Learn about the different types of protections to better protect your poker hands while you’re at the poker table.
Protection in Heads-Up Pots
But there are also some more complex cases. Here’s an example of protection in a heads-up pot: No Limit Hold’em, 6-handed, blinds at $ 0.50 / $ 1.00. Player 1 has KQ and raises to $ 4. The big blind calls with 9-10s. The flop comes Q-9-2. After a check from the big blind, a value bet just below the pot size would be the usual procedure. The equity distribution on the flop is: Player 1: 75.8% – Big Blind: 24.2%. This means that both of them would have a positive expected value (+ EV) if they checked through to the showdown.
But this is exactly what player 1 has to prevent with a bet. If he bets $ 7, the big blind will pay 15.5 big blinds in the pot and 7 big blinds. Assuming that player 1 plays check-behind due to pot control on the turn and the big blind receives a freecard, the expected value for the big blind becomes negative (-EV). So he has to give up the pot or he continues to play the hand in spite of -EV.
Protection in Multiway Pots
A goal with good hands in multiway pots is to reduce the opponent’s field as much as possible. Here’s an example of protection in Multiway Pots: We’re playing No Limit Hold’em, 6-handed, blinds at $ 0.50 / $ 1.00 again. Player 1 has AA and raises to $ 4. The button calls with KQ, the small blind calls with 5-5 and the big blind calls with 10-8s. On the flop come K-9-8. The small and the big blind check. The equity distribution on the flop (player 1: 50.7%, BU: 18.9%, SB: 9.2%, BB: 21.2%) shows that player 1 is a clear favorite. But when the hand is checked to the end, it only wins the pot in half of all cases. If he gets the small and big blind to fold, the expected profit looks as follows: Player 1: 80% – BU: 20%.
While the BU doesn’t benefit much from the folds, the chance for player 1 improves tremendously. So player 1 knows what to do: He bets $ 15. Assuming the button calls and the small blind folds, the big blind finds the following situation: 46 big blinds are in the pot, 15 big blinds are paid. He has an obviously worthless bottom pair. He has 5 outs on TwoPair and a backdoor straight draw. He has no position and cannot hope for a freecard on the turn. His expectation of profit is also turning negative and he should actually give up his hand.
Protection Against Implied Odds
One of the most difficult issues in No Limit Hold’em is implied odds. Whoever holds “Top Pair Good Kicker” and is drawn out on the turn by an “Open Ended Straight Draw” can definitely fold his hand. But what if he has a set? Who doesn’t see themselves in front and wants to call or even raise? In such situations, the entire stack often moves to the middle on the turn. Despite the outs against the straight, the situation has a clearly negative expected value.
A call from an “Open Ended Straight Draw” can have a negative expected value against “Top Pair Good Kicker”, but a positive one against a set. This is due to the high implied odds.