Every good poker player knows about the importance of pot odds
on the Flop and Turn. But they can be equally important even before the flop
. As a beginner, you should stick to the tables and lists of acceptable start hands
, but there are situations where you have to make independant individual decisions based on pot odds
1. The blinds are 30/60 and you have the Small Blind with 78o and a medium-size chip stack. Three players have limped. This is clearly a call, since it costs you only 30 chips (assuming that the BB will not raise) to be in a 300 chips pot. Your pre-flop odds are 10:1, which allows you to call with almost any hand. Of course you will fold if the flop does not hit you. Be aware that you play against many opponents, so you need a hand that can beat them all if the flop hits you. In your case, the straight potential of 78o makes the difference. Although I would still invest 30 chips with A2o, I would need a real good flop to play on. An Ace on the flop may give you top pait, but against multiple opponents you will find yourself up against another Ace with a better kicker very often.
2. The Blinds are 50/100 and you have the same average chip stack, but this time you are the Big Blind. A loose player in middle position raises for 200 chips, the button calls, SB folds. Calling here would cost you 100 Chips for a 650 chips pot, giving you 6,5:1 pot odds. You can call with an average hand. Add to this the fact that the loose player could be raising with anything, and the Button is considering his strong post-flop position and the decision is easy.
3. The Blinds are 100/200, you have a chip stack of 5000 and you are the Button. Two players limp and you hold T9s. You would call here because you are getting good pot odds and do not have to risk too big a part of your stack with a hand that has decent potential if it hits the flop for a draw or a made hand. But even more important is the fact that you have the best position now. Everything does of course depend on what the SB and BB do. You might even consider raising here to a) keep the SB and BB from raising themselves, b) find out more about the strength of your opponents hands, and c) hopefully having everybody check to you after the flop.
As you can see, all those examples are about decisions in the early and middle stages of a tournament. Later, you should act in a different manner. When the blinds are high vs. the chip stacks, you should preserve your chips for those hands where you can raise.
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