Back to the basics - good starting hands

K_Kahne_Fan

K_Kahne_Fan

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What would you suggest are good starting hands for early/middle/late positions on a full (9/10) table, half sized (5 or so) table, short table (3) and heads up?

I'm very familiar with the hierarchy of hands, so just give the lowest you would play with and I know what plays above that. I know, I know "it depends", just say you've been checked to and have an average stack. Maybe even list something like your raise and check/call hands.

i.e. Early: (R) JJ+ (C) 88+

Full Table
Early
Middle
Late

1/2-Full or so
Early
Middle
Late

Short Table
Early
Middle
Late

HU
Early
Middle
Late

I think I do pretty good with hand selections, I just tend to forget about position some times and I'll call a raise, or even raise myself with say AJs in early position and not think about the fact that I'll be early to act after the flop. I've seen starting hands lists, but I 1) would like to get CC'ers thoughts 2) haven't seen one designed for various tables.

If it matters I typically play 1 table SNG's
 
zachvac

zachvac

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Well I do cash games not sngs so you'd need to open up more as blinds got higher and your stack got lower compared with the blinds, but I've found this is my general range.

EP: Raise with: AJo+, ATs+, JJ+, limp and call a raise with any other pocket pair (if we have implied odds to set mine)

MP: same as above, plus I'll start limping with a lot of suited connectors if there are callers before me. Also, if unraised and stacks are big enough in front of me, I'll raise with 99-TT now.

LP: With no limpers or raisers, button or one off I'll consider raising ATC. I don't do it every time, but especially with tight opponents, it's a mistake not to take the free money. In position, it's a lot less about the cards I hold than opponents.
 
zachvac

zachvac

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oh, that was all at a full table. When I'm playing cash games I make sure there are at least 7, if it drops down below 7 I leave the table and join another one, one of the benefits of playing online.

Heads up there is no early, middle or late, just button and BB. Playing HU is all about your opponent. A lot of times I'll be in the position of raising ATC. It's not as bad to play rag hands because statistically, if you pair you're likely to be ahead. If you're at a full table with 83 and the flop comes AT3, you're rarely thinking you're ahead. But at HU you very well could be. I don't advocate getting a lot of chips in, but this is about preflop. Preflop you can play ATC HU if you have the right opponent, or you may have an opponent where you only want to play like the top 30% of hands (high for full table, extremely low for HU)
 
B

Bentheman87

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I don't play ring games as much as MTT or sngs, so I'll tell you my basic strategy in the early or middle stages of a tournament, and all of this will be at a full 9 player table. Early position raise with 10 10 +. Raise with AJ os + or AJ suited +. Limp with 66-99 and maybe limp with KQ suited or A10 suited. Middle position, raise with 88+ limp with 44+. Raise or sometimes limp with KJ+ or A10 +. I'll break late position into two groups, CO and the button. CO raise with any pair, raise with A8 os+ or A7 suited +. Raise with KJ os+ or K10 suited+. Button raise with any ace, K8+, raise with medium to large suited connectors.
 
NoWuckingFurries

NoWuckingFurries

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Early position raise with 10 10 +. Raise with AJ os + or AJ suited +. Limp with 66-99 and maybe limp with KQ suited or A10 suited.
Wonder if I'm overrating KQ suited then, I see it as a stronger hand than 66 or AJos, and I probably wouldn't be limping... :questionm :questionm
 
zachvac

zachvac

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Wonder if I'm overrating KQ suited then, I see it as a stronger hand than 66 or AJos, and I probably wouldn't be limping... :questionm :questionm

KQ is very vulnerable because it can't ever make TPTK and thus can be dominated. It's still a decent hand, and I don't mind raising with it, but you have to be extremely careful, even when you flop what you think is a monster. AJ is definitely better than KQ though.
 
