Saturday, August 22, 2009

How to Set a Trap With Top Pair in a Poker Tournament

A Basic Trap on the Flop

This is a very simple poker play. Some poker pros used this play a lot a few years ago. The play is this: When you are heads-up, in position and flop top pair with an Ace or King, check your hand. While this is a risky play, the reward can be a bigger win. Of course, this is a play that should be limited to flops that are not coordinated since giving a free card could cost you the pot.


Trapped (2002 film)Image via Wikipedia

You have A♠-J♥. It is the middle of the tournament. You have $38,000. The blinds are $400-$800. A player in the middle position, with $45,000, raises to $4,000. You call on the cut-off. Everyone folds. It’s heads-up. The pot is $9,200.

The flop is A♣-10♦-6♥. Your opponent checks his hand. What should you do?

Check as well. It is true that your opponent could have a straight draw, but why not take a chance to win a big pot? If the 10♦ was the 8♦, the flop is even safer for this play.

In fact, your opponent’s big pre-flop raise may indicate that he has a pocket pair that he was trying to protect. So if he has pocket Jack’s, your bet on the flop will get him to fold. However, the check may give him the green light to make a play for the pot.

The only caution is that you want to avoid making this play if the board is coordinated and has many draws. For example, if the flop is A♣-10♦-9♦, your opponent could be working on a flush or a straight draw. Checking would give him a free card. You should bet your top pair to protect your hand.

This trap is not used as often as it used to be. Now top players will bet their hand on the flop, and if they get called, these players will often check the turn. The reason for the check on the turn is to keep the pot small and possibly win another bet on the river by looking weak on the turn.

Razz Update

I doubled up again on Friday late afternoon, but gave it back when I came back to play around midnight. The only way I can lose like that is if I lose my temper or I start wheel potential, such as A-2-3-4 or 2-3-4-5. Well that happened to me within the space of 9 hands, three times! I whiffed all the way down. It was unreal especially since I was heads-up and only one exposed card was one of the cards I needed for an 8 low or better. Yeah, I left that seat.

On the game where I doubled up, it was interesting since I played for 2 hours and this one seat must have had 8 players go bust during that time period. Two other seats at the table were hot as can be. I was pretty much slow but steady in building my stack, while everyone else mostly fed these two very very lucky players. When I checked back one hour later, these two players were still there--you can't blame them.

There was also one Razz poker player who kept getting wiped out. He'd lose all his chips, leave and come back to play a few minutes later. I think in the two hours I was at the game, he lost $800. He was an awful player since he believed in playing catch-up. He would enter a pot with even a King showing hoping to win. He did this a few times, but what a way to lose money fast.

What was unusual for online poker was that no one was calling him a donkey or worse. Because everyone wanted him to come back and donate more money. Losing $400 an hour has to take a bite out of your budget.

The best player I've seen at Razz on Full Tilt is pepperman7. This guy calls down opponents who show an 8 high, and pepperman just has a 10. His opponent ends up with Q low, and pepperman wins again. Unreal. It's like he sees the guys hole cards. Hmmm...I might get suspicious if this was Ultimate Bet=)

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