Its a hard thing for me sometimes and I will be honest, i lost myself at least 2-3 strong finishes by going out on the bubble because i didn't.

 

For me in the micro stakes, when someone bets into me, they usually have it.

I am not talking about the people who C-bet or on an unbet flop, bluff the turn. I am talking about the ones that are chucking their chips into the pot faster than you can blink. Sometimes they are the preflop raiser but either way you know these guys when you see them.

 

Say you have AK and you get limps all the way to you in the BB, you raise it up enough to push all but 2 people off.

Flop comes A-4-6 and you bet it, you get a call and then you get a raise. You have top pair, top kicker so what could this guy have? - In this spot it is easy to assume AJ/AQ, another AK - a weak ace is possible but would reckon they call the bet rather than raise.

You decide to call the raise, you are confident in your AK and reckon that they will take your call of their raise to represent strength. The 3rd guy gets out.

The turn comes 9, you bet it again and get raised again, this time the raise is a shove.

You still love your AK and decide to call - he shows A-4 for two pair and wins the pot

 

It didn't need to be trips here, a simple two pair vs pair was enough and after the cards are shown it is obvious that is why he was betting so strong.

 

Don't get me wrong, there will be people that will bet AT in that spot the same way as two pair and you can have them beat but with that much action, Top pair wasn't dominating enough to stay in the hand and the player should have at best, realized that at the flop but at worst, got away at the turn.

 

Although I knew this before and have had to re-learn it, the best advice goes like this.

The stronger the bet to you, the more you have to be dominating.

Top pair, top kicker is dominating with weak action but the second the heat is turned up, you need to have something meatier or bail on the hand. After all there are plenty of spots where you can get better action and if you don't feel you are dominating with an opponent calling station to your big bets, no need to shove at them, a small bet or check on the river can be good enough.

 

The key thing is that you might lose a small portion of your stack bailing on someone firing barrel after barrel at you and forcing you to fold but you will lose your entire stack more often than not if you fail to believe them.