Playing poker is an emotional roller coaster. One minute you’re riding the wave and feel on top of the world because you’ve just won yourself a huge pot. However, before you know what’s happened, you could be down in the mud after an opponent draws out. Losing a big pot leaves you with a sinking feeling, that might be enough to put you off the game and give up poker altogether.

Fortunately, there are some warning signs you can look out for and quickly choose to fold. In many of the following situations, you’ll receive the correct pot odds, forcing you to call most of the time anyway. In almost all of the scenarios, you’ll be pot-committed or there’s a good chance your opponent is bluffing, which will lead you to call anyway.

A Third Suited Card Lands on the River

This is a very common situation to find yourself in. When you’ve got a made hand and your opponent keeps calling your bets, there’s a good chance that they’re chasing something. If there were two suited cards on the flop and a third hit on the river, you can safely assume your opponent just drew out on you.

Even if you make larger bets in an attempt to put your opponents off calling, they’ll often chase flush draws. Players are showing their inexperience if they can’t fold flush draws when they’re not receiving the correct pot odds to call.

The issue is that they’re b=not always chasing a flush draw. For example, they might have been chasing with a second pair and hit two pair or something else. Even an average kind of player will be able to spot the possible flush. Therefore, if they think you were drawing to the flush, they could be bluffing.

The size of the pot goes a long way to helping you figure out whether you can call, raise, or gold. In addition, you’ve got to guess how many times your opponent is bluffing or betting with a hand that’s weaker than yours. If your bets have been big enough to make the pot odds wrong for your opponent to chase a flush, the odds are that the pot is big enough for you to almost never fold. 

The Most Passive Player Raises You

Understanding which of your opponents are aggressive and which ones are passive can help you win more. For example, if a super-passive player check raises you, it’s a good indicator that they’ve got a strong hand. You’ve got to think about the range of hands they might be holding and what has made them decide to check raise. This isn’t always an easy situation to predict.

For example, imagine the passive player limps from middle position, you raise from late position, and everyone folds except the passive player who decides to call. You’ve got a pair of kings and the flop is the 7 of hearts, 5 of clubs, and 2 of spades. Your opponent checks, you bet, and they call. The turn is an 8 of diamonds, they check, you bet, and then they raise. Consider what hand they might hold. The only real possibilities are pocket 8s or pocket 6s. Over pairs such as 9s, 10s, or jacks are also a possibility, but a very unlikely one.  

The Board Just Paired

If you hold a top pair or a flush and the board pairs, you need to be thinking about how your opponents play changes. Whenever the board is paired, there’s a possibility of a full house or three of a kind. If you’ve got a flush, a full house could be costly for you.

Getting away from a flush in Texas Hold’Em is difficult, unless the stakes are extremely high, particularly when your opponent hits a full house. If you’re playing Omaha and the board pairs, you might as well throw your flush away. The odds of it standing up are small, especially if the pot is big.

When you’re playing Texas Hold’em and you’ve got a top pair or top two pair, a paired board can ruin your hand. It’s not uncommon for weak players to chase with even a small pair and sometimes it turns into three of a kind.

An Ace Landed on the Flop

If you’ve put in a pre-flop raise with a pair of queens or kings and get called, you really don’t want an Ace for the flop. You should give up on your hand unless you hit a set. If you’ve only got one opponent, there’s a chance they’re not holding an ace, but any more players and you’re not likely to win the hand.

A Card That Fills an Outside Straight Just Hit and the Earlier Caller Bets

This is one of the trickier situations to find yourself in. Straight draws aren’t as popular as flush draws and some players fail to see them that often. Unless your bet is going to make the pot odds really bad, it’s best to call in this situation, as long as you’ve got a strong hand.

Six Players Called Your Pre-Flop Raise When You Have Pocket Aces

A clear favourite in Texas Hold’em is pocket aces. The only problem is that the more opponents who see the flop, the less likely your aces are going to win without improvement. Against six opponents, even when you’re holding pocket aces, you’re still the underdog.

You Pushed with QQ and The Tightest Player Calls

If you’ve decided to go all in and your opponent calls with pocket aces or kings, there’s not a lot you can do. This is one time when you need to cross your fingers and pray to the poker cards for a set.

Conclusion

The underlying theme is that you must learn as much as you can about your opponents. The situations above only underline this fact and how profitable it can be. Not knowing your opponents playing tendencies will be very unprofitable for you.

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