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Strategy in Texas Hold em Poker: Winning the Home Game

Losing players also overplay their good hands in situations where it should be obvious that lots of other hands beat them. If there are more than four players in a hand and the board ends up having a lot of possibilities, it’s likely somebody made their hand. The “family pot” frequency increases the luck factor and works against a skilled player if that skilled player is not raising his or her good hands in order to maintain the collegial atmosphere.

In a family pot, it is often more valuable to play bad cards than it is good ones. If you have good cards and find yourself in a situation where perhaps you’re in the small blind or big blind and everyone at the table has put in the minimum bet, you absolutely must raise to drive players out of the hand otherwise you are dramatically reducing your odds of winning.

The “family pot” is a much less common situation in a tournament. Usually, the best player at one of these games is the one who folds the most. You can play that hand knowing that if the river comes and you believe your opponents have missed their draws, you will win a big pot. This means that in order to win consistently, a good player must be constantly aware that the odds of somebody at the table hitting something surprising are dramatically increased. Occasionally, players will see a flop without a raise, but rarely will every player place the minimum bet.

Anybody who’s played in the typical home game has heard of some version of the “family pot”, which is what happens when everybody puts in the blind amount before the flop and nobody raises, meaning that every player is playing to see the flop.

At most home games, the blinds are usually low to encourage action and maintain a social atmosphere. Thus, unless you are drawing to the best possible hand (the “nuts”) or very near it, you should probably fold. The fact that a family pot occurs at all is symbolic of the fact that most hands in the home game generally include more players than normal (unless you have a very competitive home game). If you are a good player and you ever find yourself assuming that other players at a home game shouldn’t play a certain pair of cards because they should know better, then you are not playing a winning strategy.. Too many players overplay their mediocre and decent hands and get crushed. I am writing about it as a lead to illustrate a very basic difference between home poker and tournament poker. The players who lose are the ones who can’t help but call bets because they just have to see somebody’s cards. They want to see cards for cheap.

While I’m writing about the “family pot” literally, I’m also doing so to illustrate a basic difference between regular play and home game play. The reverse of this, of course, is when you believe you are the best hand after the flop on a board with a lot of draws. The thing that destroys most players in this type of home game is when they hit top pair with either a mediocre or good kicker and forget that the odds of somebody making a lousy two pair are much better than usual. In tournament poker, any player with a reasonably good hand will raise before the flop. However, what a skilled player will also recognize is that the “family pot” style of play often means that an emphasis is placed on hands with hidden strength that can be played cheaply and that knowing when to fold in a pot with a lot of players can be as valuable as playing good cards well.

In this context, the expectations of the good player should be something similar to the expectations in Omaha. These are often great opportunities because players with draws at a home game rarely raise the pot enough to drive out somebody with top pair, top kicker

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