C$383337 On the other hand8 if he 6ets me C183338 the re!erse is true7 So8 I always try to make the 6et that "uts him in Beo"ardy8 not me7 If he9s ri'ht and I9m 6luffin'8 he9s 'oin' to mo!e in with his C$383338 and I9m not 'oin' to call him7 So he9ll win C183337 (ut if he9s wron' and I9!e 'ot a hand8 he9s still 'oin' to mo!e in8 6ut now he9s 'oin' to 'et called7 -nd he9s 'oin' to lose C$383337 So he9s layin' me a6out . to l8 his C$38333 to my C183337 I "ut the commitment on him7 I make him commit himself7 I9m not committed no matter what he thinks7 That9s the 6eauty of it7 He9s thinkin' a6out my 6et and wonderin' how much more he9s 'oin' to ha!e to "ut in there7 It9s an either#or situation7 Either I9m 6luffin'8 or I9!e 'ot the nuts7 -nd a'ainst me8 he knows it could cost him C$38333:his whole stack:unless he throws his hand away7 -nd you9d 6e sur"rised how many times they say @Take it *oyle8A @Take it *oyle7A They Bust throw their hands away o!er and o!er and o!er a'ain7 I mean8 e!en I9m sur"rised7 I think to myself8 @+ell8 he can9t throw this one away7A (ut I 6et anyway7 -nd there 'oes his hand:chunkF It finally 'ets to 6e mechanical with them7 -nd I9!e won another "ot7 I9!e stolen so many "ots I can9t 6e'in to count them7 -nd most of the time8 I9!e actually had to force myself to 6et7 I9d 6e "layin' all ni'ht without one decent hand7 ;et I9d win e!ery "ot 6ecause I didn9t 6et into the nuts7 It 'oes on and on like that7 I "ick u" a hand8 and I9!e 'ot nothin'7 The flo" comes out there8 and I9!e still 'ot nothin'7 So I kind of ha!e to hit myself to 6et at it8 6ecause there9s a 'uy I9!e 6een "oundin' on and "oundin' on7 -nd all the time8 I9m thinkin'8 @How can he throw his hand away this timeEA (ut I 6et and away it 'oes7 )hunkF One more time7 If he takes a stand and raises me8 I 'o 6ack to my 6asic "hiloso"hy7 If I9!e 'ot a hand8 I9ll 'o with it8 e!en thou'h I know it mi'ht 6e the worst hand7 (y now8 you should ha!e a !ery 'ood idea of how I "lay no>limit hold9em7 I ho"e this somewhat len'thy introduction 'a!e you a sufficient feel for my style of "lay8 and I ho"e it will hel" you to understand how I "lay s"ecific hands in !arious situations7 I9ll discuss those shortly7 Howe!er8 when you read those discussions you should reali%e it9s Juite
.I1

difficult to state e actly what I9d do with a s"ecific hand in a "articular situation7 So many thin's are in!ol!ed7 No>limit hold9em is a !ery com"le 'ame7 Most of the thin's I say are an accurate reflection of what I9d 'enerally do7 (ut I mi'ht do somethin' else or e!en the com"letely o""osite de"endin' on who9s in the "ot with me and whether or not I ha!e "osition on him7 -lways remem6er8 no>limit hold9em is a 'ame of "osition and "eo"le7 There9ll 6e a lot of times when only your 'ood Bud'ment will dictate the "ro"er "lay7 Often situations come u" where a hard>and>fast rule will "ro!e inadeJuate7 Poker8 es"ecially no>limit hold9em8 is not a 'ame you can learn to "lay well in ten easy lessons7 - thousand hard lessons mi'ht not 6e enou'h7 There are sim"ly too many !aria6les in!ol!ed7 Ne!ertheless8 the lessons you9ll learn 6elow will 'o a lon' way in hel"in' you to master no>limit hold9em7 The 'eneral "rinci"les and conce"ts that I discuss will 'i!e you a far 'reater command of the 'ame than almost all the "layers you could e "ect to 6e com"etin' with7 I wish I9d known all the 'eneral 'uidelines 6elow when I first started to "lay7 It would9!e made thin's a lot easier for me7 That9s for sure7 (ut 6efore I 'et into how you should 'enerally "lay s"ecific hands8 there should 6e a discussion of the ante8 6ettin' structure8 6ankroll reJuirements8 and other considerations you9ll ha!e to take into account 6efore you sit in on a no>limit hold9em 'ame7 So that9s what I9ll do now7 The -nte and Other )onsiderations If I had to choose a "articular si%e 'ame that would 6e close to "erfect for no> limit hold9em8 it would 6e ei'ht>handed8 also known as a rin' or full 'ame7 Of course8 I "refer to "lay in a shorthanded 'ame with a6out four or fi!e "layers8 6ecause in a shorthanded 'ame with a hi'h ante8 you9re forced to 'et in there and "lay7 ;ou can9t Bust sit there and wait for the 6i' "air8 ->H8 or e!en small connectin' cards7 If you do8 you9ll 'o like (roomcorn9s uncle7 So a 'ame like that suits my style Bust fine7 It 'i!es me "lenty of room to muscle the 'ame7 - full 'ame with ei'ht "layers is all ri'ht too7 That9s Bust a6out the ri'ht amount of "layers for a rin' 'ame where there9ll 6e 'ood action7 I mean8
.I0

