You may have heard the term poker before, but is there really a “top poker” in the world? There are certainly several players in the poker world who would claim to be the top poker player at any given time. Is there such a person? Let’s look at the facts.
There are a lot of poker players in the world right now. The World Series of Poker has Arbor Jones as the top player in the event. Jones has been in the habit of playing poker for about 15 years. He has won two World Series of Poker Championships. He has also earned money finishes at the final table of the following tournaments: 1997 $1,500 No Limit Holdem event; 1999 $1,500 No Limit Holdem event; 2000 famously, a poker dealer handles his final table at the Main Event (all GA Cash Games); 2001 $1,500 Omaha Hi Lo; 2002 and 2003 $1,500 Omaha Hi Lo events.
In the $5,000 Pot-Limit Holdem event just won by Phil Hellmuth, he played with his 11.5g Ace King high. This was after the pocket 9’s were opened by the blinds. Phil was holding QQ and he had just called a raise of pure position with A-K. Just as the action was about to cente on him, the dealer raised it to 6 big blinds. There was a very significant raise that included every person at the table except for Mr. Johnson. Then there was a very telling statement. After anyone made what had been designated the big blind raise, Phil looked at his cards and said, “Dewabet“. There is no doubt that Phil made a play and took control of the action. But, was he ever that fully involved?
There isn’t a poker player in the world who would not have several things in his possession when he is playing in a heads-up battle. Aside from superior skill, the player is in excellent control of the situations in which he will act. He has the best control of the situation in which he will act beyond the flop. And, he has virtually no control over the flop. The flop, as it turns out, is largely a source of random occurrences.
The majority of the time (about 80%) of the flop in limit Holdem is missed. That means that a good deal of the time a player will bet and they will have good reason to bet. They will miss the flop more than they will hit it. For a skilled player, skill tends to play a major role. But, against virtually all opponents, you can bet that the situation will shift around more on the catching of the cards as it goes on.
There are two parts to playing heads-up at the final table. One is the long haul; basically, doing it for several hours. The other is the part that starts the adrenaline Rush. When you are deciding to call a raise, you are waiting for the key moment to happen. That moment may come when your opponent has a good hand or a bad hand. Whether you win or lose, you certainly have enjoyed the experience. Then, of course, you want to get as much money as possible from your opponent. The Rush is a natural outcome of the quality of your hand and your opponent’s hand.
To explain, there is a rush when you are on the button. This is the point where almost all hands are won or lost. It is the part-time player’s version of the figures on the blackjack Multi-Hand Bonus Game. As the hand progresses, the quality of the hands improves. The unmarked areas rapidly turn red, signifying the uphill struggle to catch up or recoup losses. There is also a Rush, in which an opponent quickly goes from quiet to extremely aggressive making a bad situation even worse.
The part of playing heads-up that will make you pros is the part where you become expert. It will come with practice and it will come with confidence. The kind of confidence that can lead to big winnings when you are backed into a corner. For instance, one of the players gets all his chips in and produces a weak play. On the next hand, we will see the same thing. Our conclusion would be that he will not be pulling the same type of stunts on a next hand as he did in the previous hand.
We would like to remind you that a skilled player is not all simply a bully. Bad beats are part of the game and so is bad play. But, with a little practice you will be able to turn around your game and sit back and watch your opponents battle it out.