7 Lessons in Successful Self-Employment from “Weeds”

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If your one-pair is the best hand at the table, then it’s the nuts! If your full house is bested by a four-of-a-kind, then it’s a trash hand. Poker is a vicious winner-take-all game. In a poker pot, the first place hand wins all the money and most of that money comes straight from the guy who finishes second. If you have the worst hand at the table, consider yourself blessed. After all, the winner is not taking his bounty from your wallet. Most of the money comes from the guy who finished second Therefore, you must, must avoid getting trapped with the second best hand at no-limit hold’em. In fixed-limit games, people with the second best hand do not lose too much money with any given hand. However, in Texas no-limit, a second best hand can mean your entire stack. Do not get too attached to holdings when it is fairly clear you are being beat.

If you’re dealt: 10 Spades & Jack Diamonds with a flop of: Ace Hearts, Ace Diamonds and King Hearts, then your hand cannot withstand much pressure. Conversely, you should goad people to form second best hands when you hold a whopper.

For example, if you hold with a Jack Spades and Jack Diamonds and a flop of Jack Hearts, 6 Hearts and 6 Spades, you should slow play your hand – it’s very likely that a card will come on the board that will give your opponents a decent hand or some sort of draw. When the turn cards come on the board, they will give your opponents a decent hand or some sort of draw. When the turn cards come, fire away!

For example, if you hold with a Jack Spades and Jack Diamonds and a flop of Jack Hearts, 6 Hearts and 6 Spades, you should slow play your hand – it’s very likely that a card will come on the board that will give your opponents a decent hand or some sort of draw. When the turn cards come on the board, they will give your opponents a decent hand or some sort of draw. When the turn cards come, fire away!

STACKING THE UP Believe it or not, how much you buy in for greatly affects the tactics at your disposal. In particular, stack sizes influence preflop strategy. Big pairs like pocket aces and pocket jacks are always valuable, but the speed that you play these hands depends on your stack size. If you are short stacked, you should play these hands aggressively both preflop and at the flop (provided a card higher than your large pocket pair is not on the board). You want to go guns blazing in an effort to build the pot and increase your chips. However, if you are large stacked. you need to be more careful because other players may flop a very strong hand against you. If you’re already sat behind a huge stack of chips, you have more to lose than a player who’s doing badly.

For example, suppose you hold A Spades A Diamonds the flop is 8 Diamonds 8 Hearts 9 Hearts. There are two other opponents in the hand and the pot is $10. Suppose your stack is $10. What do you do? Simple. All in! Someone probably does not have the eight or pocket nines, so you probably have the best hand. Someone with A9 or a pocket pair will likely call your bet as well. However, suppose you have $150. Now it’s a bit more tricky! If you bet all-in, the only person that will probably call you has you beat. If you make pot-sized bets at the pot, you may be called by all sorts of hands, such as strong draws, lower pocket pairs, or people with three of a kinds / full houses. So you must be more careful in this situation and avoid paying off someone that has you beat. Other preflop holdings also differ greatly in value with stack size. Small pocket pairs and suited connectors do well with large stack sizes and are certainly worth a limp to see the board. At the flop, these types of hands tend to become very strong or total trash, so you generally know where you stand if the pot starts to get big.

If a small pocket pair hits a set at the flop, it becomes a powerhouse. It can often win huge sums of money off of players with top pair. A suited connector may hit a draw at the flop. If you make your flush or straight on the turn, you can make large bets to get value out of those hands. Hands that are just big un-paired cards, such as AK, are worth a lot more to smaller stacks than bigger stacks. These hands often win as top pair, but they are very vulnerable to paying off flushes, trips, etc. You want to get your money in early with these hands and win smaller pots. If you are a small stack, I would recommend raising with big, unpaired cards and playing them very aggressively at the flop if you hit top pair However, play them more carefully when you have a lot of chips in front of you, so you do not end up paying off someone who hits a set or draws a flush.

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MAINTAINING THE MYSTERY You cannot win at no-limit hold’em if everyone knows what cards you have. If you give away your hands through physical tells or betting patterns, you will end up leaving your chips at the table. Mixing up your playing style is essential at no-limit, especially if you often play with the same people. You can change how aggressive you are and vary how often you bluff/semi-bluff or raise preflop. However, one key way to staying mysterious is focusing how on how much you bet. If you always make small bluff bets and large value bets, then your connectors do well with large stack sizes and are certainly worth a limp to see the board. At the flop, these types of hands tend to become very strong or total trash, so you generally know where you stand if the pot starts to get big. If a small pocket pair hits a set at the flop, it becomes a powerhouse. It can often win huge sums of money off of players with top pair.

A suited connector may hit a draw at the flop. If you make your flush or straight on the turn, you can make large bets to get value out of those hands. Hands that are just big un-paired cards, such as AK, are worth a lot more to smaller stacks than bigger stacks. These hands often win as top pair, but they are very vulnerable to paying off flushes, trips, etc. You want to get your money in early with these hands and win smaller pots. If you are a small stack, I would recommend raising with big, unpaired cards and playing them very aggressively at the flop if you hit top pair However, play them more carefully when you have a lot of chips in front of you, so you do not end up paying off someone who hits a set or draws a flush.

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