re: Poker & Instant Thoughts when in a hand
This is a start, but to truly improve at this game one needs to think of ranges.
Think of it like this.
NLHE 9-max (for ease). I am UTG (again for ease).
I raise, what types of hands would I do this with? Well QQ/AK+. I may have a random bluff in there to take advantage of the tight image but we'll ignore that.
This is my RANGE of hands. All of the hands that I COULD have. We use this information to decide how to play the hand.
Villain calls on the button. We need to assign him a range, what would he do this with? We assume he's decent.
His range COULD consist of, all PP's, SC's maybe A-rag.AQ. That's what I would think of anyway. How do we do this? well we need to think about what he would do that with and why. He knows my range is strong. He knows that 3-betting hands like 1010/JJ is probably wrong. He also knows that if he hits a set he could get paid off. Hands like SC's play really well. You either flop or something or not, and they can make big hands against my tight opening range.
So he would play hands that could hit the flop and stack me. He isn't likely to have AA/KK/AK as he would re-raise pre-flop.
Now we have the flop. (Notice I haven't given either of us a hand yet?)
So what does this mean? Our range is QQ/AK+. This means we have a great flop. It hits our range well, and strengthens our starting RANGE. We could have made TPTK, a set, overpair or one over card. Although we could have a hand that isn't so strong now (QQ) our RANGE is strong.
Now we look at his RANGE. PP's and SC's, maybe A-rag/AQ. So this flop doesn't hit his range. He isn't likely to have a king here, and the only other hands that he can be confident with are 77/22 for sets. Sure e could have KQ, but compared to his entire range we are strong.
How we play this is a completely different matter though and I'm not going to go into that, but I hope I've introduced some ideas. We shouldn't be thinking about our hand or his hand, it's his range of hands we need to look at.
Remember think of a starting range and after each card cut it down depending on how your opponent reacts. Don't forget other things though, like betting for value and protecting your hand. Use all the available information to help decide an opponents range. Also download Pokerstove and play around with it. It's free and it's a great tool, to get an idea of what ranges look like.