I have to admit, I learned poker all wrong the first time around. I learned how to play "right", how to play solid players, and I experienced a great success rate against other players who were also trying to play right. I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I stepped out into the real world (Vegas, what Poker Academy has become) and got my posterior handed to me time and again.
To that end, I am now learning how to play "real" poker... That is, the kind of poker I'll need to play against all the donks and luck-monkeys both online and at B&M tables everywhere. So I hope you'll forgive me if this article stinks of mediocre poker - because it does. But I've been having a great deal of success with it versus mediocre players, so I wanted to share it with my friends... Do not attempt this at home, or anywhere, against solid players. They will eat you alive.
You're in late position. You look down at AQs. Not bad. Factor position and it's definitely worth a solid raise. Depending on how well isolation is working at the table, maybe 4x - 8x the BB.
Button folds, blinds fold, limper from middle position calls. This seems to be the way it works at least 50 - 70% of the time. If his cards were better than mine, it's almost guaranteed he would re-raise. But he calls. Because he has something like TJ or K9 and he's just DYING to see a flop.
4d 7c 2d
He bets between half the pot and the full pot. There's information hidden here. He would generally check a set, trying to trap - the mediocre and worse players seem to love this tactic more than they should. Yes, even with two diamonds on the board. So he's likely to have a flush or straight draw, a small pair, or nothing at all.
Okay, the plot has thickened somewhat, but we've already got a plan for that. He checks, which could mean just about anything. He bet on the flop, so he could have a 4. Neither the flush or the straight came, though.
He checks. I don't hesitate to lay out a pot sized bet.
Generally he folds here. His post-flop bet was a lazy attempt to steal it, figuring I hadn't hit the flop. He now "knows" I've got him beat and lays it down.
Sometimes he raises. Whether or not I think he's lying, I generally lay it down here. Nice play. You've either got it or you made a nice bet at the right time. I need to get out while it's still not horribly expensive.
On rare occassion, he just calls. This is a sticky situation, because he could be a trapper who was a little more clever than you gave him credit for... Or he's still on a draw and isn't doing the math. Hit the brakes a little bit and pay real close attention to his demeanor, remembering that crappy players are usually quite predictable... Acting weak means they're strong, acting strong means they're weak.
Assuming he calls, there's a river. Exactly what it is doesn't matter much to the core of this article. The tactic I'm pointing out here is the use of position to call the post-flop stab and lead out with a bet when he's checked the turn. I've noted a great many situations where they give me exactly this setup then lay it down to my bet on the turn.
On some nights, it's cheap tricks like this that represent the majority of my winnings. Try it out. I think you'll find it works surprisingly well. Just be careful. A decent trapper can take a good amount of chips away from you if you don't smell danger in time.