Friday, March 10, 2006


You're Not Going To Like This One

I'm not even sure about it myself. But that's why I'm posting it, to see if informed comment helps me decide on it.

The principle underlying a great deal of my pre-flop strategy is that I don't want to create a situation where all better hands than mine will play and all worse hands will fold. I am happy to invite action from worse hands in a lot of spots where most players would try to knock everyone else out, failing to realise that 1) anyone who has them beaten isn't going anywhere and 2) knocking an opponent out who is 50/50 is a very small gain.

Say you're sitting on M6 and you find TT in early position. Or AQs. Putting in a third of your stack leaves you in a nasty spot if someone just calls you. Moving in will lead to the situation described above. No one's going to pass anything better [1] and you're unlikely to get any action off anything you dominate. So I just limp [2]. If there's one raiser, I can put the rest in or "stop and go" [3] by calling and auto-betting the flop. If no one bites I can take my chances if I flop top pair or an overpair. If there's heavy raise/reraise action I can even pass.

If I do this with the TT, I might get it all in against a smaller pair. Getting it in against AJ which would have folded is by no means the disaster that everyone will tell you it is (after you lose the race). M6-7 is the most awkward stack to play and I'm happy to flip a coin to double up here. With AQ I might get it all in against a smaller Ace, or race against a pair. It's all good.

[1] Except Teddy Tuil

[2] The conditions have to be just right for this. No antes. No one else in the pot yet. Not short-handed or in late position. Stack between M5-M8. This play comes in when you have a hand in a position where a raise will only get action from a better hand. With M5 or less, the blinds are big enough to win unchallenged ; with M8 or more, you can get away if someone reraises you.

[3] To be honest I'm not a massive fan of the stop and go, too often your opponent will be able to make the right decision on the flop, which costs you chips when you're winning and makes no difference when you aren't.

I rate that as a strategy Andy.I totally agree with the general theory. Its like when i see people go all-in with JJ or QQ from Early poisition early in the tournament. Lets be honest, only 2 hands are ever going to call....the ones that have QQ beat. As ever the problem stem's from the fact Hold'em is a game best played from round the back. AQ and 10,10 are limping hands from UTG to UTG+2 in my opinion. Limping allows you to make better judgement calls post-flop but can lead to the ugly situation of top pair top kicker for you when the Q hits in the case of AQ, and you could be up against 2 pair due to the fact it was unraised preflop. 1010 is marginally easier to play (in my very humble opinion) because to a certain extent it flop and fits/misses a lot easier. This tends to make the correct decision easier too.
I dont know how you feel about it but unraised pots get me into a lot of trouble if im holding a strong but not premium hand.
So, in light of this im going to change my standard game assuming i know nothing about any of the opponents. Raise small with AQ and play it as well as you can, or limp with it and "try" to find a strong reason to fold if it heats up. With 1010 in EP i think limping is a nice option as it leaves you with a strongish hand and added deception but the option to fold when the oven heats up.
HAve you ever folded KK preflop in an online tournament? Be honest ;)
No way am I folding KK pre-flop online !

I'd have to be very sure that my opponent had no game at all to fold them live as well.

BTW I think there's nothing wrong with folding AQ with 8 or 9 players behind you and small blinds.

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