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Things To Remember

Slow playing is an extremely effective way to get good value for your strong hands, but since you are giving weaker hands free or cheap cards, you must slow play with caution. You must have a very strong hand. You shouldn't slow play when your strength is obvious or when the pot is large. Nor should you slow play when a cheap or free card has a fair chance of giving an opponent a better hand than yours or a justifiable draw. For example, in seven-card stud an obvious straight bets into your hidden ace-king-high flush. You might just call if there are other flush draws around. But if you have only a king-high flush, you should raise to make it as costly as possible for higher flush draws to call and possibly draw out on you. Ideally a good slow play occurs when, by making the hand they are hoping to make, opponents still end up second-best, when they are drawing dead. However, as long as your opponents will still not be getting proper odds after receiving a free card or a cheap card, a slow play is worth considering.

Scrap the general notion that you play tight in a loose game and loose in a tight game and use the following guidelines instead. In a loose game you must tighten up on your bluffs and semi- bluffs, but loosen up on your legitimate hands. You bluff less, but you bet for more values. You also call with more hands and play more drawing hands. In a tight game you loosen up on your bluffs and semi-bluffs, but you must tighten up your legitimate hand requirements. You bluff more, but you bet for value less. You also call less and give up more quickly with drawing hands.

These guidelines can also be applied to individual players, as well as games. When a very tight player with raises in a small-ante seven stud games and everyone ahead of you folds, you would probably throw away a pair of jacks. You've tightened up your requirements because the chances are good your opponent already has you beat with a pair of kings. But when a very loose player raises in the same spot and everyone ahead of you folds, you might reraise with jacks, not as a semi-bluff but as a bet for value.

To use all the poker tools at your disposal, you need to adjust your play according to the games and according to the individual players in the games. While in a horse race you like being first, in a poker game you like being last.



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