In this discussion, I will introduce you to a rule I made for myself early in my poker career, a rule that has helped me place well in poker tournaments. I call this rule the “No Point Rule.” For example, if I am holding a decent hand, lets say Ace-Jack suited, and there is a raise, and then an even larger reraise, I’ll fold. There’s just no point in me risking that many chips with AJ suited. It’s possible that I could have the best hand but not likely. I could have high cards to a pocket pair, but I’m not going to risk chips there either.
At its simplest level, the no point rule says that a player should throw away decent looking hands when faced with a lot of pressure early in a tournament against a stack that could hurt you. Early in a tournament, I’ll play a lot of hands, hoping to get a helpful board. Through this method I’ll hopefully begin to accumulate chips, thereby making the no point rule optional instead of mandatory. The no point rule serves as a restraint, forcing me to have excellent hands when I risk a lot of my chips.
While its main use is during the early stages of a tournament, when chip stacks are relatively close, the no point rule can be applicable throughout the tournament. At a tournament final table, I was the chip leader, with two of the remaining players close behind me. The short stack went all-in when I held pocket 5s. Normally I would call a short stack with a pocket pair, gambling that the player didn’t have a higher pocket pair. However, with two players close behind me, I didn’t want to let them pass me, and I also had a feeling that the short stack had me beat. I folded under the no point rule, and one of my two trailers called. The short stack had pocket jacks and doubled up off of the trailers pocket eights. The no point rule saved me a lot of chips on this hand, and possibly saved me the tournament as well. As it turned out, I used my chip lead to bully the table and become the dominating force. I ended up eliminating the final four players to win that tournament.
As I’ve shown the no point rule can be extremely helpful, but some of you may be asking what happens to the no point rule if you think an opponent is bluffing. The no point rule does have exceptions and believing in a bluff is probably the most often used exception. If you believe that another player is bluffing and you do have the best hand, you should call. I use the no point rule most often when I do not know whether I have the best hand or not. If I’m sure I have the best hand, the no point rule becomes irrelevant. The no point rule is most effective when used when you are not sure if you hold the best hand. It also makes sense to ignore the no point rule when it is blatantly obvious that someone is trying to push you around. If you’ve been playing conservatively, others are more likely to take chances against you, giving you the opportunity to fold and earn themselves the pot. As with everything in poker, to use the no point rule effectively, you need to know when to ignore it.
Hopefully this technique will help you avoid large losses and play better poker. That is what the no point rule was created to do, and that’s what it has done for me. Use what you’ve learned and start playing for free at an online poker room.