Tips on different strategies to avoid 'bust' while playing poker

May 8, 2012 3:09 AM

Many low-limit players chase the money pot at the end of the rainbow by pursuing jackpots and kill pots, not realizing they risk bankrupting their bankrolls in their quest for premium payouts.

You can evade the enticing traps of jackpots and kill pots by following these tips:

• In jackpot games, be sure you know the rules and how much additional rake is taken from each pot to fund the jackpot. Because winning usually requires either aces-full or four-of-a-kind (or better) to be beaten by a better hand, people tend to overplay small pairs and suited connectors in jackpot games. If you enter more pots with these hands than you should, your stack takes a double hit.

• Don’t allow a mediocre jackpot to lure you into playing too loose. I’ve seen players call double-raised pots with low pairs up front, in the hope of cracking the jackpot with quads, beaten by quads. I strongly advise you not to do that unless the jackpot is huge. In that case, former WSOP champion Tom McEvoy suggests you might see more flops than ordinarily the case because of the overlay the jackpot offers.

• Consider playing tighter in games with a “kill.” Each card room has its own rules for declaring a kill pot. A disc with the word “kill” on it is placed in front of the player who either (a) won two pots in a row, or (b) won a big pot ($80, for example).

If you are the designated killer, you must place a forced bet in front of the kill button equal to the big blind at the new, higher limits. In a “full-kill” $4/$8 game, the limits rise to $8/$16 for the next hand. In a “half-kill” game, the limits rise to $6/$12.

The kill is in effect for that hand only – unless the same player wins again. In that case, the limits remain at the higher level until the “killer” loses a pot.

• Is it our greed or just the nature of the game that it seems more players enter the pot when a kill-pot is being played? Perhaps it’s the contagious excitement that comes from playing a hand at limits that are higher than we usually would play?

I don’t have the answer to those rhetorical questions, but I do have the remedy for avoiding the agony of defeat while enjoying the thrill of playing at a higher limit: Only play your best hands.

Don’t get sucked into the action and you won’t get sucked out on when you miss your draws.