BY RUSS SCOTT
APRIL 1, 2008
IN THIS HOLD’EM GAME, FOLDING TOO MUCH IS BAD STRATEGY
Can you fold too often at hold’em? Yes, if you’re playing the casino table game called Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker, as one LuckyDog reader suspected.
(SET ITAL) *In the hold’em table game where you only play against the dealer, should you always pay the additional double bet before the flop no matter what your two starting cards are? I was told if you are not willing to see the flop, you shouldn’t even play the game. — Don C., Dallas, Texas. (END ITAL)
I’ve never tried this game, Don, but action-crazed poker players might enjoy it because, unlike regular hold’em where you usually fold weak hands, this game dictates that you play all but your very worst pocket cards.
In fact, game analysts say you should play more than 80 percent of the possible two-card starting combinations. That’s because many marginal hands will win often enough so that you’ll lose less in the long run by playing them than you will by folding and forfeiting your ante.
Here’s the game: Each player posts an ante and gets two pocket cards face-down. After looking at your cards you can fold, surrendering your ante, or you can bet to see the three-card flop. If you bet, it must be twice the amount of the ante.
At this point, you can see the turn and river cards without more betting, if you wish. The dealer’s hand isn’t exposed until the end.
If you beat the dealer, you win even money on your flop bet. Your ante bet is a push (tie), unless you beat the dealer with a straight or better (in some casinos, a flush is required). In that case, you get even money for your ante bet, too. If the dealer beats you, you lose all bets including your ante.
To me, the most curious part of the game is starting hand selection. On the Casino City Times Web site, game analyst Elliott Frome says computer simulation indicates all hands are playable in the straight version of the game except 2-3 and 2-4 suited, 2-3 through 2-8 offsuit, and 3-4 through 3-8 offsuit. In the flush version, you also should fold 2-9, 4-5 and 4-6 offsuit, he wrote.
If you play this game, Don, just remember NOT to use this strategy when you return to regular hold’em action!
(SET ITAL) *Great article in The Dallas Morning News on 3-6-08! Your advice was right on as to how to act with dignity at the poker table. I will chew on your guidance, although another player touching my chips is akin to sticking your hand in my pocket or into a lady’s purse. Talk about feeling violated! — Richard G., U.S. Navy (Retired), Dallas, Texas. (END ITAL)
Thanks, Richard. Your extended thoughts about rude players are fascinating:
“Perhaps because I was born before the end of WWII and came up the hard way with nothing handed to me, I have no time for the civility you advocated. I’m sorry, I would have to throw down the gauntlet, i.e. with a simple ‘Don’t touch my chips’ loud enough for the room to hear, and any lip or grief in response would have been dealt with by everything short of deadly force.”
You put a little smiley face after that last sentence (thank goodness!), but your message is serious and clear: We can’t let rude opponents ruin the integrity and enjoyment of the game.
My advice to give one civil directive to a rude player before taking stronger action was aimed primarily at unwary card room newcomers. Of course, Richard, your suggested reaction would work well, too!
Thanks for your service from Vietnam through Desert Storm!
Another reader, David M. of the Illinois Quad-Cities, said this about rude online players:
“It seems to me that manners and respect have fallen on hard times in this culture, in general, and nowhere is this sad state of affairs more evident than in online poker. So many players seem utterly devoid of patience and tact, constantly keying in ‘zzzzzzzzz’ and the like in the chat box to express their disgust with anyone who dares to stop and think before they act at the table. How tiresome!”
E-mail your poker questions and comments to email@example.com for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2008 RUSS SCOTT
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.