Putting players on hands, Pt. III

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Last issue in Part II of my series, I discussed what might occur on the flop and how the aggressor may continue to bet regardless if they hit the flop.

The turn is an ace in the same suit as the king on the board and the under-the-gun player checks to the button raiser.

This card may have hit him perfectly, or then again, this ace is higher than his cards if he’s holding a hand such as Q-Q.

Everyone checks and the button bets. Now, if the button wasn’t afraid of a trap that the turned ace created, they’re assuming control of the pot — and having position is beneficial — with their bet.

If the UTG player then raises, you know he has set a trap with the check-raise and three aces could be a likely holding.If the UTG player just calls, you may consider they don’t believe their hand is the best.
In this case, any remaining players in the middle often will fold to the reraise, but if they have a draw, they still may call if there’s no reraise by the UTG player.If the button only calls the reraise, you can assume that hand cannot beat the advertised set of aces, or even A-K.

The river brings a 10 of yet another suit, making only two to a suit on the board, but three to a straight. The UTG player bets followed by a rather weak and fruitless call by the button.Betting for value is important when you believe you have the best hand. Note: Don’t leave money on the table if you feel you can extract a bet from your opponent. Make the bet and expect to be paid off often.
Finally, each hand is different. Put players on all kinds of possibilities to begin with, eliminate possibilities as betting and cards then unfold.

Usually you’ll be left with a general idea of what type hands you face. Try it today in a tournament or cash game.

Don’t play a cash game and just observe while you try to figure out what players might be holding. Adjust your thinking as the hand plays out and see what you conclude by the last bet. Seeing what they have will only validate your process as you refine it and begin to hone in on the exact holding. Pretty soon, you’ll begin to learn the technique and begin to increase your table earnings.

— Al Spath is the former Dean at Poker School Online and continues to teach poker online and live. His free YouTube Poker Channel (Al Spath) has hundreds of instructional videos to view. Al’s live broadcasts are on TwitchTV: follow (PositivePokerInsiders). Contact Al directly at alspath@alspath.com with questions coaching inquires.