Some General Poker Info - Stealing etc.
Aggression is probably one of the best weapon you may have in today’s poker playing style and, related to it, The Art of Stealing.
I will distinguish 3 way in the art of Stealing in Texas
Stealing the blinds
Stealing the pot
Stealing the blinds
This is the most common steal that all poker players know.
You are late position, no raise or call, you go for stealing the blinds…. Easy and simple as that.
Most of players are aware that if you are at the cut-off or at the button and raising, you are probably stealing the blind. No need to go further.
Stealing the pot
This is an interesting point to analyze as it is part of the actual trend.
There is different ways for stealing the pot. Let’s see them in detail.
Adopting the orphans
This action should definitively be in your tricks arsenal.
Let’s say you have a good hand and you have raised (or someone raised) pre-flop.
You expect players to have decent cards and flop comes with low random and rainbow cards. It is time to adopt the orphans. Do a decent bet that looks like you hit something or have pocket pair. Most of the time, unless someone has a pair, everyone will fold leaving the uncontested pot to you.
Just be careful as not all random rainbow cards are orphans. For example, if there is two connected and suited cards, someone may look for a straight or flush draw. (for instance 4c, 8-9d are not real orphans).
In the case someone makes a cautious raise and you know the player is tight, you may go for a re-raise. In 93% of the case he will fold (unless he is slow playing or else). If he calls, the flop will tell you how to adapt your plan accordingly. Please note this need to be done when no one called the raise before you (obvious).
Missing a value bet is a huge mistake. When there is only a few players in a hand and everyone checks until the river, you have to make the move and do a value bet (even you have nothing). It is not a bluff, it is clearly a way of stealing the pot as probably no one has a valuable hand and may fold.
Of course, if you have someone calling your value bet every time you try to do it, it means he knows what you are doing, but you can still get the pot with the higher card or a low pair. If he re-raise you, you can consider he did a check-raise or is trying to steal the pot as well (re-raise steal). Also, you may face someone sandbagging. If you see someone doing it, just take note of it (a valuable information as sandbaggers are usually not inclined to bluff).
The bluff is a plan to steal a pot by tricking your opponent.
A bluff or semi-bluff has to be made only if you have one or two opponent left. You have to consider your foes tendencies, their playing style and what is on the board to make them believe you are ahead.
This has to plan as soon as the conditions are met with the option to fold if it doesn’t work (to avoid to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar).
Conditions for stealing in general
Stage of the tournament
There is three stages where stealing become profitable.
In the mid-tournament where decent players remain.
It is the right time to make some benefits and steal any uncontested pot.
Before the bubble when everyone tights up to save chips.
People are less likely to take big risks that might cost them to cash their tournament.
Just before the final table.
Like the bubble, people are less likely to take risks to try to reach the final table.
Short stack will be easy to trick reverse to the deep stacks who may call you.
Make sure you have a decent stack to steal effectively without committing yourself and go all-in pre-flop.
Before detailing that point, please note that fold equity doesn’t work well at the beginning of a tournament. Most of bullies and beginners will not give a damned about it (especially in micro-gaming). But at the right time, giving incorrect pot odds
will increase fold equity and in the same way increase your chance to steal the pot.
Damage your opponent’s stack
If you are not giving the impression to your opponent that you may damage his stack, he may not fold. So make sure your bet size will discourage your foes to call.
Please not that it may not work against deep stacks. You have to make sure that your opponent has to commit himself for more than 30% of his stack.
You have to carefully consider with what cards you are willing to steal.
Suited connectors and bad aces (A x) are good for the job but if you have K J, you may need to consider to shove instead.
Art of stealing in poker is not just a way of tricking your opponents. It is definitively a weapon you need to have in your arsenal. You may consider it as a way to make your opponents taking bad decisions and a tool to grow your stack.