Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Shorthanded: A situation where you shouldn't try to force the opponent to fold

Your hand: KJo

You open-raise on the button in a 5-handed game. The Small Blind folds and the Big Blind calls.

Flop: 5-3-2 rainbow

He checks, you bet, he calls.

You should not bet on the Turn unless a K or J hits the board. This is because with a Flop of 5-3-2, any Ace has a gutshot straight draw. And the other card either makes a second over card to the board or a pair. So there is no question most players in shorthanded games will hang in there on the Turn. Once they call on the Turn, its easy for them to call again on the River since they have A-high. So many players bluff in the shorthanded games, that many players have learned its ok to call through the River with a A-hand.

So as you can see, if you keep betting, a player with a Ace will not fold on the Turn and probably not fold on the River either. If the player has a pair, he ain't folding either. If the player has two overcards without the Ace, then you don't want him to fold if there is a good chance he will bluff on the River if he sees you checking it on the Turn.

So in situations like that when you don't have an Ace, and the Flop is 3 cards 5 and lower (no pair), bet once on the Flop (hoping he folds), but then just check on the Turn. If he checks on the River, you can try to bet to steal the pot from an Ace, but that bet is only worthwhile due to the pot odds of a successful bluff.

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