Hand examples are very instructive when it comes to learning to play better online poker and here we will examine a play made by a winning online poker player. The game is $1-$2 no limit Texas hold’em. An early position player limps for $2 with a stack of $194 and another middle position player also limps. Our hero has the Qs-Js on the button with a $200 stack.
They raise to 6bb for the following reasons. Firstly there has been no sign of strength so far in the hand. Secondly they have absolute position on the button and a raise helps to wrestle the initiative. Thirdly we are beginning the process of building a very big pot by raising with a hand that can make the nuts. Although the suited nature of our hand means that we could be in a flush versus bigger flush situation, we do have the capability to make the nut straight. If there is a re-raise from the blinds or the original limpers then we can fold.
If we can get the hand heads up with position then this is a great result in online poker and the best result is to have your opponents commit as much money as possible in the hand before they fold.
Both blinds fold to our raise but the original limper calls making a pot of 14.5bb. The flop comes 9d-4s-2c and our opponent checks. Here have a fair level of pot equity with our overcard outs and the backdoor straight and flush draws. If we face a player with A-K then we have around 29% equity here with our holding.
Also if they check-call with a hand like A-K and then check-fold the turn then we need not fear us not having the best hand. So we can safely c-bet this flop and we do so for 9bb and our opponent does indeed call. The turn card is the Ah and our opponent checks again.
This is a classic situation in online poker where our fold equity increases because of the arrival of the ace. Our pot equity has not increased and had the turn brought another low card then our fold equity would have been much lower. So the arrival of an ace scare card means that we can fire another barrel here and maintain the bluff.
The key to winning in online poker is to decide if we need to bluff or value bet and what our chances are of being successful doing either. In this situation then we have a very weak hand on the flop but our opponent will also know that we are likely to have a weak holding as well in online poker most of the time on the flop.