there9ll 6e "eo"le comin' in the "ots 6ecause they9ll know they won9t ha!e to 6e lookin' at the nuts e!ery hand7 Howe!er8 when that ei'ht>handed 'ame all of a sudden turns into a ten> or ele!en>handed 'ame8 well8 the com"le ion of the 'ame chan'es com"letely7 +hat was once a relati!ely fast and loose 'ame 6ecomes a thin' of the "ast7 The "layers no lon'er 'et in there and "lay as often7 The 'ame 6e'ins to screw down real ti'ht7 +ith ele!en "layers8 there are a lot more com6inations out there on e!ery hand than with nine "layers7 So e!eryone sto"s "layin' 6orderline hands and starts waitin' for the really 'ood ones7 In short8 they don9t do as much 'am6lin'8 and the action really dries u"7 Loosenin' L" a ,ame Many "oker 'ames are like that8 and they stay that way unless somethin' ha""ens to chan'e the character of the 'ame7 More than anythin' else8 the somethin' that chan'es a ti'ht 'ame 6ack into a loose 'ame ha""ens when one of the "layers starts 'i!in' a lot of action7 -s I9!e said8 that9s what I do7 I9m known as an action "layer7 It9s an ima'e I9!e always had7 (ecause I 'i!e action8 I 'et it7 I9ll 'et into a "oker 'ame and almost from the !ery first hand I9ll start 'am6lin'7 I9ll 6e takin' chances:6ettin'8 raisin'8 reraisin'8 mo!in' in7 That9ll stir u" a 'ame real fast7 One "layer can do it7 That9s all it takes7 -nd that "layer9s usually me7 I don9t merely talk loose8 I "ro!e I9m loose 6y my actions7 ;ou know the old clich\K @- first im"ression is a lastin' im"ression7A +ell that first im"ression I create lasts throu'hout the session8 e!en thou'h I mi'ht chan'e 'ears8 say 'o from loose to ti'ht to loose8 se!eral times durin' the course of a 'ame7 -dBustin' ;our S"eed (ein' a6le to adBust your "layin' s"eed is a !ery im"ortant "art of 6ein' a to" "layer7 There are a lot of reasons for this7 =1? ;ou ne!er want to 'et yourself stuck in an identifia6le "attern7 ;ou must mi u" your "lay7 If you do8 you9ll always kee" your o""onents 'uessin'7 =$? ;ou want to create an ima'e8 the ima'e of a loose8 'am6lin'>ty"e of "layer who 'i!es a lot of action7 (ut it has to 6e the ima'e of a 'ood loose
.I4

"layer8 not the ima'e of a fool who9s throwin' a "arty8 'i!in' his money away7 =.? Since you9ll most likely 'et off loser if you "lay as I recommend and start "lun'in' around ="layin' !ery loose? almost as soon as you 6e'in to "lay8 you9ll ha!e to 'ear down and start "layin' ti'ht after you9!e laid the 'roundwork for your ima'e7 Then you9ll start "layin' loose a'ain8 and you9ll continue to !ary your s"eed throu'hout the session7 =2? ;ou9ll also want to adBust your s"eed to the !aryin' s"eeds of "articular "layers7 If there9s a 'uy in the 'ame who9s s"eedin' around8 do e actly the o""osite 6y 'earin' down and remem6er to "lay only solid hands a'ainst him7 On the other hand8 if you notice that a certain "layer is "layin' real ti'ht8 you can start 6luffin' at him7 =I? The 'ame itself mi'ht dictate the s"eed at which you9ll ha!e to "lay7 If e!eryone is "layin' real loose and all the "ots are 6ein' Bammed8 start "layin' real ti'ht7 )on!ersely8 when the 'ame is so ti'ht you can hear it sJueakin'8 you should "lay loose and "ick u" all the "ots you can7 =/? +hen "layers start dro""in' out of the 'ame and their seats remain !acant8 you ha!e to mo!e into hi'h 'ear7 -s I said8 you can9t sit 6ack and wait in a shorthanded 'ame7 If you do8 the ante will 'et you 6ecause the 'ood hands don9t come often enou'h7 So you must "lay8 or you mi'ht as well Juit the 'ame7 =1? -nd of course8 there9s the ante7 That9s the main thin' that determines how fast you "lay7 -ctually8 the a6solute si%e of the ante is not what9s im"ortant7 It9s the relationshi" of the ante to the amount of money you ha!e7 - C13 ante in a no>limit 'ame would 6e Juite hi'h if all you had was CI337 (ut if you had CI83338 that C13 ante would 6e !ery low7 In the hi'h>ante 'ame8 you9d ha!e to "lay "retty fast7 ;ou could slow down considera6ly in the low>ante 'ame7 The ante and 6linds is such an im"ortant factor in determinin' how fast you "lay8 that the trou6le and trash hands I later discuss would 6ecome 6i' hands if you were antein' hi'h enou'h7 In fact8 in the old days8 that was the case in the +orld )ham"ionshi" Hold9em Tournament 6ecause of the way it was structured7 It started with each "layer antein' C138 and there was a CI3 6lind7
./3

