Calling Bets with Weak Cards in Tournaments

I would rather call against multiple limpers then re-raised my middle pair to isolate in the early going.  You are likely to get better long term value from set mining cheaply. Most of these calls in early stages are correct for implied odds strategy. A five times raise is not a big hit to their stack and you mostly just don’t narrow the field enough. What usually happens here is a tough decision to continuation bet or not into a large pot so many over cards on the board resulting in tough decisions.Sure you can open raise, but if there are multiple limpers I would just avoid attacking them when everyone is comfortable stacks and mzones.

You also can’t forget about the 2:1 odds. So if the pot is now one.Five big blinds, with one caller, which makes it two now.5BBs. You raise to 3BB, making the pot 5.5BBs and the limper (assuming everyone else folds) has to call 2BBs to see a flop with 5.5BBs in it. So he is getting nearly 3:1 on his call.

You have to consider the fact that you’re likely to never be worse than a three to one under dog pre-flop. But there is a problem. Maybe even more than one problem.

Firstly your problem is bet-ability of a marginal hand. You could end up with three gapped connectors versus big slick. The flop comes down 5 J Q. Even though your ahead, it’s difficult to know how much you can bet here? Can you even call a standard Cbet with bottom pair out of position? But what if you just bet into the pot? What happens when he calls? Do you fire again on the turn? It’s an expensive guessing game now with just bottom pair?

But what if you have something like pocket threes pre-flop? There are 3 over cards (which statistcially are likely to have missed your opponent), but how much can you bet at this situation?

So yes, you had correct odds pre flop, if you could get to showdown for something approximating that pre flop investment. But when everyone has a lot of chips you can’t do it. You still have 3 betting rounds before you get to fifth street.

Concurrently, this also creates the 2nd problem. You are out of position and that’s not good poker tournament strategy. This means when you do make you hand you will win less. You will also lose more chips, because your opponent can bet you off a better hand because he has position.

If you think about it, in deep stack play, you shouldn’t be concerned with pot odds too much. This is where you should be measuring up your opponents stack.. i.e. what is the size of my stack and my opponents stack. My calling range is rather wide if this bet represents 5% of my stack or less. Even if they have pocket aces, my small cards and when a huge pot. I want them to have AA when I am playing 53s for a raise. But if the raise is getting up to around 10% of my stack, then I fold all the weired stuff, except PPs. But in all of that the only thing I am thinking about is the size of the bet I have to call compared to the effective stack.

I might have 56s and be up against AK. But unless I make and OESD, Flush draw or 2 pair or better, I will be surrendering pretty much every pot on the flop especially if I am OOP. Once in a while you might just want to check here if you hit a low pair, especially if you can put your opponent on a hand.

If you notice in Every Hand Revealed, Gus Hansen frequently berates himself for calling early position raisers with trash when he is in the BB. Understandably, these regrets come about as soon as you see the flop which invariably are difficult to play. Gus can look at his opponent for tells, and after all his is The Great Dane. We don’t have physical tells and we are not Gus. Importantly also, our opponents are not Gus’ opponents. It’s also important to know if your opponent can get away from a top pair, or are more willing to let it ride.

Guess I’m trying to say is that if you can afford it, implied odds are much more important than pre-flop pot odds. Hey, you may play the hand anyway, but look at it from an implied stand point, not just pot odds. You have to know how to calculate poker odds when getting into hands like this becuase it may very well determine your long term success in tournaments. Just knowing Poker rules are not enough to win, you need strategy too.