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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Full Steam Ahead!

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This might be a shameful thing to admit, but I get a perverse sense of enjoyment when playing on-line limit hold’em and one of the other players is “steaming”! You know the picture – the player has been playing steady poker, perhaps seeing too many hands, but solid nonetheless. Then, he raises pre-flop, gets one or two callers and proceeds to raise after each card because he has a very strong hand. The river is a card that makes a possible straight on the board and his bet on the river is re-raised by one of the callers. Our player calls and reveals A A while the opponent takes the pot down having shown 9 8 offsuit on a board of 9 6 5 K 7. This is the second time in a short period of time that the player has suffered a “suck-out”.


Can there be anything more frustrating knowing that in the same position you would fold 9 8 offsuit to a pre-flop raise? The player who just lost with A A now also loses his cool and lets rip on the chat box spelling out in capital letters what he thinks of the 9 8 guy’s play and offers some choice opinions about his personality. Not once but two or three times. Another player asks him to cut out the abuse but this has the opposite effect.

No prizes are available to anyone who correctly guesses A A man’s likely move during the next hand………RAISE! Every betting round is met by (i) a bet to a check, (ii) a raise to a bet, or (iii) a re-raise to a raise.

Apart from the entertainment aspects of such behaviour, how can you make this pay for you? It still surprises me to see how often this aggressive betting play intimidates the table. It is highly likely after two or three consecutive hands of this behaviour that the player’s hand could be weak. That puts a little responsibility on the players in late position to stand up and be counted. A man on tilt is similar to a man on the button, looking to raise with an average hand to steal the blinds. The blinds should offer some resistance with a half-decent hand when a button is attempting a steal. The pot odds demand it.

Likewise, late position players should offer resistance to a tilting maniac. You will know this man will go all the way so the implied pot odds of a call before the flop are very generous indeed. After the flop, the maniac is out of position and looking to pay off anyone with a hand. It will be a generous payoff too! If the tilting player is down to his last $20 in a $1/$2 limit game, you can be sure he doesn’t care much for it and will pay off anyone with his last few dollars.

Occasionally, the steamer will hit his cards and the event of winning and recouping some of his stack sometimes takes the “energy out of the waves” and he cools down.

At other times, he loses all his chips and one of two things happen. He either leaves the table in disgust or he reloads with another $50. This latter decision is usually a sign that the kettle in his head is still whistling away merrily!

For you (a sensible, tight, aggressive player!) an opponent on tilt is a source of easy money. You must still pay attention to your position relative to others but, if you have a good hand, use it to re-raise the steamer and try to isolate him into a heads-up battle by encouraging the others to fold. Surprisingly, your fellow players frequently do not spot someone is steaming or, if they do, they fail to adjust their play to accommodate what is effectively a much weaker player.

When you next witness a player suffer a bad beat, keep an eye on how he responds. He might pay you off over the next fifteen minutes.

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