Being either way ahead or way behind in poker is a pretty frequent occurrence. Basically, it focuses on the premise that in various situations, you will be so far ahead in the hand that your opponent will be drawing slim or even drawing dead, or that you will be so far behind your opponent that you will be the player facing a dead or slim draw. You can surmise that you may be facing a way ahead/way behind situation when your hand is strong, but the cards on the board show extremely slim chances of improvement. Let’s look at an example to better explain the way ahead/way behind concept.
You’re in middle position with and you bet four times the big blind and watch as the player on the button calls your bet while the rest of the table folds. The flop arrives as , which gives you two pair including top pair, but only 9 as a kicker. This is a prime example of the way ahead/way behind concept. Your opponent will most likely have you beat with a higher kicker (A-K, A-Q, A-J) or may even be holding a 10 for a set. Or you may be way ahead of your opponent if he doesn’t have an Ace or 10 and has hole cards more along the lines of K-Q, K-J, Q-J or a mid or low pocket pair.
In either scenario, neither you nor your opponent is likely to win this hand if way behind. In way ahead/way behind situations, you will have either very little chance of winning the hand or very little chance of losing. So how should you play such hands? Well, that is where it gets tricky. If you choose to play aggressively, you are likely to scare away an opponent who is way behind. But if you are the player who is way behind, aggressive play would lead you into the trap of betting and throwing away money when you have very little chance of winning the hand.
The best play in way ahead/way behind situations is to take a passive approach, allowing your opponent to bet or make a play. If your table rival has the way behind hand, you are giving him the opportunity of mistakenly betting while holding the worst hand. And if you passively check while you hold the worst hand, you are more likely to minimize your losses. In fact, way ahead/way behind situations are the few times that strong hands should be slowplayed intentionally.
As is readily apparent, it is often difficult to determine who is way ahead or way behind in the hand. That’s why passively checking and calling is generally seen as the better play in order to reduce your losses. You cannot make a true value bet while being unsure if you are ahead or behind, so the best option is to entice your opponent to bluff or make a bad bet. If you take an aggressive approach, you will lose money over the long haul because you may be throwing more money into the pot of a losing hand.
Before you choose to play passively, make sure that you are indeed in a way ahead/way behind situation. Such scenarios are dependent upon the likelihood that drawing possibilities for either player are slim. For instance, if the board contains two or more same suited cards that could lead to a flush or connecting cards that could materialize into a straight, then the situation would fail to fall under the way ahead/way behind concept because of the drawing possibilities. So keep that in mind when evaluating whether or not you are facing a way ahead/way behind situation.
Situations of being way ahead or way behind are common when playing no-limit Texas Hold’em. Its crucial to make sure that the way ahead/way behind scenario exists before you play passively. If you fail to recognize way ahead or way behind circumstances properly and play passively when such a situation is not in play, then you will tend to lose money by weak and passive poker playing. So make sure that the drawing possibilities are slim or possibly dead before labeling the situation as way ahead/way behind.
The way to properly identify a way ahead/way behind situation is by considering how the remainder of the hand may play out and what cards your opponent is calling or betting with. By using logic and reason, your decision-making should be on the money many more times than not. Just remember that if drawing possibilities for either player are slim or dead, it is likely that a way ahead/way behind situation exists. Play accordingly when you do recognize such a scenario and your profitability will improve.