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Poker clichés will always endure

By Kenny Smith

Say what you want to, but some of y’all who read this know that you have either said or heard this stuff at a poker table at one time or another, especially if you’ve played limit Hold’em!

I flopped it!

It is frustrating when you flop a made hand—especially the nuts—and you get caught on the river by a bigger hand. How many times have you flopped a jack-, queen- or king-high flush, and an opponent with a naked ace for the nuts chases you all the way down to the river for that fourth suited card? Always remember, these are the players that subsidize the pot for you over the long haul.

I had you until the river!

In poker, there’s one simple word that sums up that phrase … CHIPS!

All kidding aside though, you need to have a reasonable expectation when you are betting a hand that is ahead at the time. If you have two pair on a flush draw flop, you can’t think that a player is going to fold before the river.

You called with that hand?!

Ask yourself this: Do you really want your opponents to call you when they have a superior holding. You should want them to get their money in the pot when they have horrible odds. When you have aces and they call with 6-3 suited, then spike a 3 and chase to the river trying to make two pair, you should be happy that they are trying to give you their money.

I raised to get them out.

This is something that I often used to say out of frustration when players called with hands that had terrible odds going to the river. Now my philosophy is completely different, especially as I’ve been playing Omaha Hi-Lo with more regularity.

If I have the best hand or the best potential draw, the last thing I want is for players to fold, especially if they are drawing dead and they don’t know it. It is extremely difficult to get your opponents to get their money in bad. When you have that edge, you need to push the envelope.

If your opponent(s) end up folding, great. If not, you have the potential to draw for a big pot.

How did I miss this hand? (straight draw, flush draw…)

This is the hand where the flop gives you about 15 outs or more and the pot is getting bigger and bigger as there are bets and (oh my goodness, yes!) raises into you. You are looking at the biggest pot of the night. This is the hand you’ve been waiting for.

River card: brick!

This type of hand doesn’t come along that often, so when it does you have to be willing to get your chips in the pot. I hear people say “straight draw, flush draw…” a lot more often than the frequency of times people have a legitimate draw of that sort. More often than not, a player has a straight draw and picks up a flush draw on the turn. The math actually dictates that one should fold in regard to the size of the pot. Too often we get focused on winning pots instead of winning money. With only one card to go, it’s more logical to let the hand go than to try hitting a hand where your odds are about 3.5-to-1 to make your hand.

I put you on ace/king

This is usually the biggest excuse to make calls preflop with hands that won’t win most of the time.

The pot’s too big … I gotta call!

This is one of the worst excuses for making a bad call on the river. If you know your opponent has you beat, then why call? A statement I like to use is, “That’s what I was hoping you didn’t have.”

Remember, hero calls are not the mark of a good poker player. Their expected long-term result is you losing money. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t necessarily want to lay down a made hand in a no-limit game that has 50 big blinds in the pot, or in a limit game that has 25 big bets or more, to what you think is a bluff. But if the hand you have can be beaten five different ways, save your money.

I know you have it, but I have to call!

See previous entry.

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