This is a discussion on Thinking/Hand Selection within the online poker forums, in the Cash Games section; Sorry in advance for the length of the post.
First off, I am not new to the game of poker. Played on and off for
First off, I am not new to the game of poker. Played on and off for over 10 years now. I thought I was serious about the game at many other points in my career. I feel I am truly taking it seriously now. I am reading any chance I get and really trying to learn the right way. I have a lot of bad habits I am trying to break. I thought I should start with the foundation as has been stated almost everywhere. I purchased CTM. Roughly halfway through it. I play on WSOP.com in Nevada. Mainly 2NL.
My first task is to put together my own starting hand selection guide. I want to put it together and understand it. I don't want to call or raise a hand just because someone said so. I need to learn how to THINK about poker. I am trying to learn to think the right way. This has been hardest for me.
So I have started trying to figure out my starting hand selection and I began to think deeper than I have before. I would like someone to let me know if I am on the right track here.
Example: I am starting off with hands I would open with from EP. I am thinking TT+, AKs, AKo. That was basically what I had written down. Then I began to ask: "What about AJs? or KQs?" and that made me think even more. I was thinking it depends on the table. Depends on what you know about the opponents at the table. Some nights when I am on, the table will be super tight. I can't get a caller from any position when I raise, even at 3x just hoping to see a flop. If it happens to be one of those tables and I am UTG with AJs I might want to raise. However, I thought if I do raise here, any hand that calls me is generally ahead of me or very close to a coin flip. If I get called at a table where all players are fairly tight it will be with a range of probably TT+, AK, AQs, maybe other like JTs, ATs. I am only ahead of a couple hands I would put into his range at this point. So I should ask: does this hand hit the flop hard enough, often enough to make this raise profitable? I find the answer to be NO here so I should just fold this hand from UTG?
The above is a situation I find myself in often. These hands on the cusp of premium but not quite. And I never know what to do. My main question is, am I THINKING correctly? Not necessarily was my conclusion correct but am I thinking about the game correctly?
an answer to if I came to the correct conclusion about the specific AJs scenario is welcome as well.
Are you playing 6 max or full ring? Raise first in (RFI) is going to depend a lot on your initial position. For full ring you should probably start around 3% UTG and then gradually increase to 50% by the time you get to the button. In the SB you should open first in around 30% of the time. I think UTG (in full ring) you are on the right track with TT+ and AK. AQs is probably playable there. AJo is a loser first in 9 or 10 handed but becomes playable after 3 players have folded.