The Art of Counter Punching

Intimidating your opponents is a big part of poker.  But not letting them intimidate you is equally important.

Let me show you what I mean.  While playing a $20-40 limit game session at the Borgatta, a tight player raised in middle position with everyone after the blinds having folded to him.  I re-raised him with 5-6 of clubs.  I 3-bet because I wanted to play the hand after isolating him in position.  I also wanted control of the hand.  I knew he would re-raise only with a monster like Aces or Kings - hands he had also maybe mentally given me (if he as most likely had a lesser hand), so I'd win if we both 'wiffed' the board.

We go to the flop heads-up.  The board comes 8-5-2.  He checks, I bet, he calls.  Another blank on the turn.  He checks, I bet, he calls.  Still another blank on the river.  He checks, I bet and he calls me down with A-K.  I drag a nice pot.

Of course, I really won this hand pre-flop, by showing I wouldn't be intimidated by his raise.  No weak, speculative call for me.  Just aggression that froze him in place.

You don't always need a big hand to counter-punch.

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross