Poker Pitfalls: Beware of the Trap

These trap cards are considered often any two big cards that players go along with or an Ace along with another card. Players that play these hands from the first stages and almost never fold end up being the ones that suffer greatly as a result.

Players that are playing only one kind of strategy end up all but useless at the poker table as they cannot play in position or deuce to five switch. They go along with cards that come along with other cards or play type hands that are not part of their strategy and only hope for the best.

This is the overall strategy of the trap hands: They trap players and hands that are actually quite strong if no errors have been made, and they suffer greatly when the traps are set. Watch out for the trap Ace, it is actually a very good hand that should be played strongly whenever possible in any situation.

The best way to play these hands and what to do to make the best hands you can is to watch the players that are in earlier positions going into the flop stage. These players generally do not play strong hands in early positions, and especially if they have been playing tight, then you can elegant their range of hands to narrow down even further the range of hands they will play. If you are therefore selecting a starting hand to play using A-2-x-x, you want to be sure that the players in later positions, especially the blinds, will also put in a big raise or at least a re-raise before the flop stage.

A good example of this would be in tournament poker.

  1. Let’s say you are in the big blind for a 94 player no limit hold’em event. Players begin with chip stacks of 500 or less. The average chip stack is 1500 in this instance. There are 3 players before you in the small blind who have approximately 1500 chips on average. The players in the small blind are likely to be playing tight during the first couple of rounds playing from the small blind, then with blinds at 10/20 you decide to play aggressive and with players at this level or higher in the tournament, you can now steal blinds with reasonable hands and build your stack for later on.
  2. Another example of a trap is during the bubble or near-by stage in a tournament. Let’s say you’re in the middle stages of a 90 player Sit n Go. The blinds are 100-200. You’re in the small blind with a stack of roughly 1500 when the players in the blinds are raising with reasonable hands. You have a stack of roughly 2000. It’s a tight game but you’re not without a decent hand or two and you have been counting blinds. You’re in the can in a big way from the blinds and your stack is about the same with the blinds about to go up. It would be obvious to wait for a better hand than yours to attempt to steal the blinds and you can’t raise out with a reasonable hand as the blinds are looking at anywhere from 50-100 chips. What will you do?

Playing traps requires a lot of skill in reading your opponents.

How did they react in a certain hand? All of this comes with experience, practiced hand clapping, and hand reading. In the early stages of a tournament or a sit and go tournament, you can’t venture into these with high risk combos unless you have been playing the event for quite some time.

In the latter stages, you can open up with some risk as long as you have a playable hand. Think about it like position. If you’re in late position and have 1500 chips and the blinds are 100-50, if you make a 1500 chip bet, you’re exposing the majority of your starting stack to sure winnings. If the only hands that really scare you are pocket 6’s and AK, for instance, and you’re in late position, there’s still not a lot of hands that beat you. You want to catch the short stacks that have 500 or less as they will likely call a decent raise when you try to steal.

If you’re in the later stages and you really want to tighten up your game, consider a bold selection of hands. Here are some combinations that should not be played:

• Probably the easiest hand to play in the later stages of a tournament when the blinds are high. This hand should be played like raising pre-flop in any position.

• Probably the easiest hand to play against players that have a medium to high stack.

• Play hands that are good but lower than your average stack.