Home Playing the Player: He never met a flop he didn't love

Playing the Player: He never met a flop he didn't love

I was playing in a low-limit game last night, and one of my opponents had an interesting little habit: not only did he play too many hands (a pretty common thing at low limits) but he bet literally EVERY flop that he saw! He never met a flop he didn’t like. Even though he was a terrible player, he was actually making money because in poker, as in life, fortune favors the bold… aggressive play is rewarded.

I’m a big fan of aggression… but no matter what his cards were, when the flop came, he was right there with a bet. It didn’t take me long to notice this– maybe once around the table. Players should be aggressive, but if you bet EVERY flop, people will have your number in minutes.

I was getting frustrated, because I never seemed to have a hand good enough to call a bluff against this guy, until finally it came…

I was in the small blind with ace-trey suited. I limped in, since it was only half a bet to see a flop with a nice speculative hand, and with only the big blind left to act, a raise was unlikely. Also, Mr. “I love every flop” was in the pot, so I was hoping to get a few more spades to make a monster hand.

The flop came Ace-Trey-Jack rainbow in a 4-way pot. Now normally, I would NEVER risk a check-raise with a hand this weak– the risk of giving a free card that pairs the board and counterfeits my treys is just too high.

However, since I KNEW this guy would bet, it was safe. So I checked my two pair, and sure enough, he came out with a bet behind me. Everyone called around to me, because they knew his bet was meaningless… and I raised! Because I had an image at the table of always having the goods when I’m in a pot, I only got two callers. So instead of betting out and getting 3 bets, I check-raised, and got 6– AND there were fewer players seeing the turn and river than there would have been had I bet out. My check-raise, which I wouldn’t have been able to do without knowing my opponents, accomplished two goals: it built the pot, AND it protected my hand. In the end, I wound up dragging a pot that was 12 big bets.

Watching your opponents is always worth while, but it’s even more fun when you can punish them for their mistakes without any real risk.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.