big hands/pairs & meta-game considerations
Big pairs have been getting a bunch of attention on the board in several different threads. I don't want to post in all of them, so I thought I would start over here.
There is a point I would like to make that no one else has seemed to mention yet: if you don't raise with you big pairs, you may not be disguising them very well at all !
Consider your table image: if you are raising every time you enter a pot, then suddenly limp, alarm bells will be going off in your opponents heads.
The very simple point I want to make is this: you have to be willing to play the nuts/big hands strongly if you expect people to believe you when you act strongly.
Ideally we want an aggressive style where we are not card contingent to win, and where our opponents fear us; and to do this we need our opponents to fold. If your table sees that you are playing big hands straight and fast they are going to have that seed of doubt every time they think about standing up to your aggression.... and that's a good thing.
This doesn't just apply to big pairs, but can be extrapolated to threads like the one where a very tight player asked for help because he wasn't getting any action. Some advice suggested he slow play some of his bigger hands, but the better advice is to loosen up and take advantage of his image. A lot of the "big pair" discussion is on the other end of the scale-- you need to exploit a loose image and get paid off when you have a monster.