Incorrect poker concepts: Single street thinking

incorrect written on paper

I often see errors in the thinking process of many players that participate in deep stacked cash games. One such error is single street thinking. If you play with a shallow stack for example like what you have in many tournament situations or if you buy in short in a cash game then quite often your only decision will be whether to stack off or not. This simplifies the game tremendously but in deep stacked play then life isn’t quite so straight forward. For example, when you have enough big blinds to play through the streets then single street thinking is very harmful and in fact detrimental to your poker game.

Let us look at an example here to show you what I mean. It is folded around to the cut-off player that raises to 3.5bb and you have the 9-8s on the button with 100bb effective stacks. You decide to call because you have a playable hand in position (single street thinking). Now at this stage there is nothing wrong with calling and calling is the probable optimal play. However what is poor poker here is not in whether or not you call but in what your overall game plan is in each possible scenario.

Let us say that with 8bb in the pot you flop a straight draw with the 7c-6c-2s and your opponent bets 7bb. You are barely getting 2/1 on your call and so you decide to fold as your tight opponent isn’t giving you implied odds. This is chronic single street thinking that has no place in deep stacked winning online poker play. You simply cannot call pre-flop and fold this easily. You are better off being aggressive and making aggressive semi-bluffs and being called than doing this.

At least that way you have fold equity but playing like this gives you no fold equity. This position on the flop should be at least a call for any strong solid poker player. You cannot use pot odds to make a good poker decision here because pot odds are more in conjunction with limit play than no limit play. Here you have the perfect combination of pot equity and fold equity. The pot equity is the eight outs to the straight plus your overcard outs which could give you the best hand.

The fold equity comes from the fact that your opponent may not even have a hand worth talking about and may fold to a flop raise or succumb to pressure if you call. Sometimes your opponents bet sizing gives them away on the turn and they bet less on the turn as a percentage of the pot than they did on the flop.

This is a good indication that your opponent desires pot control and is not prepared to play a big pot. If I ever get the feeling that my opponent desires pot control then I look to raise the pot to a high level and place as much heat down as possible.