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Too many times I have seen players lose and then say, “it’s poker”. Well yeah, poker has its ups and downs, your swings are as brutal as the next guy. However it is not always poker’s fault. It might be you. Lately I’ve seen a few players overplay their top two pairs, or over-shoving their flush draws or combo draws and when they miss, just say “it’s poker”.

People say “shit happens”. Well if it dropped on your head while you were walking around oblivious of your surroundings then yeah. But if you see it from afar but you still walk straight ahead, well my friend, you made it happen. Poker is a fair game. Over time your good decisions will pan out and your bad decisions will cost you. But if you got it in bad and blame it on poker or luck, that’s your own fault.

What I’ve learned recently:

1. Check raise or reraise draws – there is a tendency for inexperienced players to just call with draws. Some better players at least know they are calling at the right price. But I’ve learned that in order to maximise EV in the end you are suppose to raise (in position) or check raise (out of position) certain draws.

For example you flop the nut flush draw. Player ahead donk bets or c bets. You raise by 2.5x. What that does is that you announce that you are strong. Unless the bettor has super monster, he is unlikely to reraise you. Secondly he is wary of your strength and might check to you on the turn. That means if you don’t hit you can get a free card. Or you can bet turn to take down the pot. If he does reraise you on the flop then you can decide to call or fold based on the odds.

2. Smallish reraise of monsters pre – we know we have to protect our big pockets, and sometimes the game is so crazy the standard open raise is 7x. So we assume if someone opens 5x we have to make it at least 20x to get people off. Sometimes you do, especially if there are callers already. But this situation is if for example someone opens to 3x, you are next to act, or no one called between you and raiser, how much to raise.

Raiser opens 3x, comes to you, you can make it 8x – 9x to go. 8-9 may be a smallish bet, but the fact that it is a 3 bet makes is much harder to call. Someone maybe wary if they called your 9x and the initial raiser comes over the top and they are in trouble. The beauty of 9x in this situation is you can push off those stupid cards, most suited connectors but the initial raise will be priced to call you with a weaker hand. This way you don’t lose value because you will still pick up a limper. A small raise may also induce a light 4 bet.

Good luck