Originally Posted by KenFischer
I agree with everything else, but not with this one point - if you play pairs differently than other hands from the same position, I think that you are giving away too much information.
In an ideal situation you won't be opening the pot (and can just limp or call along with someone else) but if you are first in a raise is generally the correct play.
Yes, you are right. "Never" was definately not the right word to use.
It stands to reason that you should not change your strategy specifically to get in cheap with small pairs. However, I think if there are any starting hands that you should avoid raising (when limped around), small pairs are it!
If you are making a position raise, you are doing it regardless of your hole cards. The value of position play is not debatable.
The problem with putting in a 1st raise with these hands is that you cannot justify calling a reraise even against someone who will play ATC any time. Small pairs play so bad against random hands.
So coming in raising from early position is a bad idea IMO. You will usually get calls from the hands that have you crushed. You will sometimes get calls from hands that offer a coin flip. Not to mention if this raise is part of a general (& quite viable) strategy of always coming in raising, you won't get alot of folds from hands that have you beat.
Lastly, flopping a set is arguably the best hand you can flop because of the inherent stealth that comes with it. I would rather flop a set (without a board pair)than a straight, a flush, quads...well...anything...
Along with the fold equity that comes with your raise, you are folding out the huge action you may get when you occasionally make your set. It is one of the few ways you can get solid players to stack off with hands like top pair and 2pair. Much better than playing a set against a legitimate draw from the flop.
This could be called a fringe discussion, with multiple plays being "correct" depending on the situation. Still I say that if you raise with small pairs in situations where you may limp with ANY other starting hands, you should rethink it.