Reducing Your Pot Odds
 
Let's say you are playing hold 'em, and after the flop you have a four-flush that you are sure will win if you hit it. There are two cards to come, which improves your odds of making the flush to approximately 13/4-to-1. It is a $10-$20 games with $20 in the pot, and your single opponent has bet $10. You may say, "I'm getting 3-to-1 odds and my chances are 13/4-to-1. So I should call." However, the 13/4-to-1 odds of making the flush apply only if you intend to see not just the next card, but the last card as well, and to see the last card you will probably have to call not just $10 now but also $20 on the next round of betting.

Therefore, when you decide you're going to see a hand that needs improvement all the way through to the end, you can't say you are getting, as in this case, 30-to-10 odds. You have to say, "Well, if I miss my hand, I lose $10 on this round of betting and $20 on the next round. In all, I lose $30. If I make my hand, I will win the $30 in there now plus $20 on the next round for a total of $50." All of a sudden, instead of 30-to-10, you're getting only 50-to-30 odds, which reduces to 12/3-to-1.

These are your effective odds - the real odds you are getting from the pot when you call a bet with more than one card to come. Since you are getting only 12/3-to- 1 by calling a $10 bet after the flop, and your chances of making the flush are 13/4-to-1, you would have to throw away the hand, because it has turned into a losing play - that is, a play with negative expectations. The only time it would be correct to play the hand in this situation is if you could count on your opponent to call a bet at the end, after your flush card hits. Then your potential $50 win increases to $70, giving you 70-to-30 odds and justifying a call.
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A Set of Aces in Another No-Limit Game
 
I called. I think it was a bad call. I thought about it a long time before I finally did call. It was my slowplay that put me in a bad situation where I had to make a tough decision. It was a crying call, I pretty much thought that I was beat, although I expected to see a 67 instead of the 23 he showed me when a 3? came on the river. I think I made a mistake by not raising on the flop, and an even worse mistake by calling on the turn. Because of the slowplay, he could have been betting a wider range of hands than if I had been aggressive throughout. I hadn't shown any activity that indicated I particularly liked that flop.

By the way, if you think a tight player wouldn't have seen the flop with a 2? 3? this was a short-handed game with a lot of action. Matt and I are both action players. That night two other players who are usually a little tight by game standards were losing and playing with their noses open a little.
 
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