Continuing from my last post, I’ve got another big, basic strategy mistake I see even a lot of good players make in the $15-30 fixed limit game I play in. The mistake is this: they don’t adjust their strategy to the fact that it’s a kill game.
For those of you unfamiliar with what a kill is, here’s how it works; if a player wins two pots in a row, the next hand become double the stakes (in this case, $30-60) and the player who “killed” it has to put a live $30 in the pot (live meaning it counts as the player’s call of the big blind, as opposed to just being dead money in the pot). In most games, there is a certain amount of money the second pot has to be over in order to qualify as a kill. In our game it’s 10 times the small blind, or $150. (Here’s a link to the Wikipedia definition of ‘kill game’.)
What this means is that players should be playing more tight than usual after winning a pot. This is because you are essentially “punished” for winning two pots in a row by having to pay $30. Essentially, if you win two pots in a row, you are essentially losing one BB (big bet) (in actuality it is a bit less than one big bet because you will always have some equity in the following hand, but you’re still losing most of that bet in the long run.)
So in order to enter the pot after the hand you win, you must have a better than average hand. In other words, you should not be making a slim pre-flop raise with the intention of stealing, because if you’re in such a situation, chances are that if you do end up winning that pot and killing it, the pot will only just be over the minimum $150, and then that small pot will have $30 taken out of it when you have to put up your forced bet.
Additionally, if you do make that slim pre-flop raise and end up taking down a small pot, even if it’s not a kill, you still are on the verge of having a kill, so the very next hand you will still have to take into account these considerations again. Better to just fold the marginal hand you were thinking about raising with and get the kill off you.
After I’ve just won a pot, I’ll sometimes find myself in late position with a bunch of folds in front of me, looking down at K9 suited or something and then telling myself “no, just fold–it’s not worth it in this situation.”
This seems like common sense to me, but you’d be surprised how many young, aggressive players actively pursue getting the kill pot going, like it’s a badge of honor or exciting in some way to be the one to make it a kill pot. People actually seem to play looser than they usually would. People talk about “okay, going for the kill”, and some of that is just silly talk, but some of the players actually mean it. It’s also true that these players want to play higher (because the full $30-60 game only goes once a week) so they are fiending a bit for action.
And even though you yourself should be playing tighter the hand after you win a pot, you should encourage other players’ pursuit of the kill as much as you can. That kind of behavior is definitely good for the game and good for your bottom line (assuming you’re comfortable playing at the kill stakes).