I like playing poker in its many forms, especially Texas Hold Em, limit, pot limit and no limit. In the last seven days or so I have been playing the micro limits while trying to build a bankroll from $10 to $250 as part of a challenge – see my previous post, “Update on the race to $250 and other thoughts” for more details.
In the last 41 sessions that I have played in the micro limits I have seen the “all in” bet used frequently and in my humble opinion, misused. Generally speaking, the all in bet is used to either cause people to fold or as a method of getting the most chips possible away from an opponent.
All too often I see players going all in – preflop, before the hand develops, then being called and losing to a lessor holding and wondering what happened? Well, what happened was that the all in player and the all in caller did not wait to see the flop in order to see if their hand had a chance of holding up.
Playing in a tourney this way is almost like a lottery. You have picked your lucky numbers, say AA and your opponent has picked 22 and you wait to see what number balls spin up in the poker card lottery. I just don’t think that this is sound tourney play.
When it works, you feel like a genius but when it doesn’t work, you can go on tilt for days wondering what happened? Well what did happen was that chance was allowed to take place and suck outs happen. Yes, over the long run, your better cards will win a larger percentage of the time, but is not that the issue? It does not win all the time.
Do I go all in preflop? Yes, but I like to pick my spots. I would prefer to see the flop to see if that helps my hand first.I will fold pocket AA, KK, QQ pre-flop in the early stages of a tourney versus going all in. In the middle and later stages of the tourney I will use all in with these holdings when the blinds and antes are higher as a means of getting more chips. If I am the chip leader, I might take out the lower stacked players or try to steal blinds away from the middle stack players that don’t want to take a chance on losing their chips before they get past the bubble and are assured of winning a prize.
What are your thoughts about the all in bet? Do you go all in with AA, KK or QQ and end up losing a race to a lessor holding. How is the “all in” tool used in your game?