About starting hands

F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
As I was backtracking through the blog, I re-read XD's post about loosening up online, and I have a couple of things I want to say about that:

When talking about loosening up - specifically in limit hold'em - it's imperative to understand that adding marginal hands to your starting selection will more often than not be just that: Marginal. A hand like J9s limped from late position with not too many people in the pot will not, on average, make you a lot of money. Nor will it lose you a lot of money, because it has an expectation of about 0, or slightly above. The "slightly above" qualifier depends entirely on who else is in the pot. If you're an exceptional post-flop player, you can turn a lot of hands into positive expectation, but the effects will still be marginal, when thought of in terms of BB/100 (big bets won over 100 hands).

Now, I'm the first to acknowledge that pushing the small edges is the key in limit poker - what separates winners from losers. But for a lot of players, playing marginal hands will simply place them in the red, because they won't be able to get enough payback when they do hit a hand. Therefore, I'll argue that if you're not a long-term winner, you would do best to go back to playing only very strong hands and practise your post-flop play with those. The extra edge that you can get from playing marginal hands is something that experienced - winning - players can toy around with. But if you're looking to break a little bit of profit, tread carefully and stick with proven strong hands.

That said, I want to add that the emphasis a lot of people have with starting hands has gotten a little bit out of hand. Playing tightly pre-flop is important, but ultimately, the money you win will depend on how you handle yourself post-flop. I think it's likely that the pre-flop hysteria comes partially from how "easy" it is to learn how to play correctly pre-flop: "Just follow this chart." But the money isn't made pre-flop, and the charts are written by people who know how to play the given hands when the community cards hit the table.

I'd like to see a discussion on this, if anyone's interested.

Cheers,
FP

PS. On a not-completely unrelated topic, I'm going to guess that for a lot of people, a poweful hand like AK is not a long-term winner, precisely because people play it so poorly post-flop. I think a discussion about playing AK will deserve its own thread though.
 
SexyAceJoker

SexyAceJoker

Guest
Well my little words of wisdom on this, I usually play tight aggresive Limit ring game poker. I have a strong starting hand selection, and i usually raise taking in consideration position, i think not only in hand terms but also on position.

For example you mentioned AK, i will raise AK anywhere as it is a strong hand to start with, wether its suited or not.

Lets say im in late position and get two early position callers ( BB and player to his left ) flop comes 9J5, BB checks, second player checks to you , this is a bet ? you need to be aggressive , you have the position and it was checked to you , you get 1 call, from the BB and other player folds, turn is say a 3 , and he checks you once again fire at the pot. AK could hold for its own and if you get called simply fold in the river to a bet . you are most likely beat, unless you improve . This type of play is usually very rewarding ( atleast it has been to me ) you need to consider opponent skill level and play style, but if you usually show strength post flop, and on the turn , and river opponent will most likely fold. Im not sure if my post was correct here but considering you mentioned AK :)
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
The general advice for new players is to play very tight preflop, and one of the reasons for this is that playing very tightly preflop makes postflop decisions so much easier. Most of the time you're going to be betting/raising with your overpair on a non-threatening board, value betting with TPGK, playing sets+ strongly and check-folding hands that miss the flop.

If you play J9s and hit top pair for example, you have a potentially tricky postflop situation. You could be outkicked, or could be up against a calling station or maniac who has bottom pair or nothing, and this is where reads become important, and asking a pretty new player to read someone's hand baased on their previous actions in the hand and in the game as a whole is asking a lot, whereas an experienced player would often be able to evaluate the situation and conclude whether it would be worthwhile to see a showdown if the board bricks on the turn and river.

...and I'm guilty of misplaying AK on several occasions (bluffing into calling stations with nothing when they have bottom pair etc), but it's still one of my biggest long-term winners.
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
Dorkus Malorkus said:
...and I'm guilty of misplaying AK on several occasions (bluffing into calling stations with nothing when they have bottom pair etc), but it's still one of my biggest long-term winners.
Yeah, I've donked quite a few chips into calling stations with AK as well. When I say misplaying AK, I mean people who actually call down to the river with only ace high. Betting ace high is one thing - calling with it is rarely the right thing to do. Especially when you might be reverse-dominated.
 
Rockbuster

Rockbuster

Rock Star
i must agree in low limit there are many chasers and calling stations. Position bets and tight play is excellent advice especially to beginners and intermediate players. Play your strong starting aggresively and strong like previously mention in the posts before mine words of wisdom on low limit games. The 4 letter word fold can be done on turn or river if someone comes over the top of you and you havent helped your hand.................Rock
 
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