The power of aggression is never more highlighted in poker than when people discuss non-showdown winnings in games like no limit Texas hold’em. Essentially there are two types of earnings that you should be concerned about in a poker game.
These are your showdown earnings and your non-showdown earnings…….which are the most important? This is a very interesting question and a lot depends on what type of game you are sitting in and what types of mistakes your opponents make.
For example if your opponents are very loose and weak then you will find it difficult to make money before the showdown. This is for the simple reason being that your loose-passive opponents will call with a far greater frequency.
When Not to Bluff
This means that bluffing is far less effective than it would be in other types of poker game. You will need to have the best hand at showdown to win the pot. However your non-showdown earnings (or lack of) will be compensated for by your greater level of showdown earnings.
This is because when you have a powerful hand then you will be more handsomely paid off. This is the stereotypical weak poker game. Years ago in many of the low-stakes poker games in card rooms all around Europe then games of this nature were common.
However as players toughened up and games became tighter then players were starting to play theoretically correct poker or a much closer approximation of it. So big errors in big pots were rare or were happening much less frequently.
This meant that the level of showdown earnings was falling because showdown earnings are the easiest to control. If you use concepts and tactics like “big pot big hand” and “pot control” and play tight-aggressive poker then you will almost assure yourself of always having a big hand when the bulk of your stack goes into the middle.
Don’t Play Poker Like Everyone Else
The problem is though that it then becomes all too easy for your opponents to play in the same way. This means that when the pots become very large that it often becomes a battle of big hand versus big hand.
As is often the case, sometimes you are on the wrong side and it is you that has the king high flush when your opponent has the ace high flush and you that has pocket fives on a 9-5-2 rainbow board when your opponent has pocket nines and so on.
In this type of environment then non-showdown winnings become very important and to achieve a good level of non-showdown winnings then you need to be aggressive and win pots by either having the worst hand or by making your opponent fold incorrectly. Let us look at an example here to show you what I mean.
It is folded around to you in the hijack seat and you open raise with the 6d-5d. The player on the button calls you and both blinds fold. On the flop we have the 9h-7s-6h and our opponent checks and we bet…..simple!