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Feeling the pulse of an online poker game


Let us say that you are playing in an online poker NL100 ring game and it has been folded to you on the button and you raise with 5c-5d. The big blind calls you and we see a heads up pot with $7.50 in the middle. The flop comes almost perfect for you and is the 10s-5h-2c and the big blind checks. Many poker players bet here and are upset to see their opponent fold and they win the blinds money.

In this example then it is very difficult for one opponent to have hit a flop like that. But also if we try and feel the pulse of the hand then our opponent merely called our pre-flop raise and then checked the flop. These are passive and weak betting actions and so there is absolutely no reason to believe that our action will get called. But also our opponent is unlikely to have connected in any strong way and there is simply very little chance that you will get your opponent to donate chips to the pot on every single street.

Go with the flow

There is a flow to a poker game that can also be broken down to individual hands as well. In the example just quoted, the flow of the hand screamed that your opponent was weak. So you are almost betting against yourself. Now if we changed the situation to one where you flopped top set with three opponents on a board of 10c-9c-5s and now you can certainly bet. In fact if someone bet then you would be fine to raise here as there are three players who could potentially pay you off.

Also you do not want to give the drawing hands cheap cards to beat you and so raising here with the nuts is a good play. We can use the same philosophy when it comes to bluffing as well. Let us say that you limped on the button with Jc-10c after a limper and the big blind checked. The flop came 8c-8h-3s and both the big blind and the limper checked. The flow of the hand dictated weakness as nobody raised pre-flop or even bet the flop. In fact the board is difficult to hit and with only $3.50 in the pot if this were a $0.50-$1.00 game then a bet of say $2 could easily take this pot down.

Small bluffs add up

By the end of the year then these little bluffs certainly add up but the entire situation looked like weakness. Your two opponents had gone call-check and check-check. While it is true that one of them could have been checking a monster then you cannot automatically assume that every single time otherwise you will never be successful bluffing at any pot. It is also true that one of these opponents may be looking to re-bluff you and may just be waiting in the bushes to trap a stealer but if that is the case then you can adjust further down the line if this is a line that they try to pursue too often. In the meantime then you just have to simply take the betting action to mean exactly what it looks like. Another scenario could be if the pot was say five handed and one of your opponents bet into four players on a J-9-7 board. You can rest assured that if you have say A-9 that you are losing. No player would likely bet into four other players holding fresh air like that.

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