In my last column on plugging leaks, I discussed some common mistakes in tournament play. In this column, I will go back to live play and analyze two rather advanced concepts in both limit and big-bet poker.
Leak No. 20: Putting your entire stack at risk in big-bet poker in order to win a little
A big mistake that quite a few bad players and even quite a few fairly good players often make is this: They are playing in a big pot-limit Omaha game (I could have picked an example from no-limit hold’em, as well, because the principle is the same), and on the river, they have the nut straight but there is also a flush possible, as three hearts are on the board. Both remaining opponents check to them, and they think it is entirely possible that their straight is good, because on the turn (when the third heart came) and on the river, both Bola88 opponents checked. There’s $800 in the pot and they are playing a $1,400 stack. Now, some people would choose to bet the nut straight here, thinking it was unlikely for someone to have a flush, and that they might very well “milk” their opponents for some additional money. After all, their opponents might be tempted to pay off this small, somewhat suspicious bet with something like a smaller straight, a set, or even two pair. So, quite a few players would choose to bet $150 or $200 in this situation, a relatively small bet compared to the size of the pot.
Now, in last position when everybody has checked to them, this is almost always a horrible bet! First of all, the person who is most likely to call them is someone with a small flush; yes, in PLO, quite a few players will check a small flush twice and then pay off any bet that someone might make as some sort of bluff-catcher. But perhaps even more important than the fact that they might get called only by better hands is the fact that they …