Anyone can be a preflop master but if you want to be a true poker Jedi you’re going to have to make all the right moves postflop. Do you have the Force on your side?
You’re playing a cash game in the local casino when five players see a T♣-J♠-A♣ flop. You flop the nuts and check in the big blind. The original raiser bets £10 and gets two callers before it’s your turn to act. What should you do?
a) Call £10
b) Raise to £20
c) Raise to £35
d) Move all-in
It’s the same soft cash game as before and effective stacks are now £200. A weak player raises to £5 and you three-bet T♣-T♥ to £15 on the button. He calls and you see a A♣-T♠-2♥ flop. The villain donk bets £30 into you. What should you do?
a) Call £30
b) Raise to £60
c) Raise to £100
d) Move all-in
It’s a $50NL online cash game and the other players at the table are playing pretty straightforward poker. You raise A-K and get one caller on the button, who has a big stack. The flop is A-2-4 rainbow, you bet and are called. You get called again on the Eight turn and the pot is now $21. You bet $15 on the Jack river and your opponent moves all-in. What should you do?
It’s a tough $200NL game online and you raise to $5 on the button with J♦-8♦. The big blind calls. The flop is 9♦-3♣-2♠. You c-bet $8 and the villain calls. The turn is 10♦ and the big blind checks. What should you do?
a) Check behind
b) Bet $20
c) Bet $27 (full pot)
d) Overbet $50
In that same hand you go ahead and bet $20 on the turn, which is called. The river is a brick 3♥. The villain checks once more and there is $67 in the pot. What should you do?
a) Check behind
b) Bet $42
c) Bet $67
d) Shove all-in
6) What should you always be doing when playing postflop in cash games?
a) Looking to stack your opponent
c) Planning ahead for the rest of the hand
d) Avoid getting stacked
7) In three-bet and four-bet pots why should you c-bet a smaller percentage of the pot?
a) Big pots are scary
b) To tease an opponent
c) It looks stronger than betting bigger
d) The pot is already inflated so you can bet smaller
8) When playing postflop what is it important to try and have?
a) Initiative in the hand
b) A good table image
d) All of the above
9) Why do some tournament players struggle postflop when they transition to cash games?
a) They’re not used to playing so deep
b) They are too aggressive
c) Cash game players are generally better
d) They are playing too many tables online
10) In the biggest televised pot of all time between Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan, on what street does all the money go in?
The answers (no cheating!)
- c) Raise to £35. Small-stakes live cash games are renowned for being full of loose players ready to gamble. The good news is this means you often get paid off in full when you hit the nuts. As such, you should check-raise immediately just in case the board pairs or a draw comes in on the turn to scare players off.
- a) Call £30. Once again we have a very strong hand but this time the best option would be to slowplay. It’s very hard for our opponent to have a hand better than A-Q in this spot, and if we raise it will look incredibly strong.The pot is already bloated so there is still plenty of room to get all-in on later streets.
- b) Fold. When playing straightforward opponents a good rule of thumb is to fold one pair hands when you bet and get raised. This is especially the case on the river because there are now no draws out there and the bet sizes are much larger – it’s rare that a tight opponent would be capable of pulling off a brave bluff.
- b) Bet $20. All options except for checking behind are good here. Now that you’ve picked up a straight flush draw it would be far too passive to check behind as you have so much equity in the hand. By betting we are trying to get the villain to fold hands that currently beat you.
- a) Check behind. This is one of the worst possible river cards for you to fire on as it doesn’t change the board at all. If your opponent has any type of made hand, even as weak as something like 9-7, there’s still a very good chance he calls a bet on the river. You would really only be folding out other draws that missed, and your Jack-high beats some of them anyway.
- c) Planning ahead for the rest of the hand. It’s crucial that you know how you will react on different turn and river cards when playing postflop. Which cards will you value bet? Which cards will you bluff and which will you just give up? A poker hand does not take place over one street, it’s a series of small decisions that get more and more important as the hand develops. Remember to think of the whole hand at all times.
- d) The pot is already inflated so you can bet smaller. You don’t have to bet so big in reraised pots because due to their size you can still get all-in naturally by the river every time. Half pot bets on flop, turn and river will do the trick.
- d) All of the above. There are many factors that will help you play well postflop but these are three of the most important.
- a) They’re not used to playing so deep. In tournaments you rarely have more than 50BBs after the early stages whereas in a cash game you will always have 100BBs minimum. This can lead to tourney players making big mistakes postflop such as over-valuing
- c) Turn. Tom Dwan won the $1.1m pot when his 7-6 hit the nuts on a J-3-5-4 board against Ivey’s A-2 in 2010. But don’t feel too bad for Phil, he’s done alright for himself since…
0-4 Jar Jar Binks
Dear oh dear. Weak with this one, the force is.
5-7 Mace Windu
What it takes to be a cash game master, you have. But needed, more work is. Yes.
Cash game king, you are. Now mix it with the big boys, you can. Hmmmmmm.
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