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fear of being stacked

MatthewTagliaferriMatthewTagliaferri Posts: 18Member
My #1 weakness at the table right now is the fear of getting stacked.

Not "fear" as in "I can't afford it". I'm a recreational, hobby player who plays $1/$2 at most twice a week. So I'm not sure where the fear comes from. Any resources to work on this issue would be appreciated. I would like to through a hand I played last night. I will give my thought process on each street, and I hope to get the correct way of working through the hand and coming to the correct decision.

I call a raise from an early position raiser with pocket sevens. This player is very weak - limps with almost all of his hands and raises with premiums only. I put his range as a very snug TT+, AQ, and AK. One other player calls behind me and we go three handed to the flop.

I flop middle set one a Qd 7x 3d board. The EP raiser leads out for $15. I am aware of the flush draw but call for one street, attempting to drag in the player behind me (also a very weak player). Because the queen is a diamond, the only real flush draw he could have is Ad Kd (although the other player might have more). I call and the trailing player folds.

The turn is a black ace. My opponent leads out for $25 now. This is where the fear kicks in. I start going through hands that would bet both flop and turn, and come up with exactly three - AQ, QQ, and AA. I'm losing to two of those three hands, but I'm even aware that there are more combos of AQ than the sets, so in all actuality I'm ahead more often than behind. I also consider AK as a possible hand, but I'm not sure because he would have had to cbet into two players with ace high, and I'm not sure he would do that. Despite knowing I'm ahead more often than behind, the fear of AA/QQ causes me to call.

The river is a low heart. My opponent leads for $35. Nothing in his range has changed from the turn. I call again.


  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber

    I can tell you that I have a huge fear of losing a big pot. This was much much worse a few months ago because I didnt understand if my play was proper. With all my studies recently including this forum, I understand so much more about hand ranges and what to do in certain spots. Oh I still get mad when I lose, but I KNOW my play is good. I dont get upset anymore feeling my play was wrong and thats why I lost the hand..

    The more confident you are in your decisions, the less afraid you will be in making them. If you are still afraid after all the work and you know what you must do but you still wont do it. Then you should really consider staying with limit and not play NL. I know many many players that dont like big bet poker and its simply not the game for them.

    Remember this game should be fun and if you dont have fun playing for stacks then just play a different varient.

  • SharkShark Posts: 108Subscriber
    The very first thing to say about that is getting stacked in a plusEV situation is not a bad thing. it s like dying for a holly goal or for your country. th good news is if you have a bankroll, you actually stand up and take it back. so put your stack bravely into the pot if you think your hand does well against opponents range. and if you are wrong it would nt be a big deal. that is gonna be a part of the game. I'm actually getting stacked all the time and still win a lot of money. its a part of the process of winning. You can t winn it all and never loose a stck back to them. they would nt play with you any more.

    now back to the hand. you have to raise the flop! are you kidding me? flopping a set in nolimit holdem is one the best thing that can happen to you. the realistic danger of getting oversetted is under 1 percent. against those odds we re gonna go broke anyway. there is no way to avoid that. so why not maximising the pot before any action killers appear on any later streets.
    to the turn play: r u kidding me? you should definitly shove the turn and hopping to get called. you did nt mention the stack sizes but I would shove if you re shallow or bet big enough to set up a river shove on any given card. the greatest pokerplayers in this world are big valuebettors.
  • edogedog Posts: 43Member
    Matt, I think you can better deal with your fear by understanding your stack size to pot ratio (SPR). Try to identify early in a hand whether an early bet, call, or raise is going to lead to a play for stacks situation later in the hand. If you can identify early in the hand that your stack is potentially at risk, you can access whether you want to go down that road before getting there and not knowing what to do. Your fear may partially be due to uncertainty.

    As far as your hand example, to para-phrase Rad_Shark, you need to go for gold. When you have a monster you should drive the action. If it is any conciliation, if you do get stacked at least you were the aggressor and did not just call off your stack.Yell
  • ChristopherSigmanChristopherSigman Posts: 1,147Subscriber
    I understand your fear, Matthew. I get this too, especially if I'm on a downswing, like I've been on lately. It's tough as a recreational player who only plays once a week or less often, it SUCKS to lose.

    I got into a situation on my Reno trip where I was getting beat up a lot. We started this $2/$3 game, I buy in for $500, a few hands in I get KK OTB, action goes UTG raise to $15, call, call, I make is $75, folds, UTG makes it $300, everyone folds, and I question calling...JUST BECAUSE I DIDN'T WANT TO GET STACKED!!! I kept thinking, "He HAS to have aces, everything else would be an overplay." How ridiculous is that?!?!?! I finally called, my heart raced, I doubled up, and all was fine. Laugh

    You have to remember, your competition is donks and fishes for the most part. As long as you are stacking your competition from time to time with your monsters, getting stacked once in a while with a big hand is not the end of the world. You're playing to have fun, not for the profit. Enjoy the game!!!
  • ArenzanoArenzano Posts: 1,464Subscriber
    Matt - no one likes getting stacked whether you played the individual hand correctly or not. It is part of NLHE. There is truth to the fact that you can't play with scared money. If your bankroll can withstand losing some pots, you should feel confident in your overall play - assuming you are doing the right things.

    Regarding this indivdual hand; you flopped middle set! Sets are hard to come by; you'll flop a set on average 1 out 8 times you have a poket pair - 12%. When you flop one your goal is to get your money in and stack your opponent! If the villain happens to catch a bigger set or better hand just remember you got your money in good and I don't know a poker player who does not want that situation. You will win more $$ by being ahead than coming from behind.

    Try reading the Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler it will help with your fear in this area.
  • shmedshmed Posts: 321Subscriber
    +1 to Wendy about considering a limit focus. I've heard from friends that prefer limit the same thing about getting stacked, and they also tend to like the mathematical aspects of the game.

    Lots of other good suggestions here about approaches to the NL game.
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