NoWuckingFurries

NoWuckingFurries

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KQ is very vulnerable because it can't ever make TPTK and thus can be dominated. It's still a decent hand, and I don't mind raising with it, but you have to be extremely careful, even when you flop what you think is a monster.
Oh that's reassuring, zach. I felt like a right pratt when I folded KQ suited in my B&M tourney last week after two other players went all in, but actually as it panned out I would have won the hand. :ahhhhh:
AJ is definitely better than KQ though.
So KQs isn't much stronger than KQos - AJos is still stronger :questionm
 
K_Kahne_Fan

K_Kahne_Fan

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How bout' this; does anyone know what EVERY hand is ranked % wise preflop, or is that even possible?

22os
23os
23s
24os
24s
.
.
AAs... wait... I mean... os :D
 
zachvac

zachvac

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How bout' this; does anyone know what EVERY hand is ranked % wise preflop, or is that even possible?

22os
23os
23s
24os
24s
.
.
AAs... wait... I mean... os :D

There are plenty of those, and as mentioned in the post just above this, KQ is a great hand in terms of strength. But in a deepstacked game (cash games or early on in a tournament), playability is all that matters. If you're going all-in you may not mind doing it with KQ, but when you have 100 BB, you don't want to lose your stack with KQ and you need to be able to play it after the flop. That's the reason that I would play KQ before A3 preflop although if I'm going all-in I'd rather have A3. The actual rankings are all over the place, google is your friend. Playability depends on how well you can play your hands.
 
K

Khaosk

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I don't know about the %, but the Betfair Hold'em or Fold'em Tool tells you the hand ranking. The problem I have is that all the royal suited pairs it tells you to play aggressively, whereas I am being warned here about weaknesses with KQs, and I trust people here more than I trust Betfair. :D

If there are only two people in the pot, I think ace rag is even better than KQs.

Here are the hands I've mostly cut out playing (sometimes I'll limp)
K-J
Q-10
Q-J
K-10

and to a lesser extent QK. Hands that tend to win you a little money but lose you a bunch.
 
MrMuckets

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1. A-A Pair 86.1%
2. K-K Pair 74.6%
3. A-K Suited 68.6%
4. Q-Q Pair 68.5%
5. A-K Unsuited 67.0%
6. A-Q Suited 64.9%
7. J-J Pair 64.4%
8. 10-10 Pair 60.8%
9. A-Q Unsuited 60.5%
10. A-J Suited 58.6%
11. 9-9 Pair 55.4%
12. K-Q Suited 54.6%
13. 8-8 Pair 51.8%
14. A-10 Suited 50.7%
15. A-J Unsuited 48.9%
16. K-J Suited 45.3%
17. Q-J Suited 44.2%
18. A-8 Suited 41.5%
19. K-10 Suited 40.9%
20. A-9 Suited 40.5%
21. J-10 Suited 40.0%
22. Q-10 Suited 39.4%
23. K-Q Unsuited 39.2%
24. 10-9 Suited 38.3%
25. A-10 Unsuited 34.4%
26. A-7 Suited 33.9%
27. A-4 Suited 30.6%
28. A-5 Suited 29.7%
29. A-6 Suited 29.6%
30. 7-7 Pair 28%

Early position top 10 Late position maybe expand to all 30
 
B

Bentheman87

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Here's why I think KQ suited or os is stronger than ace 9 - ace 2 suited or os. If you play it in early or sometimes mid position its very possible you'll be dominated with both hands, so this fact doesn't make either stronger or weaker. But, with KQ against JJ-77 (what I consider medium pairs) you're about 50% to win, not bad. With ace 9 - ace 2 as you play the weaker aces you're likely to be dominated by pairs (ex. Ace 9 is dominated by 10 10). Also, KQ can make a straight, while the only ace 2 - ace 5, ace 6 - ace 9 can't make a straight.
 
K_Kahne_Fan

K_Kahne_Fan

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Thanks MM.

