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This is a psychological question.

Sometimes the Murphy's law turns its back on your opponents instead of you: you flop the stone-cold nuts. However, for me, this is the most difficult (though very much desired, of course) situation in the game.

I want opinions on the following problem: how do you drive your opponents to get their chips out?

I would consider several types of behaviors (tight/loose, aggressive/passive), skills (pro/intermediate/fish) and expected holdings of my opponents and expect the best way to make them pay to depend on all these factors.

I would really like examples from your real-life games (or online, however, real-life is definitely better): who are you playing against, are you betting/slowplaying on flop/turn/river, how much do you bet and what has it resulted into.

UPDATE: please note that if you play live, all your actions count. Not just how much you bet, but how you play with your chips, small talk, how long do you "make up your mind" before a decision, etc.

UPDATE 2: Lots of answers seem to indicate that the correct strategy strongly depends on the situation. I just want to emphasize that I totally agree, and I was aware of this when I posted this question. The typical answer I would like to hear consists of the description of the situation as well as your actions which helped (or didn't help) you to extract money from other players with an unbeatable hand. I want to collect people's expreriences; and I totally agree that this question has no universal correct answer.

  • I think this is way to broad to give you an answer, really depends on way to many factors. How the table is going, table atmosphere, your position, big and small stacks position, each individual player, like every aspect of them is important, their age, how they're dressed, how they handle their chips, etc, etc. How you approach every player and every table will never be uniform, well in my opinion, to give you a definite answer. I will say the best way to get their chips is to adapt your game to counter theirs. – Grinch91 Sep 2 '15 at 9:15
  • @Grinch91 I agree, but there has to be a single line of logic. – Prof. Legolasov Sep 2 '15 at 12:57
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    Why does there have to be a single line of logic? There are always many different lines to take, especially in poker. What works in one situation might be disastrous in another. It's certainly an interesting topic to see people's mindset on approaching this, but I think you will have hundreds of answers for equally as much situations. I guess in the simplest, most general way of answering this would be to analyse your opponents and adjust your game accordingly, looking to punish their mistakes and weaknesses. You'll find a different answer, in my opinion, for every single player out there. – Grinch91 Sep 2 '15 at 13:08
  • @Grinch91 I understand your point. In my question I asked for examples from your previous games. This seems like a well-defined question. – Prof. Legolasov Sep 2 '15 at 13:30
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    The point is not to keep you from being bored, but to keep to the question and answer format here. While your broad question is a good question overall, it's not good for this format. IMO breaking it down into a few separate questions addressing key situations in a more specific way would be better. "How can I get max value when I flop top set in a limped pot?" or some such type of question. This topic would still be broad enough to discuss, but in a much more targeted way. Books could be written about your general question, so you're going to get a lot of rambling responses here as is. – Chris Farmer Oct 13 '15 at 4:48
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As you and others have pointed out, there's a myriad of factors to consider in this situation (as in every hand), so I'll share some real general tips. The nice thing about flopping an unbeatable hand or practically unbeatable hand is that you no longer have to worry about your cards, improving your hand, pot odds or any of that--you're free to turn 100% of your focus to getting inside the mind of your opponent(s), and the effectiveness of which you do this is what will determine how much money you extract. Try to think of all the hands in which you've seen the opponent put in a bunch a chips--how did those hands play out and how can you make this one play out similarly? What's your image in the opponent's eyes? Any history that you have with them can be used as ammo.

At each step in the hand, you should be considering what your move will make the opponent think. If all goes well, you're going to end up putting money in the pot--so do you want to give off the feeling that you're on a draw? that you've got an ok but not strong hand? that you're bluffing?--what would make this opponent put in the most money? You want the whole hand to make sense from their point of view, because when you play as if you have just an ok hand and then end up check-raising all in on the river when they don't see you as someone that makes crazy bluffs, it's going to raise a red flag.

Say you have 6h5h and the flop comes 4h7h8h at a loosish table with multiple players in. Don't be afraid to bet out. Players will come along with a flush draw, two pair, a set, or whatever they think looks good. You're building the pot early and disguising your hand (people usually expect everyone to slowplay a hand like that). On the other hand, if you have pocket 3's on a 10-3-3 flop against one or two people who are pretty tight-passive, it might be better to give them another card or two to improve their hand. Whatever will get the most of their money into the pot.

That brings me to one key point to remember: you don't need to get ALL of your opponent's chips. For most people, they aren't throwing all their money into the middle willy nilly without purpose, so don't think you can magically get them to do it whenever you want it to happen. The goal is to get the MOST out of them. That might mean getting a bet out of a loose player who doesn't like to fold many flops. It might mean setting up someone for a single value bet on the river or an enticement of them making a small bluff (to which they'll fold to your raise). You can lose out on money by getting too fancy and turning it into an all or nothing hand. You want to play this the same way you've played other hands. By doing so, you'll also help yourself in the future. For example, you could play a draw the same way as you did when you flopped that nut full house. A good opponent will notice the similarities and be more likely to fold when you bluff on the river after missing the draw.

One last general tip that I've implemented before is: once the flop comes and you see that you can't lose, make up a imaginary hand (or two) that you'll now play as if you have. For example, when you've flopped that straight flush as above, play the entire hand as if you had the ace high flush draw. If the turn ends up making that a bad plan, think of another hand that would make sense for you to have and continue as if you have that new hand. Another situation could be when you're headsup against a good opponent where there's a long history of being aggressive and bluffing toward each other, imagine having some two specific cards that completely missed the flop but that (imaginarily) you can outsmart him and get him to fold. Play as if that's really what's going on--you're counting on the opponent being good enough to "see through you" and to "outplay" you, when really he's outplaying himself.

