Let's talk about some basic poker strategy. I'm going to be playing in a charity tournament tonight, and I like to think about my strategy going in. I'm going to assume that if you're reading this then you are a poker player and know the progression of hands. I'm going to assume that you know how to figure out how many 'outs' you have. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or hit me up on facebook, twitter, etc..
When you are in the hand you also need to keep track of the pot size. This will help you determine your pot odds. There are so many people who misuse the term "pot odds". I'm convinced that half of the people I come across who use that term have no clue what it means. Pot odds is a comparison of bet size, pot size, and your percentage chance of winning the hand. For example, You have Ace King of diamonds with a flop that has two diamons on an unpaired board. The bet is 150 into a pot of 500. Let's say you have a good read on the player who bet, and are certain that they have top pair, which happens to be one of your diamonds, and he has an ace or king kicker. You can't be sure your ace or king hitting would be good, so you only count your flush outs which would give you 9. Using the quick and dirty rule of 2 and 4, if you see both cards then you have around a 36% chance to hit your flush(not exact), and if you see one more card you have around 18% chance (again not exact). If you think the next bet is going to be big then you want to use the smaller number, and if you think they may check it or bet small then you can use the bigger number.
Knowing where you are in the tournament will let you know if you want to take that risk. If your pot odds comparison is 4/3 like in the previous example then you need to evaluate your risk vs. the reward. What if you are short stacked in the tournament, and that bet size that gives you the 4/3 pot odds is for 1/3 of your entire chipstack. You are committing yourself to the pot when you have less than a 50/50 shot at winning. It makes more sense to raise and go all in than it does to call here. Maybe someone will folt and increase your chances of winning. It makes more sense to fold and wait for a better opportunity also. You have to evaluate your risk vs. reward. That's why a lot of times I won't look at my cards in the small blind unless there is a raise. If there are 2 callers and it doesn't look like the big blind is going to raise then you are getting 7 to 1 on your money. Most of the time your chances of winning with any 2 random cards against 3 players is going to be better than 15%. I have a really hard time folding when I'm getting 8 to 1 or better on my money in a pot. I've done it before but hated folding in that situation.
I could go on and on talking about position, bluffing, checking dark, etc.. etc.. In the future I may go into depth on each of those subjects. I do plan on continuing with bringing fictional characters to the poker table. Maybe next time I can play a few hands with Groot.