The first hand I ever won playing NL Hold’em was on a freeroll tournament I played in when I was very new to the game. I remember it clearly because it was a freeroll that didn’t cost me any money.
My first hand was to call a raise of 3.5x the big blind with T7s. The UTG player waited for a long time for his turn and suddenly I knew he would raise with any cards. I had barely enough chips to call when the chip leader re-raised to 6x the big blind. Just for shits and giggles, I called. His other opponent however called as well.
The flop was QJ8. Both blinds checked to me. This is very uncommon in Limit Hold’em especially if you are in early position. I didn’t really know what to do. It is a pretty bad flop for being so cheap but my hand was not really formed into a calling hand based on the check-call rule. I didn’t want to raise it either so I called.
The turn was a blank, the 2s. Then something very interesting happened. The big blind watchdog bet the minimum bet.expecting everyone to fold. I thought it was a kind of trick but I supposed it out. He was actually semi-bluffing the pot here by shoving in more chips than it would cost him if everyone folds on this hand.
Then he started to tell me what I really thought. Apparently the pot was getting bigger and bigger. At this point I thought “oh well, another hand lost” and I really didn’t want to go out now. I called. He had A7 suited. That’s it, I was out. joking to myself I never even bought into a poker tournament with that hand.
That hand though represents the turning point for me. I new what I had to do and it wasn’t folding. At least not the free poker tournaments. After that I started to learn and to not be like pleasers. If you’re a once in a while fold, but dont have to call with a hand like T7 that means your making a cheap mistake. If you though you’re making a costly mistake, well its time to fold.
Time for some real pudding. I’ve been playing online poker about six months now and I am way more lenient now about making such simple calls when I hit my trips or best two pair type hands. Now I simply fold and that usually draws some action. Its better to let the others learn the way I have.
Not everyone likes my way of playing, but I’ve made a few friends along the way. I’ve made a few of these friends in poker rooms who are keen to pass the hat on to others as well. Its not that everyone wants to be like us, in fact quite the opposite. Each poker room has its own crowd and individual wants and needs. But we’re sure to get welcomed any time we show up.
Tournaments obviously have their own certain rules, but at the end of the day, its all gin to gin. The only problem with tournaments is you could quite easily be missing out on making money for a while and your opponent could be ahead. But at least you can compare notes on your opponents whilst you play. In a word, its very educational.
If you take offense at being called an all in hand, then you really need to assess your strengths and weaknesses. In my time as a poker player I have probably made more all ins than I can count, but I also have probably made more wild calls than I can count, but I also have probably made more defensive calls than I have countenrated. I guess its all in the learning, and taking advice. If you think you need help with your game then you probably do. You just have to ask.
My domino88 advice is to learn to easy to play first, before you hit the rooms. Learn the feel of the poker room and play within your levels of knowledge before you risk your chips. After a while you can play without thinking before you hit the balls.