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Best Poker Traps

on 22/3/16 /posted by  admin

Setting traps in poker is one of the first things we all learn to do once we have mastered the basics. Flop a set, or a straight, and just check-call when our opponent bets away. The feeling when they finally discover you were super-strong all along is priceless!

Of course this fairly basic play doesn’t always work against good players
– players who can sniff out danger and act accordingly. But let’s take a look at some of the best traps and see if we can work out why they worked and how to include these plays in our own games.

The Set Up

Reddit.com user ‘youmeanddougie’ posted a very nice example of how to set up and eventually bust a player who is so full of shit it’s almost beyond belief. We all know these players, be it in the local casino small stakes tables, a friend-of-a-friend’s home game or some degen gambling it up on Insta Casino.
For this to work, you need the person to not only be a bad player, but also the kind of person who thinks they are smarter than everyone else. And to have money worth taking, as you’ll probably need to invest a bit first; speculate to accumulate as they say.
Best Poker Traps
Here’s how ‘youmeanddougie’ took his villain to the cleaners in his $.50/1.00 5-handed cash homegame
Villain was a first timer to the game but swore that he was a regular winning player. Before the game started, I had gone over some generic house rules which was just a running list of expectations we realized we should make known to all new players. Some examples: no string bets, if you are up...you have to call an hour before you leave, how the change pot works at the end of the night.
All normal stuff, as outlined in my article on running a home game here.
This guy assured us...that he is aware of all these standard rules. In the very first hand, villain states "I call your $2.00....and raise you $12 more" so hopefully this gives you an idea of the caliber of player we've got here.
So Just the kind of player you’d like to be at a table with, to be honest, unless he’s the one ‘trapping’ by pretending to be a dumbass or newbie.
In this otherwise friendly game, villain proceeds to annoy everyone at the table with his blatant disregard for general pokers rules/ethics. I turn a flush in one hand that he was NOT in...he turns to my opponent and says, "you are gonna call that? You know he hit the flush, right?" It was all we could do to not stab this guy in the face.
Now, now, no need for violence! Just make sure he leaves the game broke, if no wiser.
His bet sizes were all over the place. Limp in for $1. He makes it $20 to go. Everyone folds and he says "I'm stealing the blinds" as if he were playing a tournament. So I assumed this guy was a lag and he learned somewhere that putting pressure on people is how you win at poker. Assuming that I set up this 3-hand trap

The Trap Hand 1

Me sb ~100bbs, Villain button covers. All folds, villain makes it 4bbs, I call with 86o. Flop comes A x x
I lead out for 2bbs, villain moves all in. I Hollywood for a while and say...’I guess you have two pair of something? I'm folding an ace (obviously don't show). Villain tables a J3o and laughs about how badly my fold was.
As our Reddit friend explains:
Everything I did in this hand was intentional. From the call preflop...to the bet size on the flop...to the Hollywooding. I wanted him to think I was betting small cause I was scared. I chose the 86 hand because it was the first time he raised reasonably and it was also an easier hand for me to get away from post flop. My bet on the flop was not a bluff or a value bet. It was an intentionally made bad play so I could use it against him later on depending how he reacted to it.
Best poker traps chips

The Trap Hand 2

Second hand is me against another player. Villain is out of the hand but very interested in it. I flop a straight and bet full pot on the flop. Opponent folds and I tabled my hand showing Villain that I bet big when I have the nuts as to add credibility to his possible belief about what my bet sizes mean.

