Now with a few days under my belt on PokerStars, I have been able to stack up more and more wins lately. I did finish 1st on a NAPT Rookie Sit and Go and made a 7th place finish in the Online Poker Show freeroll that really had my heart racing all the way through. I couldn't believe how close I got to the final prize, but I'ill surely take that Step 1 ticket and try to make the best of it.
Coming towards the end of the tournament, I did turn JJ into a set of Jacks on the river versus a serious A/10 call even with the flop pairing Aces for my opponent. This immediately sparked a conversation with one of the other players on the table (Omega1405 and Shout-Out to you buddy)
. Since he has played on PokerStars for a while now, he said that about roughly 8% of hands will result in 2 or 3 out wins and that about 20% of those wins would hit the river. He also said this was really apparent during freerolls where things just got even more ridiculous. I laughed as if it was all a joke because of all the recent plays that resulted in similar losses as we approached closer to the final table.
I didn't take his words into consideration at first, but sure enough it did come into fruition as the hands kept getting dealt and played out. Observing each opponent's play, you would find a trend that many players would try to slow play their top pair w/kicker or two pair on the turn only to get beat on the river by a miracle card. Even I found myself trying to slow-play with a pair of Aces and then getting aggressive o the flop and nearly ending my night early with an all-in and big loss of chips when the turn hit a deuce for two pair from my opponent. Pocket pairs would find their way on the very last card and more people were left disappointed at their result after coming so far. After that, I made sure to make every hand count and I picked up the pieces to make it to the final table.
That one piece of advice was the biggest difference maker for me and my finish in the tournament. Playing your hands for your maximum value when you know you have the nuts instead of slow playing it will win more times than just simply check/raising or calling bets by the opponent. Your risk less chance of having your opponent draw out the win or even attempt a chance of a call. Even if they fold, it still means you get chips and avoid any chance of a suck out on the river. Avoiding a flop altogether makes your winning percentage a 100% which is something to keep in mind
Most of the time, people will think you are attempting to bluff because you are continuously getting hands and figure that this time you don't have it. Now your all-ins or big raises get full value and you can get your worth from pocket aces or kings.Their mistake is your benefit and you will smile as you see your best hand played out from that position. It even makes bluffing easier since most people will consider you the person with the nuts and you can bet some hands without even a chance of a call.
The only thing you really need to watch out for is a re-raise from your opponents that will become very apparent thanks to your aggressive play. Most of the time your opponents will test the waters and see if your stronger bets are real or if your bluffing. This makes the game fall into your favor. When you have developed yourself as the player to go in with just the very best cards, opponents will only re-raise on top of you to either bluff (which happens very rarely because they know you may just call or go all-in) or really to let you know that they have something better. At that point, you can simply fold away from that information or call their aggressive play to be rewarded in the end. By observing the other players and their betting style, you can determine if they are really betting it to fool you or to make you pay up.
So make sure not to risk your stronger hands only to have it beat by some random pairing on the flop, turn, or river. Bet out your hands and you are sure enough to get called. Remember that the only options your opponents will have is either to call your stronger bet, raise, or fold. More times than not, you will find yourself in the benefit of either choice. Take full advantage of your cards and you will be rewarded with deeper runs in your future tournaments and more chips.