Playing kill pots
A new phenomenon known as kill games has aroused. "A kill" is a general feature that you can add to any poker game in order to spice things a little up. The idea is that when the same player wins a pot twice in a row, the next pot becomes a kill pot. The kill player (a.k.a. the kill button) then has to post a double big blind and all bets in the structure doubles. As a serious poker player you have to understand the implications of this, and how it can work to your advantage. We will investigate this matter using the pokerpistols general framework for playing poker (see strategy guide III). We assume that the kill feature is on a fixed level game.
1. "What cards have you been dealt? The importance of a strong starting hand is gigantic. "
We assume that you don't like risk. This means that you should play more tight in kill hands unless you have the killbutton in non-blind position (look at point2). Instead of trying to scare the others players out early, using the the tight-aggressive style of play we normally suggest on pokerpistols, you could just limp in with many small premium hands and hope for a strong flop. If you try to use the normal value creating strategy of getting people to add to the pot, when you have a good starting hand or scare them out, you just stand the chance of getting a much riskier game than you bargained for, even though you probably could expect to earn more in the long run. You should also realize, that trying to win marginal pots after an initial win, might be bad, because you will have to post a kill blind next time.
2." Yours position in a given hand. It is always best to be the last to bet, then you can base your decisions on the information given by the players first to act. Simply put, you have more available information, when you are last to bet."
If you get a kill hand yourself, the value is increasing in your hand position. It is important that you don't confuse the kill blind with the ordinary blind, because your position is potentially better. This means that you should defend your kill blind harder than an ordinary blind, when you are not in ordinary blind position. Reversely it also means, that you should also expect the kill button to be more defensive of a steal than an ordinary blind. These effects are enlarged if players for psychological reasons seem to participate more in the kill hands of the game.
3." Your position vis-a-vis oppponents that bets and raises a lot. You should always be seated to the left of a player, who bets and raises a lot. When you have strong hand, you can take advantage of the manye bets and raises of a true raisedevil, by raising him and make drawers pay a high price for the next card(s). If your hand is very strong and you want the remaining players to stay in the pot, u can just call the raisedevil. You simply let the raisedevil do the dirty betting work for you, and no suspicion will fall upon your hand before its too late."
This is as true for kill games as any other games. Just be aware of the risk this strategy creates, if the other players for kill reasons are more inclined to go to showdown. On the other hand you can use one or two raisedevils to make it three preflop bets, which makes it difficult for many players to stay in the game - remember that this barrier will be six times a normal bet. Using this strategy you should also expect to get the fourth bet back to you, but it might be an effective weapon in limiting the number of hands in a multiway pot.
4. "The size of the pot. Is the pot size high enough to call a bet, if you are drawing towards a strong hand? "
Kill games may give your higher implied odds, if the other players tend to stay more in kill hands than normal hands. Remember to think of the kill blind you might have to post in the next game, when you compete for small pots - it might alter your decision.
5. "How many players participate in the pot? The participation of many players with a low inclination to fold indicate, that you can expect to be paid well if you show the strongest hand. For example when you are drawing for at nut flush. When you calculate odds in this "expected" way, instead of the actual pot size, it is called implied odds."
6. "How your opponents play in general. Are some of them on tilt due to a fast loss or gain? Do the hands almost always go to showdown? Etc. "
This effect is much bigger in kill games. Players on tilt in a kill are easy preys for the cold headed player who can stay on top of things, even though all blinds have doubled. Since it is riskier to punish a player on tilt, we suggest that you play even tighter than normal in kill games.
7." Bankroll issues. There is no reason for paying (too) high pot odds for a hand, that cannot pay anymore, because the opponents stack of chips is gone. On the other hand you will get to draw cheaply in a hand, where you can go all-in early. At some online poker rooms, where new funds are easily brought to the table, there are players who always are seated with a very small stack of chips. This is because they want to protect themselves against aggressive play, and to exploit the all-in drawing option. "
The all-in option of a small tableroll is of higher value in a kill game than a normal game. On the other hand, you might miss golden opportunities by not having enough money to exploit nut situations. If you are relying heavily on the higher implied odds given in a kill game, remember to take the table roll of your opponents into consideration.
8. "Average pot size. Almost all online poker rooms have statistics on (at least) average pot for each of their tables, these statistics are normally shown in the lobby. This is a good indicator for whether the game I loose or tight or in between. The higher the average pot, the higher the loose play can be expected to be. Remember that a high average pot can happen for in a tight game, if a large number of strong hand vs. strong hand-games has occurred."
If it is possible you should combine the average pot information with number of kill hands in the hands used for calculating the average pot - otherwise you might get a wrong impression of the action level at the table.
If you feel like trying out a kill game, we can recommend Ultimate Bet Poker. They have kill features on several Texas Holdem limit tables. (Just look for the kill indication in the lobby). Off course you should start by playing the low levels. Good luck.
Written by Smith Jones - a writer at PokerPistols.com
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