Laying Down A Big Poker Hand
Fixation - Definition: an unhealthy and compulsive preoccupation with something or someone. (Dictionary.com) Fixation happens. I’ve seen players with pocket aces not notice that someone at the table has possibly received a flush on the flop. After the river, they confidently flip over their aces only to realize they have lost the hand. I have got caught in the act of not laying down a big hand.
I was in a tournament at Catfish Bend Casino in Iowa and was dealt pocket Queen’s. I wasn’t paying enough attention to the other players at the table and went “All In” before the flop. Had I been paying attention and simply made a small bet instead of going all in, I would have noticed that the posture of one of the other players had changed. He leaned forward and placed his hands differently on the table. I realized later that this signified he had a good hand.
He ended up beating my pocket Queen’s with pocket King’s. It’s very rare but it happens. Thankfully, I was able to buy back into the tournament at that point and ended the tournament in 5th place. Knowing when to lay down a big hand is part of playing quality poker. Being able to read the other players at the table and determine what hands they will typically play will give you this edge. It also relies on your ability to estimate the cards that the other players have as well as the cards that will likely come on the flop, turn and river. This is estimated through probability. See my article “Its all about the cards,” for more information about this subject. I was watching a poker tournament on TV and it was heads up play. The TV did not show the cards they were playing with.
Simply by watching the way one of the players was acting (he was unsure) and the cards in the flop, it told me he had a low pocket pair. My father asked me to guess what he had and I said pocket nines. I was right on the money. I’ve also prevented myself from losing a hand as well. I had determined that one of my opponents had pair their 10 on the flop and the other I wasn’t concerned about because of their previous betting pattern. I had paired my 9 on the flop and I was able to determine after I saw the turn that he had a pair of 10’s. The only reason I knew this is because I watched how he played and how he bet in hands that I wasn’t playing. I subsequently folded the hand and he beat the other player by showing his pair of 10’s. Overall if you do not become fixated on your hand and pay attention to the whole table, you will become a more successful poker player. Poker is not only about the cards you have in your hand, but it is also about being able to confidently determine, through probability and psychology, that you have the best hand.
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