Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finding out where you're at

In poker you're generally better off if you're doing the betting rather than calling a bet.

The logic goes something like this. If you think you've got a good hand you want to "find out where you're at." The way to do that is to bet out or to raise. If you're raised you can assume your opponent thinks he has a strong hand. If you get called you can assume your opponent has a drawing hand or a middling pair. Your bet or raise can also serve to thin out the herd leaving fewer people to draw out against you.

The coin of the realm at the poker table is the colorful disk of clay in front of you. The currency, however, is information.

If you just check and call you're not getting any information at all about where you stand. If you check, what are you going to do when your opponent bets out? You won't have any way of figuring out what range of hands your opponent is holding.

To win at the poker table you have to be aggressive - not reckless, mind you, but you have to bet or raise when you think you have the best hand. Maybe assertive is a better descriptor.

You also have to be assertive in the courtroom. Force the prosecutor to show his hand. Push the envelope when it comes to discovery motions and suppression issues. You need to know where you stand before you address that panel in voir dire. 

Unless you've got a monster hand, laying behind the log can be a dangerous play.

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