During any pre flop situation a pocket pair can be your savior. When you least expect it. That is why so many players find themselves in stacks with no end in sight. How to play pocket pairs is a question many players ask, and I expect that most of them will answer with a practiced stroke of the pen. Ten out of ten times your pocket eights will lose to pocket tens. Pocket pairs can help you in many ways, but the most important how to play pocket pairs question is this, how to play pocket pairs?
Let’s look at some of the practical and theoretical answers to that question.
Practical answer to question one. The AA23 hand is not really all that strong as it is rated in the top three hands of all starting requirements. You need to know you hands better than anyone else to be a winner in turbo sit and go poker tournaments. The trouble with Aces in an early position is that you are out of position every time you look at the blinds. There are a lot of players that will want to take your blinds and if you are the one taking them then you will get bullied and some will even re-raise you off your hand. This occurs mainly because they do not really understand hand ranges.
With a suited connector like 8 8 suited you do not want to be playing against suited connectors. Suited connectors beating un-suited connectors is a thing of beauty. It is one thing to be against pocket Jacks and quite another against KQ suited, that is if you are playing in dewabet.
If you are playing in position and there are 2 or 3 of you in the pot then you are in a good position. That is one of the reasons you want to play your cards strong. If you call or re-raise your opponents then you can represent the flop better than if you were playing blind.
The hands you want to definitely ignore in early position are hands that do not produce a high card. The more information you can gather about the hands your opponents play the better your chances of stealing the blinds or protecting your own blinds.
You really want to steer clear of the hands like 6 9 off suit or Ace Queen. If you see someone raise their Q2o with a suited connector like J5 suited, you will have a better idea of what they are holding then if you were playing in position. Those hands are almost completely dead cards in early position.
If you Q-2 your Q is still probably good enough to win the small blind, but his A-Q is not a premium hand so stealing the blinds with suited connectors is probably not a smart move. Since your hand is strong you do not want to risk busting your hand, so you want your opponents to think you are weak before you actually become strong.
There is no reason to fight a multiway pot unless you are counting cards. Even then, unless you have gotten extremely lucky your opponents are probably going to want to call you with their remaining chips. You are probably behind in position, so if there are a lot of people in the pot then your odds of having a really, really good hand have been shot down.
Before you act to re-raise your opponents if they raised you, consider that they may have a very good hand, like AA or KK or QQ, in which case they are not likely to have a lot of respect for your hand, and you might want to fold. Also, if your opponent would have raised them with their starting hand, then you are not going to want to call them, but instead you’ll want to make a move against them, since you are not likely to be called in this situation.
Once you decide that you are going to call your opponents raise, you should probably watch the game a little closer to try to get a better read on your opponents. This is because, when you call a raise, you are putting money in the pot that your opponents would not want. In other words, if you call and there are several callers, you are putting money in a pot that if you win, you won’t want a lot of people to get in. This would not be the case if you were calling to steal the blinds or antes.
As important it is to watch your opponents’ tendencies, you should also watch your own tendencies. If you are a solid hand specialist and you mostly play premium hands, you should not call. You should raise or even raise with very strong hands. That’s because most people tend to treat big hands like big hands and play them aggressively.
You want to mix up your play and be unpredictable. If you are calling to push your opponents off their hand, that’s less likely to work against more skilled players.