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Poker School Online presents... Pro Tips, with TJ Cloutier.
Walking Back to Houston: Playing Big Slick
by TJ Cloutier
Playing Pot-Limit Hold'em for Profit & Pleasure
We used to say that if you play Big Slick often enough in Dallas and you live in Houston, you’re gonna’ have to walk the 249 miles back to Houston a few times ... and for a good reason. In both pot-limit and no-limit hold’em, A-K is the type of hand that you want to win without seeing a flop. You raise with the hand, yes, but you raise because you want to win the money right then and there.
Suppose you’re holding A-K and the flop comes K-4-6. You usually would lead at the pot in this situation, but there are a few occasions when you might slow-play the hand. Although I’ve said that you never slow-play in pot-limit hold’em, actually I should never say never, because even in pot-limit, there are exceptions to the rule.
For example, suppose you have raised the pot before the flop with your A-K. Some weaker players actually will call the pot with hands such as K-Q, K-J or K-10. So, why not give them one check on the flop? You know they’ll come right out of their shoes if they flop top pair—and then you can get them with a check-raise. But if you are going to check raise, you must do it on the flop so that you don’t give your opponents a chance to make a second pair or something else on the turn that will beat your top pair/top kicker.
Over the years, so many players have asked me, “How could I have gone broke with top pair/top kicker?” Because an opponent makes a better hand, that's how. And that is why you check-raise on the flop, without giving anybody a chance at making a double pair or some fantastic drawout on the turn. There are 10 cards that are connected to the king, and they could be playing a queen, jack, or 10. Some bad players will even play a king with a suited nine. So when you check, they may figure, “Well, he’s got something between tens and kings, so I’d better take this pot right now.” Then you’ve got ‘em!
So much of this strategy depends upon the texture of the flop and the nature of the players at the table. Just be sure that you know your opponents well enough that you figure one of them will bet on the flop so that you can put in your check-raise.
The idea is to get your opponent pot-committed. In fact, whenever you have the top hand—whether it’s A-K or something else—you want to get your opponent committed to the pot. If you have A-K and the flop comes K-Q, you’re a little afraid of it, but you still bet it. You realize that if somebody plays back at you, you’re still trying to catch a card, unless your opponent is a weak player. If the flop comes K-Q, your opponent might be holding K-Q or J-10. It’s even possible that he might call you with A-10, hoping to catch the gut-shot straight on the turn. And sorry to say, that happens more often than it should!
This weekend at PSO!
Be sure to stop by the PSO Cardroom this weekend for these very special events:
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