Hand Value and the Number of Opponents

One of the core skills that all good players have is the ability to think about their hand carefully and well depending on the key factors that drastically affect its likely strength, and arguably the most important of these is the number of opponents you are facing. Every extra opponent that you have in a hand hugely increases the number of possible combinations of holdings your opponents may be sitting on, and this has a massive effect on where your hand is most likely at. Say you raise ace king off suit in Hold'em and get one caller to a flop of Ac10c4h. Here you are in pretty good shape, should be trying to get as much money in the pot as possible, and barring reads against the very tightest players, should usually be pretty happy to get a big pot going here. Compare the exact same scenario except you get four callers. Although your hand could well be good, the number of possible sets, flush/straight draws, and two pairs hugely increase, and you face not only a lot more possible scare cards on the turn/river, but a much larger chance that you are already behind. Ignoring this point is one of the most fundamental and common leaks in weak player's games. Instead of looking at the relative hand value of their top pair etc, they purely think about its absolute hand value. Top pair with a good kicker can be a great hand in Hold'em, but it can also be a truly terrible one. One of the fastest possible ways to go broke in a Hold'em game is to start over playing these type of hands in family pots - those extra combinations add up very quickly, and it does not take long before you will start seeing hands very far ahead of you crop up over and over again when the money starts going in. Poker is a game where you have to balance many considerations about a hand at once and try and make the best choice. The number of people in the pot is one of the most important of these in working out the real strength of your hand, and just blindly firing out because you have a pair can be a recipe for disaster in family pots, a point that is crucial to understand if you want to avoid one of the largest leaks in poker. Join Betfair Poker Now View our Latest Promotions

Dave Allan

Dave Allan

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