-s the tournament "ro'ressed and "layers were eliminated8 the ante and 6lind 'ot hi'her and hi'her accordin' to a "redetermined time schedule until it was down to the final two "layers7 -t that "oint8 each "layer anted C18333 and 6linded it for C$83337 If you sat around and waited "uttin' that kind of money in e!ery "ot8 you9d 'o faster than (roomcorn9s uncle7 Today9s tournaments are structured to 6e a lot faster than that7 ;ou9!e 'ot to "lay almost e!ery hand when you9re antein' that hi'h7 -t the !ery least8 you9!e 'ot to see the flo"7 So8 it9s really not all that sur"risin' I won the 141/ and 1411 +orld )ham"ionshi"s with trash hands7 The only thin' sur"risin' a6out this is that the hands were almost identical 6oth years7 In 141/8 when I won C$$383338 the last "ot had C11/8333 in it7 I won that "ot with the 13E $E7 -ll it had on the flo" was a "air of deuces8 6ut I cau'ht two runnin' tens on fourth and fifth7 <esse -lto8 a !ery e "erienced non> "rofessional who owned an automo6ile dealershi" in Houston8 Te as8 was the man who came in second7 In 14118 the late (ones (erland was the youn' man who came in second to me7 In the last "ot with (ones8 I had a 13E $R and flo""ed a "air of tens7 This time8 I cau'ht a $ on fourth street: 6ut I filled u" with a 13 on the end7 That last "ot was worth C1.38333 and I won C.238333 in the 1411 tournament7 Of course8 in a normal ante rin' 'ame8 I9d rarely "lay those hands7 There9s little reason to when the ante doesn9t force you to "lay7 - maBor e ce"tion is when I "lay a "ot for the sole reason of tryin' to steal it7 Then8 it doesn9t make any difference what I ha!e7 I mean8 I could 6e "layin' the hand without e!en lookin' at my holecards7 -t such a time8 I9d 6e "layin' my money8 my "osition8 and a "articular "layer7 My hand wouldn9t matter7 If I was forced to look at it 6ecause I 'ot "layed with8 I mi'ht find two aces8 ->H8 or trash7 Peo"le ha!e critici%ed me for losin' CI038333 with the Q>0 offsuit in the C$I8333 6uy>in final e!ent at the (ella'io in $33.7 +ell8 I9!e Bust e "lained to you how that ha""ened7 I was "layin' my money8 my "osition8 and a "articular "layer:and my hand could ha!e 6een anythin'7 I hadn9t made a "air the whole day8 and I9d had to stay ali!e 6y stealin' some "ots8 6ut on this "articular "lay8 my read was wron'7
./1

;ou9ll almost surely ha!e to 'et some no>limit e "erience under your 6elt 6efore you9ll 6e a6le to "lay a "ot com"letely 6lind7 So8 in the 6e'innin'8 I su''est that you restrict the way you "lay s"ecific hands to the recommendations I make 6elow7 Howe!er8 it9s im"ortant for you to understand that those recommendations are what I would do in a normal or medium ante rin' 'ame7 In different 'ames you9ll ha!e to adBust your "lay as "re!iously discussed7 In order to hel" you determine what constitutes a normal medium>ante 'ame8 you should use the followin' ta6le as a 'uide7 Nine>Handed ,ame > (linds )hart -nte Si%e C -nte Sin'le (lind Multi"le (linds (uy>In[ 1st seat $nd seat Nery Low C1>CI CI>C13 CI>C13 C13>C$3 C18333 Low CI>C13 C$I C$I CI3 C$8333 Medium C13>C$3 CI3 CI3 C133 CI8333 Hi'h C$I>CI3 C133 C133 C$33 C138333 Nery Hi'h CI3>C133 CI33 C.33 CI33 C$I8333 [Twice the minimum 6uy>ins listed here would 6e much 6etter7 More than twice would 6e 6etter still7 ;ou wouldn9t want to sit down with less than the minimum 6uys shown7 -s the footnote states8 you should definitely consider 6uyin'>in for more7 Today8 when I "lay in a 'ame with two 6linds of C.33 and CI338 I ne!er sit down with less than C13383337 +hat9s more8 I like to ha!e as much or more money than any other "layer at the ta6le7 If my stacks are not a""ro imately eJual to the 'uy with the most money8 then I couldn9t 6reak him8 could IE -nd I "ractice what I "reach7 I start "layin' fast ri'ht away7 I9!e always "layed like that8 e!en when I was Bust startin' out7 (ack then I9d 6uy in for a thousand in a small no>limit 'ame8 and I9d usually 'et stuck that first thousand7 Then8 I9d "ull u" and start "layin' ti'hter8 and I almost always 'ot
./$

e!en or won7 -6out three out of four "lays8 I9d lose that first thousand8 6ut on that fourth "lay8 I9d 'et on a winnin' streak or a rush8 and I9d more than make u" for those first three losses7 I mean8 I9d 6e "layin' so fast and winnin' so many hands when I was rushin' that I9d literally 6reak e!ery "layer in the 'ame7 (ecause as you know8 whene!er I hold a 6unch of hands8 I usually 'et action on them7 I9!e ne!er won a 6unch of "ots watchin' the other 'uys "lay7 If I9m makin' a 6unch of hands or strikin'8 I9m in there:I9m not on the sidelines7 If you9re 'oin' to ha!e a rush8 you9!e 'ot to let yourself ha!e one7 ;ou9!e 'ot to sustain that rush7 -nd to do that8 you9!e 'ot to 'et in there and "lay7 It used to 6e that after I had won a "ot in no>limit I would 6e in the ne t "ot8 re'ardless of what two cards I "icked u"7 -nd if I won that one8 I9d always 6e in the ne t one7 I9d kee" "layin' e!ery "ot until I lost one7 -nd in all those "ots8 I9d 'am6le more than I normally would7 Nowadays8 I still to try to o6ser!e this8 6ut I9!e modified it 6ecause "layers are so much more a''ressi!e7 If you don9t "lay that way8 you9ll ne!er ha!e much of a rush7 I know that scientists don9t 6elie!e in rushes8 6ut sometimes rushes can make you a fortune7 There9s only one world>class "oker "layer that I know of who doesn9t 6elie!e in rushes7 +ell8 he9s wron'8 and so are the scientists7 (esides8 how many of them can "lay "oker anywayE I9!e "layed "oker for more than fifty years now8 and I9!e made millions at it7 - 6i' "art of my winnin's came from "layin' my rushes7 If you want to take the money off8 I mean8 make a 6i' score8 then you9!e 'ot to "lay your rushes7 It9s that sim"le7 Not that there9s anythin' su"ernatural a6out rushes8 it9s how your o""onents "ercei!e you when you9re on one that9s im"ortant7 They are flat>out less dan'erous7 They "ay you off more and challen'e you less8 and that translates into "ure "rofit7 -t this "oint8 you should ha!e a !ery 'ood feel for my style of "lay7 It should hel" you to understand and a""reciate the thin's I9m 'oin' to say a6out the way I "lay s"ecific hands8 from 6efore the flo" on throu'h each sta'e of "lay until all the cards are out7
./.

