Tips from T.J. Cloutier
For those of you who don't know, T.J. Cloutier is a professional poker player who was the first person to earn $1 million at the World Series of Poker
without winning the championship event and was named player of the year by Card Player magazine in 1998 and 2002. This article I read listed some tips for T.J. that I would like to share with you. I find some of these tips are debatable.
: A pair of kings in the pocket is the most difficult hand to play in no-limit Texas
hold 'em, Cloutier said. That's a little surprising, given kings are the second-most powerful hand. "With aces, you know where you are," Cloutier said. "And you can get away from queens (if you sense you're beat). But with kings, how do you get away from them? The answer is, you usually don't."
Also, kings "seem to be magnetized. They seem to bring an ace right to the board every time."
Most players place too much value on a pair of queens. "I played in Dallas for years and years," Cloutier said. "I'd say, I got beat (with) one small pair. They'd say, what pair? I'd say queens. Queens were a small pair in Texas."
Hold 'em is generally played with eight, nine or 10 people at the table. The more players, the better hands you need to win.
If you're going to try a bluff after the flop, you better commit to it. "If you're not prepared to fire all three barrels, don't fire the first," Cloutier said.
Picking off bluffs is at least as important as bluffing. Cloutier detailed how he once called down a bluffer with nothing but a lone king, admitting he was taking a chance. "Hey, Columbus took a chance," he said.
Know your opponents; study their style of play. "Poker players are like leopards; they can't change their spots," Cloutier said. "They can change their game for a little while, but they're still the same player."
Avoid chasing draws in no-limit hold 'em. "If I'm drawing, it's a monster draw," Cloutier said. "Two overcards, the nut flush -- the World's Fair."
Fold when you're beaten. At the final table of a limit hold 'em tournament at the Four Queens, Cloutier once folded ace-king after a conservative player raised and an even tighter player reraised. Cloutier flashed his hand to the dealer before mucking it. "The dealer almost fell out of his chair," Cloutier said.
Then his opponents turned over pocket queens and pocket aces. The ace-king would have been a big underdog.
I disagree with the first tip. Yes, you're in trouble if a Ace comes on the flop. But I'll take pocket Kings every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
The second tip is only half right. Yes, pocket queens are overrated at times, but I wouldn't call them small pocket pair.
I totally agree with the fourth tip. If you hesitate even for a second or back down from betting hard, the other players will see it and take it as a tell and take you down.
On the fifth tip, I do this all the time. There are a lot of loose players at the tournaments I play.
The sixth tip is common knowledge by now.
The seventh tip is a good one. I hardly chase. I only chase if I can get it at a low price.
The eighth tip I can relate too. I once folded AK preflop when two players went all in. The other players thought I was crazy. The player that won got trip 9s and I would have lost.