There is perhaps nothing quite as exhilarating as turningover your hole cards in a game of Texas hold em to find aneat pair of aces sitting in front of you. Thats the singlestrongest opening hand you could muster, and whilecommunity poker by definition develops and changes asthe community cards are revealed, a pair of aces iscertainly a good starting block.But what if you turn your hole cards over, only to discovera thoroughly mediocre hand, one that neither inspiresyou nor compels you to fold immediately?
Perhaps youll find an eight and a jack. The cards are toofar apart to immediately consider forming a straight withany amount of certainty (though of course you could getreally lucky and find at least three consecutive cardscomprising a 6, 7, 9, or 10) Its also fairly unwise to hopefor a flush unless each card is similarly suited, but eventhen you’d proceed only if you’re feeling particularlyoptimistic.So whats a poker player to do?
• Firstly, assess how many players are still in the game. The more players there are, the higher the likelihood that your hand will be beaten.• Secondly, consider how high or low the big blind currently sits at. If the big blind is low enough, it may be worthwhile to pay in and play on just so you can see the flop to assess whether there’s any potential in staying in the round.
• Its definitely ill-advised to stay in the game if the flop gives you no joy. Dont be afraid to simply cut your losses and fold. If youre determined to stay in the round, then bet as conservatively as possible in order to see the turn and the river.• If the stakes become too high, you should probably just bow out and wait for the next hand. If, however, your investment in the pot is very large, then sometimes its essential to just keep playing and see how the round pans out.
Once youre out of the hand, you have no opportunity towin the pot. But even if youre in, even with a weak hand,you possess at the very least a slim chance of having thenuts.The take-home message? Play long enough to see theflop [if the blinds are not too high] but without gettingsucked in too far so that you’re staking too large a fortuneon an unlikely return.
A caveat: some poker players, whether wisely or unwisely,will often make a call about a mediocre hand based ontheir intuition and “gut feel” rather than on statisticalprobability and mathematical odds.You cant be too prescriptive when it comes to gambling,but you should never ever feel that folding is tantamountto giving up. Sometimes, its just the opposite.