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Betting Second Best Hand


There is a curious corollary to the principle of trying to win the big pots right away. Obviously you want to bet or raise to drive out as many players as possible when you have the best hand. But if the pot is very large, it is frequently desirable to do the same even when you suspect you have the second-best hand, especially when you believe you're not that far behind.

You have four cards to an 8, and you suspect the player to your right, Player C, has four to a 6. If there are a few raises on third street, creating a good-sized pot, it is important that you raise the 6,4 when he comes out betting, even though his hand is probably better than yours and he will probably reraise. Why should you be willing to add two bets to the pot when you suspect you don't have the best hand? The answer is that you want to force out the other two hands. With a large pot they might call a single bet, but in the face of a bet, a raise, (and a probable reraise), they should now fold. You have succeeded in reducing the opposition to one, and you now have about a 45 percent chance of winning the pot. Your underdog status is more than compensated by all that extra dead money in there. On the other hand, with the other players involved, you would have only about a 30 percent chance of winning the pot.

(gak jelas mo ngomong apa kelanjutannya gak ada?)

Your hand may not be the best hand. You don't think it is, but you are quite sure it is second best and not much of an underdog. If the man to your right with the K?9?comes out betting on fourth street, you should raise to drive the other players out. In the event your two queens is the best hand because the K?9?is a four-flush or two 9s, you don't have to worry about any of the other players outdrawing you. On the other hand, if the K?9?is in fact two kings, you have a better chance of winning the pot against him alone than you would if you let in other players who could outdraw you even if you made queens up or three queens.

The same principle comes up in hold 'em. The man to your right bets, putting you in a position to raise immediately to make other people fold. When the pot is large, you should do it with a good hand even if you suspect it might not be the best.


In structure games the size of the bet doubles on the third round of betting - for example, from $5 to $10 in a $5-$10 games and from $10 to $20 in a $10-$20 games. In these games you may want to wait until the bet doubles in size before putting in a raise - not as a slow play but as a better way of driving people out. If in $10-$20, for example, you raise a $10 bet to $20 on the second round, some players behind you may be willing to call, but if you wait until the next round to raise a $20 bet to $40, these players will not be so willing to pay the price. The greater likelihood of diving opponents out with a big raise on the third round of betting offsets the cheap $10 card you allowed them on the previous round.

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