In all the situations that I9ll discuss 6elow8 an im"ortant assum"tion has 6een madeK Lnless otherwise noted8 the way I9d "lay a s"ecific hand at no>limit hold9em is how I9d "lay it in a "ot a'ainst other to" "oker "layers and not the way I9d "lay it a'ainst a weak "layer7 The reason that assum"tion has 6een made is 6ecause8 as you already know8 a'ainst a weak "layer or a drunk you ha!e to "lay Juite differently7 -ll you try to do a'ainst a weak "layer is make the 6est hand and then e tract from him the lar'est amount of money you can7 <ust out"lay him7 HO+ TO PL-; SPE)IFI) H-N*S 5emem6er8 the recommendations I make 6elow are how you 'enerally should "lay the hands discussed7 That9s the way I usually "lay them7 (ut you should ne!er fall into a "attern "layin' "oker7 I don9t7 I always !ary my "lay7 I try to mi it u" as much as I can7 I ne!er consistently re"eat my action on any hand7 I don9t "lay like a com"uter that9s "ro'rammed to do the same routine o!er and o!er a'ain7 The hi'h Juality "layers I "lay a'ainst on a re'ular 6asis would easily detect a "attern to my "lay if there were any7 So I ne!er do the same thin' with the same hand from the same "osition a'ainst the same "layer7 I9m always chan'in' s"eeds durin' the course of a 'ame7 Howe!er8 for your "ur"oses8 my "layin' recommendations for a "articular hand are a 'ood way for you to "lay them until your o""onents learn your style7 +hen they do8 you start shiftin' 'ears8 u" and down continuously8 until there is no noticea6le "attern7 I9m 'oin' to 6reak the 'ame down into four maBor and !ery 6road cate'ories as followsK I7 Pairs II7 Small )onnectin' )ards III7 (orderline Hands IN7 Trash Hands How to "lay your hand when you ha!e a "air in the "ocket is 'oin' to 6e discussed first7 That cate'ory will 6e su6>di!ided and discussed as followsK a7 (i' Pairs and (i' SlickK ->-8 H>H8 and ->H
./2

67 Q>Q c7 <>< down to $>$ I9!e 'rou"ed an ->H with a "air of aces and a "air of kin's 6ecause it9s a !ery stron' hand7 -s you9ll learn8 I would rather ha!e ->H than ->- or H>H7 I9ll discuss each of the hands as I would "lay them in a nine>handed 'ame from an early "osition =first three seats?8 middle "osition =ne t three seats?8 and late "osition =last three seats?7 - medium>ante 'ame is assumed8 unless otherwise noted7 ->- and H>H Pre>Flo" Play Early Position7 +ith a "air of aces or kin's in an early "osition 6efore the flo"8 I would "ro6a6ly Bust call the 6lind or lim" in8 ho"in' that some6ody raises it 6ehind me so I can reraise7 Middle Position7 In a middle "osition8 if no6ody in the early seats came in8 I would "lay them the same way7 (ut if some6ody in the early seats did come in8 I9d "ut in a raise of a6out the si%e of the "ot7 Late Position7 In a late "osition8 I9d o6!iously raise with them and ho"e that some6ody trailed his hand around to me8 that is8 slow>"layed his hand in order to reraise me7 If he did8 I9d "lay 6ack of course8 and I mi'ht mo!e in de"endin' on the circumstances7 If I did "lay 6ack with two aces or two kin's and 'ot a6out half my money in the "ot 6efore the flo"8 there9s no Juestion that I9d 'et the rest of it in on the flo"8 re'ardless of what came7 Nothin' could sto" me7 If my o""onent didn9t set me in on the flo" I9d mo!e it all>in myself8 6ecause there are too many ways I could out'uess myself8 and I9m not 'oin' to try7 If I 'et either of those 6i' "airs cracked8 well8 I9m Bust 'oin' to ha!e to lose my money7 )on!ersely8 a rare situation could e ist where you9d consider throwin' away two kin's 6efore the flo" if you 'ot raised7 It9s a hard hand to 'et away from8 6ut if a real ti'ht "layer8 one so ti'ht that he "ro6a6ly wouldn9t make that kind of "lay unless he had two aces8 mo!ed in on you8 then you mi'ht want to throw them away7 Of course8 you9d ha!e to 6e almost certain a6out your man 6efore you do that7 One way I make this rare decision is to "ut myself in
./I