Looking at the chart though, I play A10s/AJus/KJs/QJs probably more than 8-8 or 9-9, is it right to think I should be playing the otherway around since 8-8 & 9-9 have a better % in that chart? (again "it depends", I know, just general)
 
F

feitr

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Here's why I think KQ suited or os is stronger than ace 9 - ace 2 suited or os. If you play it in early or sometimes mid position its very possible you'll be dominated with both hands, so this fact doesn't make either stronger or weaker. But, with KQ against JJ-77 (what I consider medium pairs) you're about 50% to win, not bad. With ace 9 - ace 2 as you play the weaker aces you're likely to be dominated by pairs (ex. Ace 9 is dominated by 10 10). Also, KQ can make a straight, while the only ace 2 - ace 5, ace 6 - ace 9 can't make a straight.
yep well i dont' think you want to be playing A8 or lower in EP even if suited coz the odds of you winning a hand is next to nothing. You can't really raise with that hand in EP coz you have nothing to follow it up post flop. If you limp you're just going to get raised and probably have to fold. And you're so out of position, that even if you do call a raise you can't raise post flop unless you hit 2 pair anyways. Or the flop comes something like 3 6 8 and you hit tptk.
 
Egon Towst

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I don`t want to rain on your parade, gents, but it is important not to be too rigid in your hand selection. The use of fixed hand charts etc., which you will see advocated by some, makes you easy to read.

When deciding on your action preflop, the considerations are:

Position.
Number of players (if any) in the pot already.
Your reads on them, and on the players still to act.
Your holding.

So, your cards represent one quarter only of the information on which your decision should be based.
 
Lo-Dog

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egg on toast is so smart. :D

I don`t want to rain on your parade, gents, but it is important not to be too rigid in your hand selection. The use of fixed hand charts etc., which you will see advocated by some, makes you easy to read.

When deciding on your action preflop, the considerations are:

Position.
Number of players (if any) in the pot already.
Your reads on them, and on the players still to act.
Your holding.

So, your cards represent one quarter only of the information on which your decision should be based.
 
dj11

dj11

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In any position I would bet KQ off or suited the same as AJ off or suited. However, with KQ any ace on the board instantly slows me way down . WAY down. The strength of the ace can not be minimized.
 
K_Kahne_Fan

K_Kahne_Fan

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Position:
K_Kahne_Fan said:
What would you suggest are good starting hands for early/middle/late positions on a full (9/10) table, half sized (5 or so) table, short table (3) and heads up?


Number of players (if any) in the pot already:
K_Kahne_Fan said:
...just say you've been checked to and have an average stack.

# of players in the pot: 0, exept blinds (with possibly some still to act depending on see: position)


Your reads on them, and on the players still to act:
K_Kahne_Fan said:
I know, I know "it depends",

Figured someone would come out with the "it depends" variable. I am speaking in generalities. I guess there's no reason for anyone to write/read poker books since "it depends".


Your holding:
Now we're down to the main point of this thread, which is even in the title... starting hands.

So, I think my original post takes care of 75% of your points since there's no real way to cover your #3. And no, no one should ever follow those charts by heart, you can obviously come in UTG with 72o and hit a 7-7-2 flop, but your AA is going to hold up a lot more often than 72o. So, this is just a general question of (again)...

K_Kahne_Fan said:
What would you suggest are good starting hands for early/middle/late positions on a full (9/10) table, half sized (5 or so) table, short table (3) and heads up?
 
NoWuckingFurries

NoWuckingFurries

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Here's why I think KQ suited or os is stronger than ace 9 - ace 2 suited or os. If you play it in early or sometimes mid position its very possible you'll be dominated with both hands, so this fact doesn't make either stronger or weaker. But, with KQ against JJ-77 (what I consider medium pairs) you're about 50% to win, not bad. With ace 9 - ace 2 as you play the weaker aces you're likely to be dominated by pairs (ex. Ace 9 is dominated by 10 10). Also, KQ can make a straight, while the only ace 2 - ace 5, ace 6 - ace 9 can't make a straight.
But KQ can never be TPTK!
 
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