Don’t Get Married to Your Hand

People that are familiar with playing poker at a casino or watching the game on the television set are very familiar with an expression that talks about bells being signaled in a player's head. This expression is usually remarked after a player flops a set. We all know what flops a set: two pair, straight or the nuts. As a poker player, you've probably watched an opponent flop on a good hand and heard the proverbial wedding bells go off. As a player, you may be willing to be married to your hand, but you need to figure out how to trap the other players at the poker table. You may be wondering how to play your game. Should you play a slow game or go for it?

Before you make a move, you need to study your opponents as well as your own game and figure out what makes your "nuts" THE "nuts" and what makes them not so hot. For example, say you have a group of tens in your hand. The board shows 10h, 9h, and 2c. With this pocket of tens in your hand, your nuts are in fact, THE nuts and you are more than likely loving your hand at the moment. But before you get too carried away you must realize that there is a possible flush out there on the board or a straight. This offers you very little opportunities to make your hand any better. You'd need a 10, 9, 2 to make your hand that must stronger and someone else would need to have a hand of two heats. If this situation occurs, get the other players to put into the pot in order to see the following card. If you give them a free card you'll only find trouble. By getting your opponents to pay before seeing the next card, you have just increased your chances of succeeding and put the other players at risk for folding. However you decide to play your hand, don't get married to your hand or else you may hear your own wedding bells.

Here is an example. When I first started playing poker is was at an NL tournament. I was halfway through my game and was playing with an average hand. I drew some Qs and 10s so I decided to call. As soon as I called, the flop happened; Js, 8s, 9h. I flopped so severely. I mean, I could hear the wedding bells chiming. I was playing with three other people. I was first in position. I decided to dig a bigger hole by checking. The second player checked his hand and then the third player made a bet of 150. As all of this happened, I hear my wedding bells getting louder. I decided there was nothing left to do so I called. One of the other betters folded. The fourth player had another spade and that made my hand get better. So I checked again. And someone bet another 150. And once again, I called. Another spade surfaced which didn't help me so again, I checked. The game moved on and at last, with a queen, I flushed. All because of my marriage to my hand.

So a word of advice, don't marry your hand.