my o""onent9s "osition7 I ask myself8 @If I were him8 would I reraise with two Jueens or lessEA If the answer is no8 I throw the two kin's away7 I9m 'oin' to discuss how to "lay a 6i' "air on the flo" in a moment7 (ut this is a 'ood "lace to note that when you ha!e two kin's and there9s a sin'le ace on the flo"8 it9s a com"lete Bud'ment call as to whether or not you should 'o on with your hand7 If you "ut your o""onent on an ace8 that9s the end of the "ot ri'ht there7 If not8 you "lay your two kin's as if you had the 6est hand7 Here are two "articularly rele!ant hold9em "ro6a6ilitiesK =1? In a nine>handed 'ame8 when you ha!e two kin's8 the "ro6a6ility that no other "layer has an ace is a6out $3 "ercent7 Put another way8 a "layer will ha!e an ace a6out 03 "ercent of the time7 =$? If a "layer is holdin' two un"aired cards lower than kin's8 an ace will flo" a6out 10 "ercent of the time7 The Flo" 5e'ardless of your hand8 the flo" is where you9ll make your most crucial decisions7 It9s the key "oint in the hand7 It9s where you "ut "eo"le on hands8 decide what they9!e "ro6a6ly 'ot7 Lsually8 e!erythin' after the flo" is more or less cut>and>dried7 Playin' with No Hel" on the Flo"7 Of course8 you "ut "eo"le on hands 6efore the flo" too8 6ut on the flo"8 you9re in a much 6etter "osition to determine what a man "ro6a6ly has 6y the way he calls8 whether he9s drawin' to a strai'ht or flush and so forth7 I "lay a "air of aces or kin's !ery cautiously from an early "osition when there are three cards that9ll make a strai'ht or a flush on the flo"7 This is es"ecially true if there are two or more "eo"le in the "ot with me7 The 'uys that called 6ehind me are lia6le to ha!e anythin'7 In that "osition8 they9!e either 'ot a hand that could 6reak me or I9ll win a !ery small "ot if I 6et7 So in an early "osition8 a 6ell rin's remindin' me not to 6et when I see three to a strai'ht or flush on the flo" and I9!e 'ot aces or kin' in the "ocket7 )onseJuently8 I immediately start "layin' that hand slow8 and usually I Bust check in a front "osition7 If I9m in a late seat and some6ody in the early seats had trailed in8 I mi'ht 'o ahead and 6et once7 If I 'ot called8 I would immediately 6ecome defensi!e a'ain with that hand7 -nytime there are three cards to a strai'ht or flush8 I
.//

"lay the hand with e treme caution7 The Juality of the "ossi6le strai'ht that9s out there also has a 6i' influence on the way I9d "lay that 6i' "air7 If it came 4>0>18 13>4>08 or <>13>4 and I9!e 'ot two "eo"le in the "ot with me8 I immediately 'i!e it u"7 -lmost any two cards that those two "layers ha!e will fit into those flo"s somehow7 They9re either 'oin' to ha!e a hand that9s already 'ot me 6eat or they9ll 6e drawin' to a hand that would make my hand no 6etter than an e!en money shot7 If the flo" comes 13>4>0 and one of your o""onents has a Q><8 he9s 'ot the strai'ht made7 If he9s 'ot a <>138 he9s 'ot a "air with an o"en>end strai'ht draw7 He could catch a 18 138 Back8 or Jueen7 There are thirteen cards in the deck that will 6eat me8 namely four se!ens8 four Jueens8 three Backs8 and two tens8 and he9s 'ot two shots at them7 That makes his hand as 'ood as mine at this "oint7 In fact8 he9s almost e actly e!en>money to 6eat me8 so I don9t want to "ut myself in a "osition where I could 'et 6roke7 I don9t always 'i!e u" the "ot in that situation7 I Bust "lay e tremely cautiously7 I don9t Bust char'e in and try to win the "ot ri'ht there7 If Bust a <>13 falls8 say the flo" is a <>13>$8 well8 there I9d really "lay my two aces fast8 6ecause any com6ination of 6i' cards would 'i!e my o""onent some kind of hand7 For e am"le8 a H>Q will 'i!e him an o"en>end strai'ht drawD an ->H will 'i!e him two o!ercards and a 6elly>strai'ht drawD and an -><8 H><8 Q><8 ->138 Q>138 or H> 13 will 'i!e him a "air7 So I9d 'o ahead and "lay my two aces in that situation7 If he9s 'ot Backs and tens or 6etter8 well8 more "ower to him7 If you know your "layer8 you9ll 6e a6le to fi'ure out what hand he9s likely to ha!e7 ;ou ha!e to 6e lo'ical in "uttin' your o""onent on a hand7 I9m not as leery of a three>card flush on the flo" as I am of a three>card strai'ht7 +ith a three>card flush8 there aren9t as many "ossi6le hands that could 6eat me:althou'h it9s "ossi6le that your o""onent has a "air and a flush draw if he9s in there with you7 The first thin' I9d do would 6e to see if either one of my two aces or kin's matched the cards out there7 If three hearts fell and I had two red aces8 I would immediately "lay that hand7 It9s a 6i' hand7 (ut if I had the two 6lack
./1

