Regardless of if you’re a beginning free online poker player or a WSOP top table pro, the all-in is the biggest move in poker.
As a rule of thumb, usually one moves all-in only with hands that can stand a chance against, say, A-K or A-Q (the most common all-in hands).
It is because these are the hands also most prepared to call. Which hands, then, are we ready to put our tournament life on? Pocket pairs spring to mind. So does A-K (or A-Q or even K-Q suited or K-J suited if you are running out of chips)
But someone does it differently. I’d like to add that here; player B is usually an impatient, rowdy player who is familiar to us TV poker fans.
A has Ad-Kd raises 75k
A’s raise is simply standard for A-K suited, though it is slightly stronger (the average preflop raise is about 2.5x the big blind, but this raise is a little greater than thrice). But look at B’s move, which may be less standard:
B has 10c-5c moves all-in 544k
What about that: a 10-5? With about 22 big blinds left, which is relatively a short-stack (but not so short), B moves all-in. But with a 10-5? B can wait for slightly better hands than this.
Now let us try to justify the 10-5 in this situation. If B did it with a small pair, he is a slight favourite (about 55-45). If with A-x (with x smaller than a King), he is a significant underdog (about 75-25).
With any 2 cards apart from A or K he much less the underdog (approx. 66-34).
So the win-rate of 10-5 against A-K (here B deciding that A’s hand was A-K or similar was quite a gamble; if he’s up against A-A he is a big underdog, about 85-15) is just the average of the win rate of a pocket pair against A-K and the win rate of A-x against A-K, and therefore not so bad.
Moreover, with 10c-5c B has two live cards, in contrast to A-x, where x is the only live card. Moreover, B may dislike having 22 big blinds dwindle to, say, 15 or 14 later, so he decides to put his heart and soul into this hand. Who is this player, anyway? “I’ve got a 10-5, girls and boys.” Yes it’s true, the garrulous Mike Matusow! “The Mouth!”
A calls 469k (Pot 1.124m)
Now let us observe how “The Mouth” will fare against all odds.
“That’s a Flop!” A Five fell, pairing Matusow!
Moving all-in can prove to be the most dangerous moments in poker. Even in free online poker it can also be the most thrilling, anyway. The all-in recharged Matusow’s stack to 45 big blinds.
This sort of unusual play can be exploited forever in any case. When Matusow believed that A has A-K or similar, he is gambling.
While most players will work a strategy where they will call with pocket pairs I doubt in this case that A will call with anything less than 10-10.
Against A-A or K-K or a higher pair, 10-5 will win only about 15% of the time, and with 10-10 to 5-5, about 25%, and with 4-4 to 2-2, nearly a coin flip.
Summing up the All-In
Take time to read and comprehend the principles behind this article. Attempt comprehend the ideas behind what’s going on with this example and look into strategies to put these lessons into your individual play.
It takes time to learn how to play poker at a level where you make money consistently.
But if (and when) you learn how to play poker well then you’ll make some good money. Why?
Simply that the vast majority of players you come up against never get to what can be termed a good level.
So you, if you can get to a good standard will do very well very easily. You don’t have to be a TV pro to make good money in poker!
The fact that most players are at such a low skill means that whenever you hunt/play them on free online poker games or low stakes sites you’ll be able to clean up.
To learn to play poker for free explore the NoPayPOKER blog, the free poker lessons here cover all levels from beginner to advanced, plus, the site itself as a free online poker site is the perfect place to practice what you learn.