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8/01/2009 No. 72
he Guardian Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Thur 8 Jan 2009
How to avoid losing a huge pot

A new year dawns: may 2009 see you always winning the maximum when you're in front. But good poker must also involve losing the minimum when you're behind.

Here is a hand from a heads-up match against Tony G, where I managed to avoid losing a huge pot. Blinds were 1,000-2,000, and we both had about 100,000.

I made it 7,000 from the button with King of clubs and 10 diamonds. Heads-up, you should be raising from the button with the majority of hands. With above average cards, I was making oversized raises because Tony G has a higher than average call frequency, so I hoped to induce larger errors. He did call. The flop came 6 of clubs, 10 of hearts and 7 of diamonds.

Tony checked, and so did I. Why? Because I didn't want to face a big raise. If Tony had a pocket pair or two pictures, he would have reraised pre-flop. If he had real trash, he would have passed. He was probably in the middle, with medium connectors, so a flop of 6 7 T could easily have hit him hard. But I had top pair, which might well be good. A check-raise would give me an awkward decision.

The turn came 9 of diamonds and Tony checked again. Now I had to bet, testing the water. But I still wanted to control the pot size, with a hand that I didn't want to pass but could be very vulnerable. So I bet 7,000 again. Tony flat called.

The river came 9 of spades. Tony checked. Many players would value-bet the river with my hand, but I stuck to my logic and checked behind. Tony chuckled and showed 10 9 for a full house.

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