There’s nothing better than holding back a winning hand in a game of high-stakes poker. Typically, the held hand will appear weak, rarely a good value bet, and rarely a profitable play. Sometimes, the held hand is such a valuable hand that you’ll see it confidently raised or even re-raised. Nevertheless, the bothered truth remains, you have a hand that could win, and probably will win, but you’re holding back because you’re scared of losing. You should be.
Should you announce your hand pre-flop, that’s when you should let your opponent know exactly what you have. (This is key.) Your strategy is going to be, “I have this hand”. Do not say anything else at this time.
Your declare hand pre-flop should identify 3 things. First, whether you think your opponent has a better hand or not. Second, what kind of hand they are. Third, how big the bet is. Action prior to the flop begins with the Small Blind. If the Small Blind is acting first, they must match the Big Blind bet, or fold. If the Small Blind checking, they must match the Big Blind raise.
If your opponent doesn’t have a better hand, they fold. latch onto any edges latching to your hand. particularly, look for Small Blind check Beats. These are when the Small Blind will call your raise, but will fold on the flop. This is a brilliant opportunity, but especially on the post flop, it’s critical to shut out any information in play that suggests the hand was improved.
Limping on the turn is similarly important, albeit in somewhat of a different way. I suggest limping from the button or the cutoff if your hand is not very strong, not because you want your opponent to see a flop cheaply, but because you want to tie the pot. On the flop, be sure to check to your opponent if they check the flop. (The majority of players will always check.) If your opponent bets out and you call, this is when you need to continuation bet. Your opponent may have improved their hand.
Your read on an opponent’s starting hand ranges. Keep in mind your opponent will almost always play higher cards at an aggressive price. Therefore, when you have a strong hand, it’s a good idea to bet in relation to the pot size. Make your opponent think you’re weak, and never commit more than 20% of the blinds or so. You shouldn’t fold aces or kings without a real hand.
There’s a ton of information in previous post and the toolbox is pretty straightforward. However, the last thing you want to do with a post-flop play is to be predictable. If you keep your opponents guessing, you can get out of hand.
Wager with three streets to your hand.
- Bet strong.
- Bet aggressively.
- Bet controlled.
The rest of the time, you can either be aggressive (atches to straights and flushes) or you can be conservative (limits on bets). However, don’t be aggressive or overly-aggressive most of the time. First, you want to be smart. And, second, you don’t want to blind yourself down to a weaker hand than you’ll be willing to risk.
Learn to fail with pleasure. Learn to only play hands that have equity. Take the time to learn each type of hand and trap your opponent into thinking you have the garbage hand when, in fact, you have the winner. It’s really as simple as that. However, you also have to learn how to not let it intimidate you, especially when you’re in a pot or one is paid off.
There’s also a chance your opponent will have a straight, flush, or better. And, if they do, call them. It’s worth while trying to take the pot when you have the monster on the flop.
All in all, it’s going to take you a little while to master this. It will likely still take you a little while to learn to use it effectively and so, while you practice, play, and learn. But, the more you practice, the more proficient you’ll be at baccarat. And the more you read, the more you have learned. Baccarat is a game of opportunity, skill, and math. You’re dealing with a lot of numbers. But, don’t be afraid to look them up. It will help you make better decisions about whether or not you should continue to play.