Anyways, tl;dr : put yourself in the other player's head, play your hand consistently as if it were some other hand.

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    TLDR's go at the head of the post. ;) Good post. – Toby Booth Sep 17 '15 at 19:23
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I think this question lacks a lot of context. It matters whether you're in a raised or three-bet pot. It matters who raised. It matters whether your hand is the unassailable nuts or whether draws exist. And whether redraws exist for you in the event that your opponent's good fortune usurps your hand. It matters whether you're in position relative to your opponent. It matters whether there is a likely very good second-best hand that your opponent might have, or one that he might be likely to try to represent. It matters what your stacks are, and the stack-to-pot ratio after your nutted flop.

In general, you want to try to play as if he's got a hand. You are going to make more money from the times he does try to play back than you will lose by scaring him away. You have to balance your goal of enticing him to participate in the pot with your goal of trying to get the stacks in. If you check the flop, you might be able to represent a weaker hand and thus entice a call on the turn, but you are possibly foregoing your chance to get the stacks in.

If you've killed the board with something like AA on a A72 rainbow board with no reasonable draws, you've really just got to hope he has something. If it's a raised or 3-bet pot, AK or AQ or 77 are possible, and those are likely the only way you're going to get paid off all three streets. Less favorably, maybe he has 88-KK and is willing to pay off some modest bets if you're the kind of player who will bet an A-high board without an ace. But you're not likely to get three good streets from this. In a limped pot, you're even less likely to get action unless there's a random 2 pair that will get on board. You're better off targeting the cases where he has a quality piece of the board, since your ability to bet big on the river is usually predicated on getting some value on both the flop and the turn.

IMO, physical tells are less valuable than you think here. Post-hoc rationalization of physical tells is easy, but unless you're spending 100s of hours a month at the tables, I'm guessing you don't have the means to distinguish the appropriate nuances in real time.

Having an opponent fold usually means you weren't going to get a lot out of them anyway, and it's better to try to get good value those times that they are willing to play.

I think your question would be more valuable with one or two specific scenarios, since it'd be easier to discuss getting value from those spots than in a general case of "nuts versus random holdings."

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    Again, I agree that my question is too broad. I expected the person who answers it to give 2-3 examples from his/her previous games. – Prof. Legolasov Sep 2 '15 at 18:02
  • I don't doubt that you expected that. :) I just think this is a huge tree of possibilities, and if you provided a specific flop scenario that was meaningful to you, you and I and everyone else might get more out of it. – Chris Farmer Sep 2 '15 at 20:05
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This happened to me last week in a local weekly pub tournament.

I was BB and had 79 off suit. No one bet pre flop and the flop came down 6 8 10. I bet 300 ( 3x Bet). It got called. The turn card was a different suit to the previous 3 so no chance of a flush and nothing paired. I raised to 1,000 and got called by one player and on the river bet 2,000 and got called. I won a very nice pot.

There's no hard fast rule. Some tables I've had AA pre flop but if I bet, everyone might have folded while on others most would call. You have to judge which players might call and try and get as much as you can. If other players are betting it can be profitable to call until the river then raise very big, maybe all in. That's a great tactic if the river card was nothing. Some players may think you're bluffing and call you. Ker-ching!

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    I think the point of the question was how do you accomplish these things? This answer seems to just state that it is sometimes difficult to get paid off when you have a strong hand. That's the point. How do you, as you suggest, "judge which players might call"? That's the gist of the question, IMO. My contention is that it's nearly impossible to answer this in a meaningful way for the general case. – Chris Farmer Oct 2 '15 at 15:54
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The first rule should be consistency. If you always check when you have the stone cold nuts, then people will begin to pick up on that. If you always continuation bet when you hit and check when you don't. People are going to pick up on that.

The same can go mentally and physically. If you focus on your cards and keep quiet when you didn't hit the nuts, but begin to focus on the other people in the hand when you did hit the nuts this is a major tell.

If you can't be consistent then no amount of advice anyone can give you here will help fish for more money.

Now if you are consistent, then you need to read your opponent. Look at the board texture, what range do the people in the hand likely have.

It really is impossible to answer this question and honestly 1,000,000 different people could all provide a unique situation where this method worked and every answer would be correct.

The only way I could even think to answer it was by saying to be consistent, make sure you don't have tells.

  • This does not make sense to me. In the first paragraph, you seem to argue for less consistency. If you always do the same thing then opponents will realize your patterns, therefore more variation is better. In your third paragraph, you say if you're not consistent, you will never succeed at getting paid off with your good hands, so more consistency is better. Which is it? This isn't clear. And consistency is independent of having tells. How are those necessarily related? You use the terms texture and range but don't describe how either of those might affect one's ability to get value. – Chris Farmer Oct 2 '15 at 19:22
  • Guessing it wasn't clear from the wording. The first paragraph should detail being consistent not less consistent. Not sure how you drew to that conclusion personally. The first rule should be consistency; Should have been a major tell there that was the goal of the first paragraph, if not clear then I apologize. Still in the first paragraph it gives two different examples on how not being consistent would let people pick up on it. Then we move onto the third paragraph restating that key sentence from the first which was being consistent. – James Wilson Oct 5 '15 at 20:52
  • And being inconsistent can lead to gaining tells on your opponent see the two examples from the first paragraph thus consistency and tells are not independent of each other. – James Wilson Oct 5 '15 at 20:54
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You need to create a fish image before this hand. You cannot just become a fish. It all depends on the skills of your opponents and your skill to evaluate the current table.

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