Avoid This One Extremely Common Poker Trap

You Need to Avoid This Common Poker Trap

You know, when we talk about setting a poker trap we often mean when you have a really good hand and you decide to slowplay it in order to trick your opponent.

And while this is a good strategy to use sometimes, you can actually end up trapping yourself if you are not careful in poker.

This most often happens when you fail to properly assess the strength of your hand. This poker hand is a perfect example of that.

Know the Difference Between a Good Poker Hand and the Nuts

The first mistake that was made in this hand was preflop. It isn't a huge mistake to play this hand from early position in a 6max game, but the best option here is just to fold preflop.

Now when the flop comes:


And we hit top and bottom pair, it is time to plan out how we are going to play this hand.

The key thing to understand here is that we have a good hand but we do not have the nuts. "The nuts" by the way is a slang term used in poker for the best hand possible.

On this flop there are many different hands that can beat us already such as a straight, a set or a better two pair. There are also multiple combo draws that have a lot of equity versus our hand.

For example:


This hand will be around a coinflip with us if we were to get all the money in versus it on the flop.

So, the big thing to realize in a spot like this is when we decide to play a huge pot, versus most reasonable opponents, we are going to be behind.

This is what I call one of those lose/lose situations in poker because if you decide to play a big pot, then you will often only get action from a hand that beats you, and you will fold out all the hands that you do beat.

Not good.

So this is why the best decision to make on the flop in this hand is to simply make a standard continuation bet.

Don't Trap Yourself at the Poker Tables

Because when we just make a normal c-bet here we allow ourselves to stay in control of the size of the pot and the hand.

Our opponent will either call, fold or raise.

If he calls, ok cool. Well then he probably has a draw and we can just keep our foot on the gas pedal or slam on the brakes depending on the turn card.

If he folds, that is obviously fine as well. We will happily just take the pot.

And if he raises, then we can decide to just call and re-evaluate the situation on the turn depending on what card comes and what decision our opponent decides to make.

However, when we go for the check/raise here we essentially trap ourselves. Because like I said before, we set up a situation where the only action we are likely to get is from a better hand.

It is important to avoiding trapping yourself in poker. Always look for situations in poker that are win/win for you, not lose/lose.

You want to get value from weaker hands and have the option to get away from stronger hands. This is what I call a win/win.

But when you take a check/raise line in this hand you create an impossible situation for yourself on the flop here where you have no good options.

This is why it is important to always have a plan for every hand in poker and also learn how to properly assess the strength of your hand in all situations.

Check out my recent very popular article 21 Texas Holdem tips the pros don't want you to know, for much more high level poker strategy advice.

When is it a Good Time to Lay a Poker Trap?

So when is it actually a good time to lay a poker trap you are probably asking yourself?

Well, that's easy. It is when you actually do have "the nuts" in poker. For example, you have top set or a made straight.

If we take the same flop as above for example:


You could certainly go for a check/raise here (spring the poker trap), with a hand like:




Because in both of these situations, you don't really have too much too worry about as far as being behind in the hand.

It is very likely that you have the best hand in both cases and so we absolutely don't mind playing a big pot and getting all the money in the middle.

The other important thing to remember when you are setting a poker trap is to make sure that the other person is aggressive.

A big mistake that a lot of newer poker players make is trying to trap a passive player. Daniel Negreanu actually talks about this in his new advanced poker training program.

The problem when you try to set a trap against a passive player is that they are likely to just check it back, and then this defeats the whole purpose of setting a trap in poker.

So you always want to set traps in poker against aggressive players only. Because they are the most likely to make a bet as soon as you show some weakness.

And then of course you can spring the trap by coming over the top with a big raise, trapping all of their dead money in the pot.

Final Thoughts

Poker is a really simple game at it's core and the key to beating the games at the lower stakes is often to just make the most simple play possible.

When you have a good but not great hand like this, the best course of action is almost always going to be to just bet out and make the standard play on the flop.

It is ok to get a bit tricky sometimes and lay a poker trap. But you should only do it when you have the nuts (or very close to it).

And you should also only try to trap someone who is an aggressive player. You don't want to trap passive poker players because they won't fall for your tricks.

Let me know your thoughts on this poker hand in the comments below. How would you have played it? Do you lay a lot of traps in poker?


Lastly, if you want to know the complete poker strategy that I use as a 10+ year poker pro, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

You Need to Avoid This Common Poker Trap

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