aces8 or another hand without the -E8 I mi'ht 6e a little more hesitant to "lay it7 (ut if I did ha!e the -E8 I9d "lay the hand fast on the flo"7 If I 'et called8 I9m in a "osition to win it anyway7 I know where the nuts are7 That9s one of the most im"ortant thin's a6out no>limit hold9em7 If you can a!oid it8 you ne!er want to 'et your money in dead7 For e am"le8 you don9t want to 6e drawin' for a flush when there9s a "air on the 6oard7 ;our o""onent could ha!e a full house7 -nd you don9t want to 6e drawin' to a strai'ht when another man could ha!e a flush7 If the 6oard comes three hearts and you9!e 'ot an o"en>end strai'ht draw8 you don9t draw at that strai'ht7 ;ou throw your hand away7 -ll the to" "layers try to kee" from e!er 'ettin' their money in com"letely dead7 If a "air and a ra' flo" and I had a "air of aces or kin's in the "ocket8 I9d 6et at that "ot from an early "osition7 If I 'ot called8 I9d "roceed cautiously7 I mean8 when the ne t card was turned8 I9d check it to him7 If he 6et8 may6e I9d call it or may6e I wouldn9t7 It would de"end on what I felt that he had7 I9d know he9s 'ot somethin' that he likes7 For e am"le8 if the flo" is />/>$ and I 6et and he calls8 he9s tellin' me he9s 'ot some kind of hand7 He9s "ro6a6ly 'ot a "air in the "ocket8 anywhere from se!ens to tens8 or else he9s 'ot three si es or three deuces7 So I9d use my Bud'ment at that "oint8 and I9d 6e cautious a'ain7 If there were a cou"le of "layers in the "ot in front of me and one of them flo""ed a set of si es8 he9d "ro6a6ly check it to me7 That9s what most "layers do in this situation8 check a set into the raiser7 (ut as you know8 that9s the wron' way to "lay it7 - stron' "layer would know that the ri'ht thin' to do is lead into you7 If it was checked to me and there wasn9t a strai'ht draw on the 6oard:say the flo" was 1>1>$:I mi'ht check it as well and 'i!e a free card7 I9d do that for two reasonsK =1? If he didn9t ha!e a hand8 I9d want him to hel" his hand enou'h to continue "layin'7 For e am"le8 if a Back or Jueen fell off on fourth street8 it mi'ht "air him7 =$? I9d want to eliminate the "ossi6ility that I9d 'et 6roke if he does ha!e a 17
./0

(ut if the flo" was />/>$8 I would 6et 6ecause I wouldn9t want a .8 28 or I fallin' off and makin' some6ody a strai'ht7 In 6rief8 you don9t 'i!e free cards if that free card could 6reak you7 If there9s a "ossi6le strai'ht or flush draw on 6oard8 you don9t 'i!e a free card7 If I had two aces with a />/>H flo" and it was checked to me8 I9d "ro6a6ly check it 6ack7 If he9s 'ot a kin'8 he9s 'oin' to "lay it on fourth street8 6ecause 6y checkin'8 you9!e made him think he9s 'ot the 6est hand7 Plus8 if he does ha!e a /8 as 6efore8 you mi'ht 6e a6le to hold your losses to a minimum7 flo" that9s />/>I is a lot different8 6ecause there9s the "ossi6ility of a strai'ht draw7 +hat it all 6oils down to is that with a "air of aces or kin's8 you9re waitin' until you 'et into what you think is a fa!ora6le situation 6efore you really "lay a 6i' "ot7 ;ou9re not lookin' to "lay a 6i' "ot if there9s only a small chance you9ll ha!e the 6est of it or one where you9re a 6i' underdo'7 In 'eneral8 with those 6i' "airs on the flo"8 you "lay them a little more a''ressi!ely from a late "osition than from an early "osition8 6ut you should 6e aware that someone mi'ht 6e checkin' the nuts to you8 such as three si es in the e am"les used7 ;ou ne!er worry a6out that7 I9!e heard "eo"le say8 @+ell8 I was afraid to 6et 6ecause I was afraid he9d raise me7A Ne!er worry a6out 'ettin' raised7 ;ou ha!e to 'o ahead and "lay7 If it ha""ens8 it ha""ens8 and then you worry a6out it7 *on9t cross that 6rid'e until you come to it7 ;ou can9t "lay winnin' "oker 6y "layin' safe all the time7 ;ou must take chances7 ;ou must 'am6le7 -nd you ha!e to feel a''ressi!e to "lay a''ressi!ely7 That9s my style of "oker7 -nd it9s a winnin' style7 I9!e re>stated my 'eneral "hiloso"hy of "lay at this "oint 6ecause I9m discussin' the "lay of a "air of aces or kin's in the hole7 In many cases8 I "lay them slowly8 6ut I don9t slow>"lay them7 That is8 I "lay them cautiously7 This is contrary to my usual style of "lay and to the way most "eo"le "lay them7 Most "layers feel that aces or kin's are so hard to come 6y that when they do 'et them they want to win a 6i' "ot7 So they "lay them real fast7 That9s usually wron'8 6ut there are e ce"tions that I9ll discuss 6elow7 The fact is8 with a "air of aces or kin's8 one of two thin's will usually ha""enK =1? ;ou win a small "otD or
./4

=$? ;ou lose a 6i' "ot7 The reason is that your o""onent is not 'oin' to 'et a lot of money in the "ot unless he can 6eat your 6i' "air or has a strai'ht or flush draw7 In the latter case8 as you9ll see 6elow8 I9m 'oin' to make him "ay to draw to his hand7 I also "lay two aces or kin's slowly in the rare instance that a set of tri"s flo"s8 say three se!ens or three Backs7 (ut this time I do it for somewhat different reasons7 In this case8 I want my o""onent in the "ot to im"ro!e his hand or catch u" with me7 So I check it8 6ut Bust one time7 I want to 'i!e him a free card so he can catch a "air or 'et a chance to 6luff at it7 It9s tou'h to win anythin' in that s"ot 6y leadin' off unless you catch some6ody with a "air in the "ocket7 Of course8 there9s a small chance you could run into Juads8 6ut anyone who made that hand will let you know it 6y the way he "uts all his money in the "ot7 It takes e "erience to reco'ni%e somethin' like that8 6ut it9s Bust like any other situation where some6ody9s 6ettin' the "ure nuts at you7 ;ou ha!e to use Bud'ment to e!aluate it7 -fter a while8 you reco'ni%e it7 -s always8 it 6oils down to readin' "eo"le7 The one situation where I stand to lose a !ery 6i' "ot with a "air of aces or kin's is when there are two to a strai'ht or flush on the flo"7 For e am"le8 say there9s a <>13>$ out there7 If some6ody 6et at me8 I9d mo!e in a lot of chi"s7 I could win the "ot ri'ht there7 If not8 my o""onent is really 'oin' to "ay to draw to his hand7 If I were first to act8 I9d check8 ho"in' I9d 'et the chance to raise it7 This is one of the few times I check>raise7 If I 'et called8 I9ll "ro6a6ly "ut my o""onent on a strai'ht or flush draw7 Of course8 on fourth street I9ll 'o ahead and 6et a'ain if a meanin'less card or 6lank falls7 -'ain8 this in!ol!es a lot of 'ood Bud'ment8 6ecause my o""onent mi'ht ha!e 6een fortunate enou'h to make some kind of hand that would 6eat my two aces8 such as Backs and tens7 In that case8 I9d 'o ahead and "ay him off 6ecause8 as I said earlier8 I9m not 'oin' to try to out>'uess myself7 If the 6oard fell com"letely ra''ed8 say a 13>/>I8 I would 6et from any "osition7 -s in all the hands I9!e discussed8 there9s always the chance that someone flo""ed a set7 (ut a'ain8 I9m 'oin' to cross that 6rid'e if and when
.13

