• July 30, 2021

What is to Protect in Poker?

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It could mean 2 things:
1- Trying to eliminate players by betting, forcing them to pay, giving your hand a better chance to win.
2-Guarding your cards attempting to nothing happens to them while you are playing a hand, this prevents them from being fouled by a discarded hand, or accidentally mucked by the dealer.
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Sometimes it is important to bet or raise with a vulnerable hand because you either want your opponents to fold or you want them to pay the wrong price for their drawing hands. Making those bets or raises is called protecting your hand. Say for example you have AA24 in Omaha and a player in front of you bets on a board of 873 with two hearts. Sometimes it would be correct for you to raise in that spot to protect your vulnerable pair of aces in hopes that you either scoop or get 3/4 of the pot.
Players starting with a strong hand (i.e. – a big pocket pair like JJ) in Hold’em will often try to reduce the number of players who can potentially outdraw them by making a substantial raise. Doing so will help “protect” the strength of their holding if they succeed in getting others to throw away hands. Those who call will be paying to do so and often are not getting the proper odds to justify further investment. There are several examples of protecting your hand especially in multi-way pots.
Another concept of “protection” includes physically keeping your hand or a chip on top of your cards. This prevents them from being fouled by a discarded hand, or accidentally mucked by the dealer.
Finally, investing more money in a pot so blind money that you’ve already put in isn’t wasted is also a form of “protection”. For example: “He’ll always protect his big blind, despite how bad his cards are.”
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Steve Carr

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