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How to Trap Your Opponent

One of the most popular settings for today's online grinder is the no-limit ring game. Online poker rooms and casinos are running more no-limit ring games these days than the traditional limit tables. I enjoy a few hours of this action each week. A good session of play in a no-limit ring game can add large sums of money to your bankroll in a short amount of time.

That of course also means that your bankroll can take a big kick in the “you know what” in a short period of time. Therefore it's your risk factor that is the real issue here. With a lot of money moving around, I like to pick my battles wisely. I suggest you do the same.

The most effective way that I have found to play a no-limit ring game is to play with the mindset that I'm there to trap aggressive opponents. I'm not hunting down weak prey like I would in a limit game. I'm sitting and ambushing my quarry, one by one.

In order to accomplish this goal I must achieve two things. First I have to have the nuts hand, or near-nuts hand. Secondly I have to get action on said hand. Once I achieve this, the rest is like taking candy from a baby. Can it really be that easy? Not quite.

One common trap tactic would be to flat call with premium hands at an aggressive table. If you have pocket aces in middle position, instead of putting in a raise you can just call the blind in the hopes that a late-position player will raise after you. Once an opponent raises, you can re-raise big and either pick the pot up there or get some serious money in the pot. A lot of opponents will feel committed and you will periodically get great action on your aces.

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My favourite trap is the old value-bet flush draw. If I'm in a hand in early position and I flop a flush draw, I like to bet the draw for value if I think enough players will call. The bet is usually small, making it easy to make the call. The bet usually allows me to control the betting until the river. If the flush comes off for me, I can then check my winner and appear to have been scared off by the flush card. This pattern usually gets picked up by at least one opponent who thinks they have found an opportunity to force me off a pot. That one works almost every time.

This type of game requires extreme patience. It takes only one hand to bust out if your opponent has as much money in front of him as you. You can't make mistakes; you have to be sure you've got the best hand. Any other approach to this game will be eventual destruction.

This will require that you put down a lot of hands that you wouldn't normally put down in a limit game. Dumping good cards when things get tricky is an important part of being a winning player. The better you get at folding good hands, the better you will fare in a no-limit environment. The risk of calling an opponent just because you're sure he's bluffing is ludicrous. Play the cards, not the player, unless you're playing in a live game.

There are two types of players at these tables. Hot-shot rock ‘n roll stars that will eventually dump their bankroll to you, and tight poker pros that will take what you have faster than you can say all-in. Figure out who's who and you'll be ok.

No-limit ring games are for when you have a lot of time to sit and wait for monster hands. Once you have the nuts, you have to coerce your opponents to push at you. The best tip I can give you is to check the river. Most aggressive players can't resist the temptation of a checked river card. Good luck.

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