Grand Island, Nebraska, 1965. I’m playing a little too conservatively, but winning nonetheless. I haven’t mastered most of the tricky tactics, tells, and สล็อต 888 เว็บตรง warfare yet, so I resort to just playing tighter than my foes. That, of course, is what you should do during your training stages – and even beyond. Tight turns out to be the simplest way to beat weak opponents who play far too many pots. Of course, you can liberalize and win still more money, but when you’re just guessing about which bet or raise is right in what situations, it’s often better to just stay out of trouble and play super tight. Yes, although it will be hard for many to believe, I wasn’t always an “action player,” profiting from small edges and mixing up my play. I went through periods as a rock. But please don’t tell anyone.
Anyway, I’m just out of high school and have been appointed sports editor for the Daily Independent, a newspaper that serves the city of about 25,000 and its surrounding community. Being sports editor carries special privileges, one of which is that I can be a special guest at the local VFW and play in their quasi-legal poker games.
What does “no-limit” mean?
There are two poker tables, both full of players. I’m in the $1 limit game – stakes that inflation has made less meaningful today. Nearby is a no-limit game that is perceived as a step up in stature. I’m not sure why. While the term “no-limit” carries its own prestige, the actual money changing hands was probably about the same as in my game.
“No-limit” isn’t a measure of a poker game’s size, as many casual poker players seem to think. Instead, it’s a style of wagering. In no-limit games, the size of the average wagers is dictated by the size of the antes or blinds. That money, placed in the pot before the players make decisions about further wagering, represents the target. The bigger the target is, the bigger the rewards you’re pursuing and the more often you should bet.
But, I’m sidetracked again. What we just shared may be important, but it’s not the point. There was a not-so-big no-limit game going on at the table next to me. It involved some local businessmen, mostly. Now, the atmosphere was normally peaceful. Lots of friendly chiding, laughter, good cheer. Then what? Well, then the peace was suddenly shattered with the bellow of an irate player from the next table.
“You might as well take out a gun and just steal fifty bucks from me!” And the angry man – a big, burly guy about 40 – reached into the pot, which wasn’t his to handle, and began hurling handfuls of chips against the VFW walls. They rattled and rolled everywhere.
“Hey, calm down, what are you doing?” the rightful winner of the pot protested, trying to scoop in as many chips as possible, partially salvaging the pot.
This seemed to enrage the loser even more. “Damn sandbagger!” he ranted and threw two more handfuls of chips at once, awkwardly, his wrists colliding in mid-air, making him wince in agony. “Rotten sandbagger! Just take out a gun and rob me,” he said, repeating his original thoughts.
It was an incident that I’ll never forget. The game had been ace-to-five lowball. I learned later that the winner had drawn two cards and made a wheel, which is the best hand you can possibly have in this form of poker – five, four, three, deuce, ace. The loser had stood pat on his six-high – a super hand that figures to win most of the time. The winner had looked at his cards, realized that he’d made the wheel and couldn’t be beat, pondered for dramatic purposes, and checked.
No doubt the loser felt even more confident after that check. He was solidly in the driver’s seat now and he bet $10. The opponent quickly raised $40. The loser called and the resulting showdown caused the blow-up.
Okay, fine. Now I’ve got a few things to say.
First, if you’re one of those casino en ligneplayers who think that sandbagging is unsportsmanlike, then you don’t fully understand the nature of poker. You see, sandbagging – which is the term given to checking a hand into an opponent and then raising after that opponent bets – is a perfectly appropriate tactic in poker. Now, it’s true that in some home games (and in some forms of lowball), checking-and-then-raising is not allowed. Fine. Just fine. That rule takes an element of skill out of the game, but fine. Wherever sandbagging is allowed by rule – and that’s almost everywhere in serious poker circles – it’s proper to do it.
Here’s the truth. If you never sandbag, you’re giving astute opponents an opportunity to bet medium-strong hands with impunity after you check. Think about it. You might have a fairly good hand – one strong enough that you’ll have to call with it, barring a tell to the contrary. Okay, let’s suppose it’s strong enough to call with, because the pot is laying you large enough odds that you could lose the same call many times for each time you won and still turn a profit.