I come to it7 In this situation8 I9d know if my 6i' "air was 6eat8 es"ecially if I had raised with my hand from an early "osition 6efore the flo"7 -ll 'ood hold9em "layers would inter"ret that as a si'n of stren'th7 I mean8 the first thin' you usually 'i!e a man8 es"ecially a weaker "layer8 credit for when he raises is a 6i' "air7 So if it comes a 13>/>I and I had raised from an early "osition8 the other "layers will think that I ha!e a stron' hand8 "ossi6ly a 6i' "air8 which I9!e 'ot7 Then when I 6et on the flo" and 'et raised 6y some6ody in a late "osition8 it 'ets 6ack to e!aluatin' "eo"le a'ain7 ;ou9!e Bust 'ot to know your "layers7 He9s re"resentin' to you that he can 6eat a 6i' "air7 If he9s a 'ood8 solid>ty"e "layer8 what else can he ha!e 6esides a set of tri"s or "ossi6ly two "airE So you make u" your mind ri'ht there whether or not to 'o ahead with your two aces or two kin's7 Of course8 it9s "ossi6le that he has a "air of Jueens or Backs in a 6ack "osition and didn9t raise you 6efore the flo"8 6ut that now on the flo" he9s decided to test you8 6ecause he9s 'ot an o!er"air7 ;ou mi'ht want to call his raise one time if it9s not too 6i' a 6et7 The ne t time8 check it to him and see what he does7 If he 6ets a'ain8 he9s usually there7 Playin' with Hel" on the Flo"7 L" to now8 I9!e discussed how I9d "lay a "air of aces or kin's on the flo" assumin' I didn9t flo" anythin' that hel"ed my hand7 Now I9ll discuss the situations where I 'et some hel"7 If I flo" a set8 I ne!er slow>"lay it7 There is one e ce"tion to this rule8 which I9ll discuss 6elow7 (ut for the most "art8 I almost always come ri'ht out and 6et8 and I don9t make Bust a nominal 6et7 I make an e tra>lar'e 6et 6ecause you9ll only win a 6i' "ot if an o""onent flo"s somethin' with you8 "uts you on a 6luff8 or tries to run you down7 So8 I really come out smokin9 ri'ht there7 Earlier8 I said that when you ha!e a "air of aces and a sin'le ace flo"s8 there9ll always 6e the "ossi6ility that the ne t card off will make someone a strai'ht7 For instance8 look at the followin' situationK FLOP +ith a sin'le ace on the flo" and anythin' I or under8 there9s always a draw to a I>hi'h strai'ht7 -s in Flo" -8 if a deuce8 trey or I falls on fourth street8 it
.11

could make someone a small strai'ht7 The same thin' a""lies whene!er there9s a sin'le ace on the flo" with any card 13 or a6o!e7 FLOP ( +ith Flo" )8 a kin'8 Jueen8 or 13 on fourth mi'ht 'i!e someone an ace>hi'h strai'ht7 If there9s no draw to a strai'ht that includes an ace8 then there9ll 6e a draw to a medium strai'ht 6ecause there9d ha!e to 6e a two>card com6ination of the other four cards8 namely a /8 18 08 or 48 as in the followin' e am"leK FLOP ) The strai'ht "ossi6ility is more o6!ious with somethin' like Flo" ) 6ecause there are se!en different strai'hts that can 6e made7 If anyone has a <>138 <>08 13>08 13>/8 0>/8 0>I8 or />I8 they could make a strai'ht with the ne t card off7 ;ou should always kee" this interestin' disco!ery in mind whene!er you see what a""ears to 6e a ra''edy flo" with an ace in it7 The threat that someone could make a strai'ht will always 6e "resent7 So when you flo" a set of aces8 you immediately 'o to 6ettin'8 and you 6et a lar'e amount to "re!ent some6ody from drawin' at an inside strai'ht chea"ly7 - 'ood "layer will know it9s worth it to take a chea" draw at a 6elly strai'ht8 and if he makes it8 he can 6reak you7 Howe!er8 if you flo" a set with two kin's you could "ossi6ly 'i!e a free card if it comes ra''ed and there9s no strai'ht or flush draw7 For e am"le8 say a H>0>$ falls7 Now8 you can 'i!e a card with that flo" 6ecause you9d ha!e the nuts as lon' as any card other than an ace8 08 or deuce fell7 -n ace mi'ht 'i!e someone three aces8 and an 0 or deuce could "ossi6ly make someone four>of> a>kind7 5ealistically you shouldn9t worry a6out Juads8 so you really want an 0 or deuce to hit the 6oard on fourth street7 In the rare instance when you flo" Juads8 say four aces8 you9re ha""y to ha!e them8 6ut you really don9t ha!e a !ery "rofita6le hand7 ;ou9!e 'ot the deck cri""led7 There9s nothin' left that your o""onents can ha!e7 +hen you flo" a hand that 6i'8 you Bust ha!e to check alon' and may6e try to win a small 6et on the end7 Or8 if you9re e tremely fortunate8 you mi'ht 'et some6ody to try
.1$

