Hello again good people, I would just like to start a thread outlining my basic basic pre-flop strategy. Been playing for cash now a couple months and feel I am now beating the rake (breaking even) I've gained some good pointers from this forum and would like to give something back, I reckon I am in a position now to offer a little advice to a complete novice!
Ok I play 9 handed cash microstakes and generally buy in for around 50-75 big blinds. I feel this is plenty to make the most of the hands that I play without risking too much cash to possibly thoughtless stupidy (I tend to leave the table when I've made a dolllar or two or see threat from another big stack, always seeking easier weaker prey) It gives me the leway to set-mine with low pocket pairs though these are at present the only speculative hands I concern myself with. I have tried suited and gap-suited connectors but I feel I lack the discipline to fold that middle pair when I have SORT-OF hit the flop, in short I get carried a long and leak chips whenever I play them so untill I figure out a winning strategy I will be folding them for now.
I have a strict fold/raise policy with drawing hands preflop as I like to either be in control of the betting or cutting my losses and waiting for the next hand. The exception being pocket pairs where I will occasonally call a raise or a re-raise and atleast see the flop with a made hand. I always open with a 4 big blind raise, no more, no less, whether I am under the gun with rockets, in mid position with JTs or stealing the blinds with a tail wagging K9. Obviously this has its drawbacks. Sometimes I dont get value out of monster hole cards or my raise doesnt cut through the limpers but on the whole it works. Plus I feel I gain by being pretty much unreadable... I hope!
To me, that 6 big blind raise just screams "I am weak and don't want any action and the minimum raise at the cut-off says "I want you to call!" I think good poker is not giving your enemies any more info than is necessary.
Apart from AA and KK which I want to take all the way pre-flop regardless, I divide my starting hands in to three groups, late, mid to late and any position hands. They are as follows.
88 K9s T9s A8s Q9s J9s AJ A5s and 77
Mid and late, all of the above plus:
ATs QJs KTs QTs JTs 99 AQ A9s KQ
Any position, all above plus:
QQ AKs JJ AQs KQs AJs KJs TT AK
I will also call mid pairs in ealy position and low pairs in late, calling raises to set-mine if stack sizes permit.
For stealing blinds from the cut-off, the button and occasionally the SB I use the following as a general guide:
Any 2 cards both 9 and up, any ace or any suited King, any suited queen with a 6 or higher. Any suited jack with a 7 or higher, suited 8 with atleast a 9 and any unsuited king with a 7 or higher.
I also play late position only hands from a late-medium positon if no-one has yet shown interest and for that matter, with no callers I loosen up when playing from the hijack.
Lastly when playing from the BB and all action has folded around to the SB, if he merely calls to fill his blind I will exploit his show of weakness and bad position by raising him (you guessed it, 4 big blinds) regardless of what I am holding.
All this results in a VPIP of around 22%, a blind stealing attempt frequency of 40% and pre-flop raise of about 18%.
What do you guys think of my strategy? I consider myself to be a fairly aggressive player but do I need to tighten up. I have not mentioned post-flop play as I doubt I will have room but I know it needs improving. Do you guys see any obvious improvements or areas where I may be going wrong, maybe the fixed raise or hand selection?
Look forward to your thoughts and replies.
EDIT: One last thing as I know you guys will doubt the reason in playing from a chart. All of the above is a general guide. I adapt a little to the present situaton depending of how it "feels" and if the table becomes short handed, or with short stacks. If I stuck to it religiously I would be a fair bit tighter but I think that looser and versatile if far better than tight, weak predictable poker? Ok, over to you!