step toward winning a big pot is driving out as many
opponents as possible. Let's say you are playing seven-card
stud, and there has been a lot of raising on the first
three cards, which has created a big pot. You have
three-of-a-kind, a powerful hand, and now on fourth
street the man to your right bets. Should you call
or raise? You should definitely raise even though
you are driving out all the weaker hands behind you.
Indeed that is precisely the purpose of your raise.
The pot has become sufficiently large for you to try
to win it right now, forsaking any future bets you
might win. If everybody folds after you raise, you
are delighted. If your raise succeeds only in cutting
down the number of opponents, that's still pretty
Most people don't think in terms of this special case
of the Fundamental Theorem of online poker games,
but it is vital. Wanting to win the present pot instantly
- even with the best hand - depends on your chances
of winning if the hand continues and upon the pot
odds you are giving your opponents. You must ask yourself
whether an opponent would be correct to take those
odds knowing what you had. If so, you would rather
have that opponent fold. If not - that is, if the
odds against your opponent's making a winning hand
are greater than the pot odds he's getting - then
you would rather have him call. In this case, instead
of winning the pot right away, you're willing to take
the tiny risk that your opponent will outdraw you
and try to win at least one more bet. If, in the seven-stud
example of the preceding paragraph you had four-of-a-kind
instead of three-of-a-kind, you would not want to
put in a raise to drive people out. Your hand is so
good you'd want to collect a few more bets with it.
It's rare to catch a monster hand like four-of-a-kind
in the first four or five cards. With just about anything
less than that, you should try to win large pots right
away instead of letting players in cheaply or free.
Nor do the pots you go after have to be gigantic,
just fairly large relative to the betting structure
of the games you're playing. Your opponent or opponents
may fold after you bet or raise, but while you might
have won another bet or two, you still have the reward
of having locked up a good-sized pot.
can at first be frustrating to listen to someone spout
noxious anonymous verbiage, but consider the source.
What kind of person acts like a bully while hiding
in the basement? If you want to keep the chat window
on, try to laugh (inwardly-there's no need to give
the bully what he wants, which is attention) and recognize
the words for what they are: proof positive that the
speaker is an easy target. Good players don't try
to run off weak players.
When this happens, you have a few options. The simplest
is turning off your chat feature. All cardrooms give
you this option. You won't see a single word they
Unfortunately, taking this approach also robs you
of your right to interact with your fellow players
in a friendly way. That can be a big loss because
the number of nice people playing on the Internet
is far greater than the number of nasty ones.
You might try one neutral conversational foray and
if someone picks up on the chat, fine. If you receive
a stony silence, it's time to visit the lobby and
get yourself on the waiting list for one or more other
games because this one isn't off to a promising start:
Silent opponents tend to be serious opponents.