Top secret poker moves revealed (part 2)

Need to add a little extra something to your tournament game? PokerPlayer reveals the top secret poker moves the pros don’t want you to pull

 
Often you can follow the strategy advice from books and websites yet still find it hard to regularly make deep runs. Are you just running bad or could it be you’re missing out on something? Perhaps the straightforward poker lessons are failing you, leaving you scratching your head as others twist and turn when it really matters? 
 
Don’t get us wrong, standard strategy works best for most situations but knowing when to adapt, when to get tricky or simply overplay your hand can make the difference between another min-cash and a final table.
 
In poker it’s almost impossible to talk about absolutes, beyond Phil Hellmuth always believing his own hype, so why should strategy be any different? Let’s take a look at three ways you can veer from standard play to really turn the tournament tide in the second part of our Secret Move Strategy Series.

4. The min-bet 

You’ve all seen it online. There’s 850 in the pot and some joker bets 100 into it. What is the point? Well, because it sometimes seems to work. We’re certainly not advocating you take this on as a frequent tournament policy but if you’re wanting to see the turn in a hand where you’re lacking much equity, a gutshot perhaps, then a min-bet can sometimes be enough to throw your opponent off from making a continuation bet allowing you to see if you hit your hand for (pretty much) free. It will very infrequently make someone that would have checked back suddenly raise, certainly at the lower levels anyway.
 
How to do it
Use this tricky one sparingly. When you’re holding a hand with only a few out, try stabbing at the pot with a minimum bet. If you get raised then you can simply release your hand.
 
Don’t be a donk
Don’t let yourself min-bet then make a bad call when your opponent raises it up to three-quarters pot. It looks like a fishy move, and it is a fishy move, but very occasionally it can work.

5. The call to induce the squeeze 

You’ll have read in the hallowed pages of PokerPlayer many times before that slow-playing a big hand because you’re worried about scaring off opponents is a case of fishy thinking, and rightfully so. However, occasionally disguising your hand can get you paid off. If you have aggressive players to your left you can use their aggression against them by inducing a squeeze by flat-calling with a premium hand.
 
The same can work if you’re shorter but with a playable stack of around 30 big blinds. An open to 400, a min-raise at the 100/200 level, would leave the pot with 7.5 big blinds after you’d called and a squeeze might make that closer to 14 big blinds which would allow you to come back over the top with what would look like a small pair. 
 
How to do it
You hold a hand, such as A-Qs, and there has already been a call of the initial raise. A decent player with a stack of around 20BBs will see all those dead chips in the middle, and think they’ve only got the open raiser to get past to scoop the pot. Not so, you and your monster lay in wait.
 
Don’t be a fish
Don’t get locked into your hand postflop if no-one bites.

6. Raise-folding with equity

At this year’s WSOP Neil ‘Badbeat’ Channing came close to winning his first bracelet but couldn’t quite cross that final hurdle despite having the opposite number, Henry Lu, down to a five-toone chip deficit twice. Channing ground Lu down but the big showdowns just didn’t go his way. A move Channing adopted a few times was a three-bet preflop which didn’t set his opponent in but didn’t look like he’d pass to a shove.
 
Rather than setting his opponent all-in he polarised his opponent’s hand and kept the pressure on him. If you think your opponent isn’t going to four-bet shove light and you think there’s little difference between their four-bet shoving and their three-bet calling ranges then it can make sense to keep it small ball when heads-up.
 
How to do it
This works best heads-up. Don’t be afraid to three-bet bluff and fold if your opponent shoves. They might think you have to call based on ‘pot odds’, but you don’t. 
 
Don’t be a fish
Look at the stack sizes before you start thinking about raise-folding. If you’re getting two-to-one DO NOT FOLD.
 

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