Hand Selection Preflop vs Table Image

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phatjose

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So this is more of a generic question rather than something that is associated with a specific hand. I generally try and keep a tighter image at the tables I am at, so that I can have some success with bluffing if/when I choose to do so. However, occasionally I have had situations where I will run into a rush of cards from early position or the blinds that I can't really lay down (ie big aces or big pocket pairs), followed by small suited connectors when I get to the button/co.

When this happens I tend to just fold out the small connectors, even with position, knowing that my image will get shot if I play them, and if I do play them (read open raise), I'm going to get 4-5 callers and I better hope I hit the flop hard. So my question is, does anyone else do this or should I abandon this practice and start playing them since I would normally play them with position and being the first to raise?
 
aliengenius

aliengenius

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I don't really understand your post.

If you had to show down your big hands (from early position) you may get a lot of credit when you raise in position otb w your more marginal holdings: why would you assume getting many callers? Further, the hands you are talking about (suited connectors and small pairs) actually WANT several players in the pot, as they are most profitable that way.

Also, no one said you had to show your late position cards down (esp. if you miss vs. several opponents)...
 
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phatjose

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Sorry I guess I should have been more specific. What I meant is that I get a bunch of strong hands that I don't end up showing down. Either I hit the hand and bet it, or I have an over pair, and bet that. I then end up getting more marginal hands where I have position, but now when I do raise with them, half the table calls (this has happened a couple of times now).

Now, I know that this is what I want when I can hit the hand, but is it worthwhile in the long term if people are viewing me as a much looser player than I normally am? While this is certainly good for a ring game, I can see how it would not be as beneficial in the late stages of a tournament when you need to steal to support yourself.
 
aliengenius

aliengenius

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Sorry I guess I should have been more specific. What I meant is that I get a bunch of strong hands that I don't end up showing down. Either I hit the hand and bet it, or I have an over pair, and bet that. I then end up getting more marginal hands where I have position, but now when I do raise with them, half the table calls (this has happened a couple of times now).

Now, I know that this is what I want when I can hit the hand, but is it worthwhile in the long term if people are viewing me as a much looser player than I normally am? While this is certainly good for a ring game, I can see how it would not be as beneficial in the late stages of a tournament when you need to steal to support yourself.

It's so situational that I find it hard to answer your question.

Yes, you should be aware that you will not be able to steal as much if you have been active and not shown down many hands. However, this can also be a spot where you get paid off when you hit big (w hands like suited connectors, etc.), as no one will want to continue to believe you have the goods. So, I would argue that, no, you don't want to not play those hands in position (double neg = play them). However, you may want to stop making pure positional steals w atc during this time in your table image.
 
dj11

dj11

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Any time you can get above average early in a tourney do it. I know exactly what you are talking about, and it sometimes concerns me also. Perhaps it is a mind set that I need to work through real fast, but for the most part I'm happier getting rags early, stuff I really have to muck. Makes decisions easier that way.

It's those sessions where I start out with gangbuster cards that concern me, well at least the first one, until I win it.

Once I'm above average, if I get those connectors, I consider them gold.
 
Steveg1976

Steveg1976

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If I understand your question, it is a part of poker. Table image is as important as the cards that you are dealt sometimes. Being aware of how people at the table view you is important becuase you need to change with the natural ebb and flow a game. That doesn't always mean something as simple as loosening up when everyone tightens up. Like you said if you catch a string of great cards but never have to show them down, people are going to think you are a bully and need to be stopped. Perfect time to tighten up even more and stack someone. if you have been getting away with murder and catching great cards time to bet like you are trying to steal again and hope someone decided now is the time to stand up to you with lower cards.
 
goozik

goozik

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It really depends on two things I think.
How did you play your big hand from the blind? Did you raise preflop after some limpers? You raise PF after one raise and no callers? Did you make the "table standard" raise? Or did you show stregth and get HU for the flop? If you reraise, or raise big after limpers then you can't limp in or do a "standard" raise with your draw hands OTB, w/out giving partial information away. If your doing a standard raise or just calling a raise preflop, then you can do your standard raise with draw hand in pos. If you play them both the same no one is gonna know which is which, and you can use that to your advatage espically when your normaly tight.

The second thing it depends on is the amount of calls/limps/raises in front of you. If a family pot is brewing, then your limp in with suited connectors is perfect and not "lessing" your image. If a couple callers and no raises to you, can you do the same thing you just did with your moster against the people who are already in the pot,win w/out having to show? Then raise it and play it. If you can't take it down w/out showing against the people who already have chips in the pot, and the pot is still small along with the blinds, then preserve your table image and play your game.
 
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