ALL ABOUT POKER:
LOSING TEXAS HOLD’EM ASAP
by Bill Burton
Bill Burton is an advantage blackjack player and skilled poker player. He is the author of the best-selling book, "Get the Edge at Texas Low Limit Hold’em", available at 10% discount from theBJI online store, and the guide at www.casinogambling.about.com.
ASAP is an acronym which stands for As Soon As Possible. It is commonly used when somebody wants something fast. Forget the consequences, just get it done right now. ASAP is also an acronym that I use to describe a certain type of Texas Holdem player because there is a relationship between the two acronyms.
Since the first day I started playing Texas Hold’em, I have kept a poker log book. I keep track of where I play, and the limits of the game, along with the hours I play, and how much I win or lose in each session. I also make notes in my log book about the players at my table in case I’m in a game with them in the future.
Some of these notes include any tells I may have picked up on them. I also note what type of player they are; aggressive, passive, loose or tight. Most importantly, I make a note the types of starting hands they play. If I play online I can make the notes about the player right at the table.
One of the biggest mistakes I see these players make is in the starting hands they chose to play. Many of them will play any two suited cards from any position in the hopes of making a flush.
I used to write out Any Suited from Any Position in my log but I was doing it so often I started to abbreviate it by using the letters ASAP. After writing this a few times I had a revelation about the relationship of the two acronyms.
ASAP means fast and when some of these novices play ASAP (any suited from any position), they will occasionally get lucky and make money fast when they successfully make a flush draw. However, the majority of them go broke equally as fast when they continue playing ASAP. In a tournament I have seen many of these players get busted out in the later rounds only to see them bemoan their "lousy cards" or bad beats in the chat box before they log off to wait for the next tournament.
The truth is that in Texas Hold’em you can not play any two suited cards from any position if you expect to be a consistent winner. Playing a hand such as 2-6 under the gun is a lousy choice whether it is suited or not. However many players WILL play a hand like this if the two cards are suited.
Making a Flush
Part of playing Winning Poker is knowing about odds and probability. Let’s take a look at a few cold facts concerning the realities of a flush draw.
Getting two suited cards as a starting hand is fairly common. The probability of being dealt two suited cards is 23.58%, which means those who like to play ASAP will have plenty of chances to enter the pot. However, completing your flush is a lot more difficult.
The probability of flopping three of your suit giving you a complete flush is 0.842%. The odds against you are 118:1.
The probability of flopping two of your suit for a four flush is 10.944 %.
The odds are 8:1 against you.
The probability of only flopping one of your suit is 41.6%.
The odds are 1.4:1.
If you have a four flush after the flop the probability of making a flush on the turn or river is 34.97%. The odds against you are 1.86:1.
If you have a four flush after the turn, the probability of making a flush on the river is 19.6%.
The odds against you are 4.1:1
Turn and River Runner- Runner
If you flop only one of your suit, the probability of hitting your suit on the turn and the river is 1.7%. The odds against you are 55:1.
Finally for all the possibilities if you start suited and stay to see all seven cards (your two and the five board cards) the probability that you will make a flush is 5.77%.
The odds against you are 16.3:1.
Simply put, for every time you play two suited cards you will only make your flush about once in 16 tries. Plus, if you play low suited cards, you still have to worry about a bigger flush beating you.
The reason you play your suited cards in late position when there is a lot of players in the pot is that you will then be getting the correct pot odds to justify attempting a flush draw. The money you win when you make your flush will offset the money you lose when you don’t make it. In a live game you can reach in you pocket if you go broke and buy more chips. In the long run you will make money with flush draws as long as you get proper odds to try.
In a tournament you have to be cautious because the chips you lose on a busted draw play can’t be replaced. When you go broke, you go home. Even when you are getting correct odds you can do serious damage to your tournament chip stack if you don’t make it. Playing every time you have suited cards without regards to pot odds is suicide.
Now you see why playing Any Suited from Any Position can make you lose your chips quickly and why ASAP is a good acronym for this type of player.
Until next time, remember:
"Luck comes and goes...Knowledge Stays Forever!"
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