to 6luff at it7 They Bust mi'ht try to "ick u" the "ot 6y re"resentin' a hand7 ;ou could 'et lucky that wayD 6ut most of the time8 you Bust "lay it !ery slow and take what you can 'et8 meanin' that you always 6et on the end from any "osition7 Here9s another situation where I almost always checkK Say I flo""ed the hi'hest "ossi6le full house8 known as the 6i' full7 That9s what you would ha!e with two aces if the flo" was ->.>.8 or with two kin's if it came H>1>17 If you do ha!e the 6i' full8 you9ll ha!e some le!era'e8 so you could 'i!e them a free card in most situations =see 6elow for the e ce"tion?7 -fter you check it once8 you 6et on fourth8 ho"in' that some6ody hit somethin' there7 +hene!er you9!e 'ot a hand that9s so 6i' you9!e 'ot the deck cri""led or one that9s !ery unlikely to 'et 6eaten8 you should "lay it !ery slow on the flo" for two reasonsK =1? ;ou want to 'i!e your o""onents a chance to 6luff7 =$? ;ou want to 'i!e them a chance to catch somethin' if they don9t 6luff7 +ith a "air of aces or kin's there9s a chance you could flo" a strai'ht or flush draw7 It would almost always 6e a 'utshot strai'ht draw8 with the e ce"tion of a Q><>13 when you had kin's7 In any case8 if I flo""ed a strai'ht draw8 I9d 6e cautious with my hand7 I could easily 6e 6eat at that "oint 6ecause any flo" that would 'i!e me a strai'ht draw could easily make my o""onent two "air7 I wouldn9t fool with that hand7 (ut if I9!e 'ot the two red aces and three diamonds flo"8 well8 as I noted earlier8 that9s a !ery 6i' hand7 I9d "lay that hand from the hi"8 and I9d 6e willin' to "ut all my money in with it7 ;ou should always remem6er that the flo" is "ractically the whole 'ame in hold9em7 That9s where your maBor decisions will 6e made7 The "lay on fourth street and fifth street is "retty 6asic 6y com"arison7 For e am"le8 on the flo"8 you "ut your o""onent on a "articular hand8 and all your thinkin' follows from that7 If you think he9s drawin' at a clu6 flush8 you 6et7 ;ou must make your o""onents "ay to make their draws7 If the clu6 doesn9t come on fourth street8 you 6et a'ain7 O6!iously8 if the clu6 comes and you think your o""onent made his hand8 you check it7 If you think you9re 6eat8 naturally8 you check it7 -nd if you think your o""onent is drawin'8 you 6et7 That9s the whole thin'7
.1.

On fifth street8 also called the ri!er8 if it looks like your o""onent has missed his hand8 there9s usually no reason to 6et any further7 So you Bust show your hand o!er8 or you check it and 'i!e him a chance to 6luff7 That9s no>limit hold9em in a nutshell8 6ut as you know8 it9s a far more com"le 'ame than that7 -s you continue readin'8 you should 6e aware that my ad!ice is intended to "ro!ide you with some 'eneral 'uidelines7 I kee" em"hasi%in' this 6ecause it9s so im"ortant that you understand it7 There9s not a sin'le "lay that I9ll always make with a "articular hand7 I9m lia6le to "lay e!ery hand differently de"endin' on the circumstances7 The standards I ha!e 'uide me in a 'eneral direction8 as they should you7 (ut sometimes8 e!en I don9t know e actly what I9m 'oin' to do until the situation comes u"7 +hate!er my first feelin' or im"ression is at the time8 I9d 'o with that7 For e am"le8 I said I9d check my "air of aces one time if there were an o"en set of tri"s on the flo"7 On fourth street8 if a man made a 6i' 6et8 or if I 6et and he mo!ed>in on me8 I9d "ro6a6ly 'o ahead and "ay him off7 If a man9s lucky enou'h to flo" Juads when I9!e 'ot two aces8 he9d ha!e to show me: unless I9!e 'ot a lot of money in front of me and there9s not too much money in the "ot7 Let9s look at a s"ecific e am"le8 Bust8 remem6er that no matter what I say now8 I mi'ht do Bust the o""osite if the situation calls for it7 That de"ends on a lot of thin's8 es"ecially the 'uy in the "ot with me7 +hat do I know a6out himE So it9s 6ack to "eo"le a'ain7 Ne!ertheless8 here9s what I mi'ht do7 Let9s say there9s C$38333 in the "ot7 I9!e 'ot C138333 on the ta6le7 My o""onent has C$383338 and he mo!es in on me7 In that case8 I9d "ro6a6ly "ay him off if I knew him to 6e a "layer8 as o""osed to a rock7 Howe!er8 if my o""onent also had C138333 and o!er>6et the "ot 6y mo!in' in his entire stack8 well8 then I9m not sure what I9d do7 -s I said8 I9d 'o with my feelin's7 I9d look at him and then I9d decide7 To