I've been mixing it up with raising and limping but I'm playing small pairs almost always - I'm pretty surprised some are folding, they just carry too much value not to play them.
Raising carries the added value of having the lead in the hand, taking down a lot more pots UI and balancing our hand range but also comes with the risk of getting reraised off our hand. Limping gives us a much higher chance of seeing a flop and thus flopping a set, but we give ourselves up to those who play positional poker - people could raise with 97s in position on us and take down the pot UI on the flop, forcing us off the best hand.
Ultimately it depends on the styles of the people at the table - I'll usually limp more often at the lower stakes since there tend to be more unobservant people who won't know a set mine if it slapped them in the face. They also won't play positional squeezes on you. At the higher stakes people love to isolate with position, so we lose our implied odds and the initiative in the hand, so I usually raise.
Call. Basically our money comes from implied odds against other big hands. This includes high pocket pairs, AK that flops top pair, and other top pair/2-pair type hands. If we raise this preflop we risk the majority of these hands 3-betting us, and we're no longer getting implied odds to call and probably have to fold. But if we limp, most of those hands will raise which we can then call and play for set value. I'll raise a lot more the later position I have because then I'm playing more for steal value as the odds of someone having a big hand decreases. But from UTG with a small pair I'm limping the majority of the time.
Raise. It means that you will be getting money in the pot so it will be more likely to be a large pot that gives you the implied odds to play these hands aswell as giving you the lead in the hand and allowing you to steal on alot of flops. Lower stakes players tend to slowplay there big hands to much or be really obvious that the have AA/KK to make worring about the 3 bet not much of an issue.
sometimes im calling against players with 8:1 or 9:1 odds with small pp's as i know they will never let there AA/KK go no matter what the flop.
Example from today:
GAME #16923093630: HOLD'EM NO LIMIT ($0.10/$0.25) - 2008/04/22 - 19:15:10 (ET)
Table 'Ausonia' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: Jitz ($28.40 in chips)
Seat 2: Piri1 ($5 in chips)
Seat 4: drunoo ($14.40 in chips)
Seat 5: niisama ($25.10 in chips)
Seat 6: ennis ($16.40 in chips)
Seat 7: T2CARTER ($18.60 in chips)
Seat 9: Munchers94 ($25.35 in chips)
ennis: posts small blind $0.10
T2CARTER: posts big blind $0.25
swytersoft: sits out
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Munchers94 [4c 4d]
Munchers94: raises $0.75 to $1
ennis is sitting out
T2CARTER: raises $2 to $3
Munchers94: calls $2
*** FLOP *** [Qd 7s 4s]
T2CARTER: bets $3
Munchers94: calls $3
*** TURN *** [Qd 7s 4s] [3c]
T2CARTER: bets $12.60 and is all-in
Munchers94: calls $12.60
*** RIVER *** [Qd 7s 4s 3c] [3d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
T2CARTER: shows [Ks Kh] (two pair, Kings and Threes)
Munchers94: shows [4c 4d] (a full house, Fours full of Threes)
Munchers94 collected $35.50 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $37.30 | Rake $1.80
Board [Qd 7s Ts 3c 3d]
Seat 1: Jitz folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Piri1 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: drunoo folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: niisama (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: ennis (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 7: T2CARTER (big blind) showed [Ks Kh] and lost with two pair, Kings and Threes
Seat 9: Munchers94 showed [4c 4d] and won ($35.50) with a full house, Fours full of Threes
just realized i was gettin 6:1 but you still ge the idea about what im saying.