How to avoid Tunnel Vision when you have strong poker hands

Jun 22 2012 |

In today's post from Color Up Poker Blog we talk about how to not get attached to a hand. Often times we find ourselves with a strong hand and we get tunnel vision. What I mean is, we don't look at the board and think about our opponent’s range. We only see the strength of our own hand. The poker hand in review is a perfect example of getting tunnel vision. Our hand may be very strong but compared to the board and what our opponent’s hand might be the value of our hand is basically worthless. It's difficult at times to keep focused on all the details and not get attached to a hand.

In this hand we are dealt pocket Kings, which is obviously a very strong hand. We are playing heads up; therefore 3 betting will be done more often and doesn't necessarily mean we have a strong hand. The villain in this hand is a relative unknown with only a few hands as a sample.

Generally, when we have few reads on an opponent, we should be playing straightforward until we can better evaluate their play.

We start on the button and make a standard raise to 3x and get a call from the villain.

Pokertracker-poker-hands

 

The flop is a bit on the draw-heavy side. What I mean by this is that there are many draws our opponent could have and if one of these draws hits our hand is no longer good. However, this is heads up and it's less likely the villain will have a draw or a made hand. But, we still need to bet on the larger side. On a board like this our opponent will either call or fold. I know that sounds a bit simple, but let me explain exactly what I mean.

Say the board was K 2 5 rainbow. On this type of board with no draws our opponent is unlikely to have much. We can bet on the small side without fear of a draw hitting hoping that they have something like bottom pair or even Ace high. If we bet too much they will likely fold these hands. Since we have the King it's extremely unlikely that they will have top pair. If we bet too much, they will fold most weak hands so we will need to pick a bet size that targets the bottom of their range.

With the board in the hand we are discussing we can bet as much as we want and they are going to call if they have any piece of it, since any piece of this flop will be have some solid strength. Therefore we can bet on the larger side without worrying about them folding weaker hands.

Poker hands from Pokertracker

 

In this hand our hero bets $2 which a bit small. I prefer almost a pot size bet with $2.50 being fine as well. We get a call and the turn brings a blank. Again we can still bet on the larger side. Since the villain called on this flop they will likely call on the turn. Making a bet of about $6 is what I prefer.

Poker hands from Pokertracker

 

Our hero bets on the smaller side, but it's still ok, not great but ok. Again the villain calls and the river is one of the worst cards we would want to see. This is also why we want to bet larger on the flop and turn. If our opponent has a hand like QT and an Ace or diamond comes it will shut the action down. We will be less inclined to bet, as will our opponent. They will also be less likely to call with a straight on board. We need to get max value while we can. 

Poker hands from Pokertracker

 

The villain leads out and bets all in and our hero makes a crying call. This is a terrible call, and it's likely they were only looking at their own relative hand strength rather than the board and what their opponent likely has. Yes, we have a set, but the way the hand played out and the texture of the board, a set is basically a bluff catcher at this point. There's only $17 out there and we need to call $33 more to find out if are right. Even if we are right half of the time we will still be losing money given the rake. We will never be right half of the time in this case so folding is by far the best choice.

It's very easy to get stuck on a hand, but finding that fold button is just as easy. Just remember that you will get pocket kings again and you will have sets again. Get value form them the next time and live to fight another day.

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