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Checks and Balances
CTO "Maniac" 01.15.2007

It never ceases to amaze me. The more I play, the more I realize how many fascinating checks and balances there are in poker. I won't go into any depth here because no depth is necessary.

You bluff too much, you'll get snapped off (but you might get paid off when you really do have the nuts.) You fold too much before the flop and people won't pay you off when you have a strong hand (but it will enable you to bluff more.) You draw to the nuts and miss most of the time, but when you do hit, it can make up for all the losses. You get on a card rush then get card dead for weeks. You're card dead for weeks then you have a big winning session.

Big pairs are probably the best hands preflop, so you want one or maybe two callers. But you can be out-flopped. Drawing to the nuts can win you a big pot if you hit. But you can also lose big if you bluff and get snapped off. The bigger your hand, the bigger you want to make the pot. And if your opponent has a biggger hand, you lose big. But usually if you flop a monster you won't get much action.

A loose table means that you can get action on your big hands, but you can also lose big when your opponents draw out on you. A tight table means that you can bluff often but you'll only win small pots. If you don't hide your hand strength, your opponents will catch on and you'll lose. If you try to hide your hand strength too much, your opponents will catch on anyway and you'll lose.

Terrible hole cards will usually cost you money if you call preflop raises with them. But terrible hole cards will win big pots when you call preflop raises and hit the flop hard: the preflop raiser, with his pocket rockets, won't be able to lay them down versus your flopped monster with a kaka flop.

You play with some regulars and learn exactly how they play, but when they change their playing style temporarily you may not be able to adjust. You play against strangers and you feel like you're at a disadvantage because you don't know how they play at first. But they don't know how you play at first either.

And, of course, the more you know about poker, the more you realize how much you don't know.