The Trap Hand 3

Third hand... My moment finally arrives... Pretty much same stack sizes and same positions as first hand (these hands were obviously spaced out throughout the night.) Folds to villain, he makes it 8bbs... I call with AA. Flop comes A x x and I again, bet around 1/5 of the pot. Villain shoves and I snap call.
Of course, as mentioned in the preface here, such traps don’t always work, especially against good players, but our hero picked his spot and his opponent well.
I know this type of playing isn't optimal and doesn't always work...but man it sure felt awesome!
As it always does! Taking down the ego-maniac or the trash-talker always tastes that bit sweeter than beating up on the nice guys of the poker world!
I flipped my hand instantly and his face dropped into this stunned state. Kept his hand face down until the river and mucked. Didn't say a word.
The rest of the evening followed suit, with the blow-hard losing to all and sundry at the table, and for those of you wondering whether ‘youmeanddougie’ is one guy or three, our home-game hero explains to finish:
No one colluded or singled him out or anything, but he played legitimately almost every hand and so it was hard not to end up in a pot with him when you had the best hand.
Of course, the set-up is a beautiful thing when it succeeds, but you need someone pretty bad at poker to fall into it quite so readily. More often than not, when you try to play ‘trappily’ in poker, it comes back to bite you in the ass pretty quickly! Why should this be so?
Well, one of the reasons is that players often try to trap without having a big hand. Trapping with a mediocre hand will only result in losing chips or money over the long-term. Top pair and a shitty kicker is NOT a hand you should be trapping with!
Secondly, many players love the idea of trapping their opponents so much that they do it way too often, instead of just playing good poker. One great trap combined with 20 badly-played hands< is not the way to beat whatever game you’re playing! Let’s look at an example of the former…
best poker traps review

Example 1: Trapping With Mediocre Hands

Say you’re playing a
$0.25/0.50 cash game, 8 players NLHE.
You are dealt Q♦ 7♦ call an early limp from your cut-off seat and see the blinds complete. The flop comes… Q♣ 9♦ 4♦
So you have hit top pair and a flush draw, a very good flop considering the generic weakness of your hand in a multi-way pot.
The blinds both check and the early position villain bets out half the pot. Just ripe for trapping you might think?
No! This is not even close to a spot you want to be trapping in! There is a good chance you have the best hand here at the moment, but there is an even better chance that someone might have hit trips, or have a better flush draw, or a better kicker with top pair… Or even all three of these at the table against you!
Here’s a worst case scenario with the odds shown too… Villain 1: 4♥4♠ 25% Hero (you): Q♦ 7♦ 20% Villain3: J♣ 10♦ 30% Villain4: A♦ 6♦ 25%
Although this is obviously skewed against you just as an example, it’s useful to see just how little of a ‘favourite’ you are in a hand such as this! You can’t trap when your hand is not a strong one – it just makes no sense.
Here you could call and see what happens behind you, but I would be looking to re-raise instead, with a view to getting out of there if there is multi-way resistance or further raises, or perhaps re-evaluating my draw odds if there are callers.
The problem with draws, though, is that you’re simply not doing well against other’s possible draws. Flush hits? You’re only Q-high. Another Q comes? You could well be outkicked. The board pairs? You could well be up against a full house.
In this example, the fact that there were three opponents facing you in an unraised pot made life difficult. As always in poker, things are very situational, but in essence, trapping with mediocre hands is a very bad idea. Play it properly, based on the strength of your holding, and don’t get overly fancy!
Best poker traps Daniel Negreanu

Example 2: Trapping With Monster Hands

Let’s go back to our reddit.com readers for an example, this time courtesy of ‘OrangeStrange’, whose first time in Las Vegas saw him involved in a $1/2 cash game.
Played pretty nitty for about an hour and got to approx. 300$. I'm in the SB and get served… Hero: 7♣ 8♣ …folds to me, I just complete the blind. The guy in the big blind was playing pretty TAG and raises to 6$, I decide to defend my small blind and call. The flop comes…. 6♣ 9♣ 10♣ Jackpot for our hero! He hits the straight flush…. I check, BB bets 10$, I call…turn comes a brick…I check, BB bets 30$, I call :D. River another brick… I check again, BB bets approx 100$ and is all-in, I call :DD. Turns out he had A♣ J♣.
The look on his face was priceless,” says our hero ‘OrangeStrange’, adding, “and to add insult to injury, I won an extra 150$ by spinning a wheel for the big hand jackpot!
‘Monster v monster’ is the ultimate hand to get paid for with your traps, but you won’t always be up against a fellow ‘monster’ – a lot of the time you need to give the opposition some room to improve if you want to get paid off.

Example 3

Let’s say in the same game you are dealt
A♣A♦ in seat 1.

