What makes poker different from most other games? Cause it is a thinking game. I know players who play it without thinking much, sometimes even high or drunk. That’s their loss, our gain. But those who play it well are thinking all the time. So what are you thinking? What to eat after the game? What to do with your winnings?

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What should you be thinking?

When you are betting, this is my thought process.

1. What hands can call your bet that you are AHEAD of
2. What hands won’t call that you are AHEAD of
3. What hands won’t fold that you are BEHIND to
4. What hands can fold that you are BEHIND to

For example, you opened preflop with AK, flop is AA2 and you’re thinking to bet or not to bet.

1. What hands can call your bet that you are AHEAD of
Any ace except A2, pocket pair maybe

2. What hands won’t call that you are AHEAD of

Pocket pair, some players might fold a weak ace too

3. What hands won’t fold that you are BEHIND to

22, A2

4. What hands can fold that you are BEHIND to

None

Based on this analysis, slow playing with your hand is best. (btw, I am just putting my thought process into laymen terms. I am by no means saying this is the best play or GTO, don’t complain to me about balancing ranges and cbet % blah blah, turning your KQ into a bluff on this flop etc.)

Let’s take a less obvious hand, let’s say you opened UTG+1 with 88, and 2 callers complete the hand. Flop comes AK2 rainbow.

1. What hands can call your bet that you are AHEAD of

Gut shot hands like QJ, QT, JT, any 2 and pocket 3-7 might float

2. What hands won’t call that you are AHEAD of

Same as above, and unpaired overcards to your 8s like T9

3. What hands won’t fold that you are BEHIND to

Set, two pairs, strong ace, maybe even strong K

4. What hands can fold that you are BEHIND to

QQ, JJ, TT, 99, weak K, maybe even weak A

Okay so what does this analysis achieve? I believe in VBB. Every bet is either for VALUE, BLUFF or BLOCK. After you’ve done this analysis you can decide if you want to VBBC (Value, bluff, block or check)

So what do you think about when you are facing a bet? Reverse it! Which of VBB is this guy doing?

1. What hands can value that I am BEHIND of
2. What hands might value that I am AHEAD of
3. What hands might bluff
4. What hands might block bet

For example, let say same situation, you open with 88, flop comes AK2 rainbow, you bet, villain check calls. Turn comes an 8, you bet and villain check calls. River is an Ace, villain leads out with a half pot bet. (board AK28A)

1. What hands can value that I am BEHIND of

AK, A2, KK, A8, AA (although all unlikely as played)

2. What hands can value that I am AHEAD of

22, maybe some fish might value AQ, AJ but unlikely

3. What hands can bluff

QJ, JT, 35, 45, any K, pocket pair

4. What hands will block bet

Weak Ace, strong K

Come join me on the Asian Poker Union @ PPPoker ~ contact me on happyriverpoker@gmail.com if you are interested!

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