Friday, October 16, 2009

Analyzing NLHE:TAP Concept 18

Continuing my project of analyzing each of the sixty concepts at the end of No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller.

Concept No. 18: Don't get trapped with a fourth street top pair in multiway checked pots.

Wow, Sklansky and Miller are really going out on a limb with this one! "Don't get trapped" is pretty hard to argue with. The question is whether this advice is likely to help anyone.

Actually, I think this is marginally good advice, but it's too specific. There are plenty of circumstances where you can get trapped by underestimating the chance that someone in a large field of opponents is lurking with a big hand. For example, top pair is also a treacherous hand to call with in multiways pots on the flop. Still, this doesn't invalidate the more specific point made in this concept.

It's true that you need a much stronger hand to call a bet when there are several players behind you than when you are heads-up, especially if there are various draws on the board. A top pair hand with a decent kicker is much weaker than it looks if you're used to having only one or two opponents on a flop, and thus it's pretty common for players to get trapped with such hands. In their discussion, Sklansky and Miller say "there's a decent chance you have the best hand, yet this isn't reason enough to call." This is a good point. This idea seems paradoxical at first, and it would make for a more interesting Concept topic, in my opinion.

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