You raise and get two callers from the cut-off and the button. The flop comes…. A♥ 8♠ 9♦
Whatever your opponents have, you are way ahead (but not 100% of course). If they have 6/7 or 10/J for example, you are at least 70% to win and you’ll probably get money in the pot just through normal play. No need to be trappy, just give your opponents decent odds.
But naturally, you don’t know what they have. It could be nothing, or something like AQ or trips of their own. The board isn’t hugely dangerous here, but you can’t really give too much away for free.
A smaller-than-usual-sized continuation bet may be in order, as though you’re not entirely happy that there’s an ace out there, so you’re probing a bit. If they call and the turn is a probable brick, you do the same again.
Alternatively, you could check, and hope to re-raise if one of the others gets frisky, but that’s the obvious way to play big hands trappily. People get suspicious, and may just check behind. Giving away a free card here isn’t terrible – sometimes it’s necessary to allow poor hands to ‘catch up’ a little.
The third way, and it often works out well, is to bet out the pot – hope someone is tempted in despite the odds (unknown to them) being distinctly not in their favour, and hope your trip aces don’t get cracked by the river.
If the board pairs the 8 or 9 you would have the bigger full house, after which the money is pretty much all going in of its own accord. Your play needs to reflect how strong you think your opponent might be, so you need to be aware of how they have played similar hands, and how they view your play. ♣ ♠ ♦ ♥

Sometimes Trapping Is An Extension of a Players Style of Play

If you consider, for example Gus Hansen or some other similarly loose-aggressive (LAG) player from among the pro ranks, you’ll find that his natural style of play means that ‘trapping’ in the ‘normal’ way wouldn’t work for him.
He’s raising with such a wide range of weaker hands, that if he suddenly started to check, his opponents would smell something extremely fishy. Why slow down all of a sudden?
Instead, with a style like Hansen’s, when he does have a big hand, hits the flop hard or whatever, he has to generally play it as if it’s one of his other shittier hands that he likes! He gets less respect for his usual starting hands, so will get less respect when he has the nuts. The trap plays itself in this example.

Bets poker traps Gus Hansen

Which Hands Should You Try Not to Trap With?

For beginner’s and those who haven’t really worked out how dangerous trapping is, there are certain hands which will cause you more grief than they are worth – and are more likely to tempt you into trapping -and therefore losing more money – than you otherwise might.
Horrible hands 1: A x suited
Any ace looks pretty of its partner is suited, and flushes are obviously nut flushes, but you really have to be careful if you plan to play these more than occasionally at bigger tables ( 6+)
If you do hit the flop, it’s hard to tell where you stand – if you’re ahead or losing to a bigger Ax for instance, or if you’re drawing to the flush to win, or whatever. Play such hands aggressively, to hide the real strength of it, and don’t get tricky as whatever ‘monster’ you flop is unlikely to be a real monster.
Horrible hands 2: small pairs
Pairs are always nice to look down on pre-flop, and even nicer when you hit two pair or trips on the flop, but they are still far from being the nuts even when you do hit. A bigger two pair, counterfeit pairs, and bigger trips are all possibilities – so trying to trap here can come unstuck.
Be aware of the board, not just the part which hit your own hand! Opponents have the right to hit hands and play trappily too!
Horrible hands 3: paint cards
Almost a guarantee of getting in trouble if played too often and too early and for a host of other reasons! And if you start adding in tricky/trappy plays, things can go from bad to worse.
Say your KQ off hit the flop as top pair good kicker, what then? It’s not the best kicker, so anyone with the A is at least hanging around. How do you respond to your ‘tricky’ check-raise plan when your opponent re-raises you?
If you have locked yourself into thinking that you’re trapping somebody, it can be difficult to sow-down and admit that maybe you’re already way behind in the hand. And face cards are just so damn attractive-looking that this is what happens a lot of the time!

Best poker traps Cards
To conclude our trappy play article, here’s what Blogbharti.com has to say:
Trapping in poker can be a rewarding skill when used effectively, and equally self-destructive when used incorrectly. Being able to trap effectively - and avoiding the jaws of your own trap - will result in more chips in your stack and a more respectable table image among your fellow players. By saving trapping for situations where it is almost impossible for your hand to be caught, your results will improve.
And that, my Weaktight friends, is the main thing to remember!

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