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The trick is to induce your opponent to make more of them. One way is to let your opponent bet your hand for you, as young, dangerous pro Nick Schulman showed in this hand at the Rio Hotel's 2008 World Series of Poker $10,000-buy-in main event in Las Vegas.
With blinds at $100-$200, the player under the gun raised to $500. Action folded to Schulman, who found pocket kings on the button.
"He's kind of a loose player, and it's so early in the tournament that I thought if I raised, he might fold," said Schulman, who won World Poker Tour events in 2005 and 2006. "I thought it was good to be a little deceptive. I would normally raise there more than I would call, but I just decided it was a good spot there to call."
The flop came 2-4-5, rainbow. The player under the gun led out for $800.
"I wasn't sure what to make of the bet because he was such an aggressive player," Schulman said. "I decided to call and make it look like I had 7s or 8s and he might try to bluff me off it, or he might think 10s or jacks are good at this point. I called."
The turn came the 5 of clubs, pairing the board and putting out a club draw. The player under the gun bet $1,650. Schulman called again.
"I felt there was a chance that he was bluffing," said Schulman, one of the pros from the Full Tilt Poker online site. "I was pretty sure I had the best hand, but I thought I'd make a big bet on the river if he checked it to me. If he bet on the end, I would make a decision."
Schulman called. The river came the queen of clubs, completing a potential flush. The player under the gun made it $3,000 to go. "I think raising would be pretty bad because I think it's hard to get paid off," Schulman said. "If he has jacks or 10s, he'll fold to a raise for sure. He could have queens full. I just called again and he said, 'you got it,' and flipped up 9-7 of diamonds. "I was happy with the way I played it because I induced him to make a few mistakes and probably got the maximum out of that particular spot. "At this stage of the tournament, I don't want to go crazy in those spots. I just want to stay alive. If you find the right spots where a guy is overly aggressive and splashing around, sometimes it's better to let him do the betting and try to induce a mistake."
Under the gun: The player immediately to the left of the big blind who is first to bet before the flop. Loose: A player willing to take a lot of flops with a variety of starting hands. Rosenbloom is a Chicago Tribune columnist. firstname.lastname@example.org