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Very often, players may receive hands that are extremely strong however, there happens to be another player on the table who may have a stronger hand. In such a case, the former’s hand is said to be a dominated hand.
Poker is a game in which each player is presented with continuous opportunities to either make wagers or pass on giving action. This makes every poker player essentially an investor, whose goal is to make profitable investments and avoid losing ones. One of the best ways to make a profit in a poker game is to look for situations where, because of your hands relative strength, you have a very high probability of beating your opponent by the time the hand concludes. When your opponent has very few outs to beat you with, he is said to be holding a “dominated hand.”
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Of course, in most situations, one player’s hand will be a clear favorite over another’s. This makes domination somewhat subjective, and a matter of degree. There is no specific formula for determining when you have another player dominated, but the term is usually used to describe a hand where a player holds one common card with another player and the other player has a better kicker. An example of a dominated hand would be AK vs AQ. In this case, both players hold the powerful ace, but one player has a king kicker and the other player has a queen kicker. Against AK, AQ is dominated which makes the hand less likely to win. Another example of a dominated hand is when one player has a higher pocket pair than another. In this case AA would dominate KK or QQ. Typically, you will see the term “domination” used when one player has three outs or less against another. Sometimes, the dominated player will only have runner runner outs.
The term “dominated hand” is often used in Hold’em games where the action is heads up, although it can apply in just about any poker game. There are a couple of reasons this situation comes up so often in Hold’em games. Remember, Hold,em players start out with a two card hand. The relative value of this hand can be defined very quickly, before the flop if you hold a medium to strong pocket pair. For instance, if your opponent holds pocket Kings against your pocket Aces, he is dominated before the flop even happens. So domination based on differences in opposing player’s hole cards frequently occurs early on in Hold’em games.
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We can see that domination is often established before the flop or on the flop in a Hold’em game. When a large advantage is possessed by one player over another throughout the hand, rather than for a single betting round, the situation is more likely to be described as domination. The tendency for domination to be established early and run the course of the hand in a Hold’em game is one reason for its frequent use as a descriptive term. Another reason the term “domination” is so commonly used in Hold’em games is because of the frequency with which dominating situations arise. This frequency has to do with the fact that players often start with hands that may appear similar or result in similar looking draws, but actually have greatly different values.
In a Hold’em game, players often make the decision on whether or not to wager based upon how their hand interplays with the flop. A hand may appear to hit the flop quite effectively, but may in reality be dominated by another player who has hit the flop in similar fashion. A prime example of this is when two players both hold a pocket pair, and both players flop a set. The player with the smaller set believes he has hit the flop, but in reality holds a dominated hand.
Perhaps the most common situation where one player has another dominated is when both players have flopped the same pair, and one player has a superior kicker. One pair often wins in Hold’em, and the difference between kickers is critical. If you are outkicked, and the kicker plays, you will often be holding a dominated hand. In this situation, you will often have to hit your kicker to make two pairs, or make something runner runner in order to win. In short, kickers play a huge role in Hold’em games, and they are often the source of one hand’s dominance over another’s. It is also common for players with slightly weaker straight or flush draws to be trapped with a dominated hand. As you can see, it is common for a dominated hand to be similar to the hand that dominates it. When kickers are involved, the difference between the two hands is often only one or two points on the value of the kicker. It is also common for dominated flush and straight draws to differ in rank from the hands that dominate them by only a point or two. These are the situations which lead to the most action, because both players believe that they have a strong hand.
While it is often true that dominated hands are similar to the hands that dominated them, it is not always the case. It is quite common for a dominated hand to have a different type of draw and look nothing like the hand that dominates it. It is generally much easier to get away from this type of dominated hand, because it can be more obvious that you are dominated, so there will be less incentive to give action. It is much more difficult to get away from your dominated hand if you have the second best kicker, flush or straight draw.
Usage: My Hand Was Dominated, Held a Dominated Hand, Had You Dominated
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Online Poker Dictionary: Dominated hand
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