Definition: Kicker – A kicker, also called a side card, is a card in a poker hand that does not itself take part in determining the rank of the hand, but that may be used to break ties between hands of the same rank
Last night at the Twitter Poker Tour tourney, I managed to avoid the tendencies of getting into fancy plays. I played my good hands strongly, my drawing hands cautiously and my bad hands occasionally. I did this in such a way that opponents would not be sure which hand was what. The way I played my final hand, however, was not sound.
I was in the big blind with my hole cards being a Q3 off-suit. The flop came down Q 7 Q. There were five other players already in the pot. The pot total was around $340 and I had a chip stack of $1,650. I thought for a moment and then put in a pot size bet of $340. That got rid of all but one player. His stack size was about double mine and he made the call. There was now about $1,200 in chips in the pot and I made a quick decision to shove all in – thinking that by doing so he would fold.
You can see where this is heading. He had a larger stack, he called the pot size bet. He was probably worried about my having made a full house. But with my over bet, he realized that he probably had the best hand with the better kicker and that I did not have a full house.
He called the all-in raise, and showed an Ace Queen to my Queen three. The turn was a five, the river card was a two and I did not hit my three outer (there might have been at least three three’s left in the deck that could have made a full house for me).
I was out of the game in 30th place from a starting field of 43 players. I could have avoided being elimiated by taking the time allowed to think about what had happened prior to my going all-in. Why had he called my pot size bet? I should have realized that he was calling because the flop matched his hand as well.
At that point I should have just checked the hand down or folded to a raise. That alone would have left me with $1,300 in chips. The bottom line of this explanation is that if you don’t have a strong kicker, you need to play differently perhaps more slowly or faster. If I had gone all-in after the flop, my opponent would have had no way to figure out if I had a full house or not. Plus he would not have been getting the right pot odds to call. Had I made the full house, I might still have had a problem in the event that he made a larger full house, so I still would have had to proceed cautiously.
I wish to congratulate the top five finishers of the TPT Tilt # 9 event for their fine finishes.
I am looking forward to next weeks #TPT Stars Event #9.