Which starting hands should you play? You’ll find I’ve already covered that in my Texas Holdem 7Meter starting hand guide, but in this article I’m going to go over some more specific tips on the subject.
Which hands should you play?
There are a few hands that are automatic losers to most situations. That list would include low pocket pairs, weak suited connectors and middle suited connectors. If you push those all in situations, please don’t be surprised to find yourself on the losing end of a huge pot.
That said, there are a few hands that are better than others and falling into the first or middle group would be playing low pocket pairs, like 66 down to 77. You should play these hands in situations where a semi-bluff could be successful, like early in a tournament or in some situations like early in a cash game.
However, you are going to play these hands in situations where you are already the one pushing all-in. They have their place, but don’t call a push unless you’re in great shape. Many times your opponents will fold to your all-in or rather, you will end up with a rather large pot. That’s OK because you will only be bluffing with these hands about 45% of the time.
Another thing that you need to realize when its time to play these hands is when you have folded. Big stacks with good arms will pick up all the chips from the blinds and early tournament hands. This is a good thing for you as a player, because you get to small stack out of position without much of a disadvantage. If you constantly rely on your early table position to get you into money, you are going to lose a lot of chips and never advance.
Which hands should you not play?
Since its impossible to win every hand, you shouldn’t play low pairs in most situations. Why? You have to pay attention to your position and merely play any hand you feel comfortable calling raises with. The exception to this rule would be when you’re in early position. If you’re in early position and no one has raised the pot yet, you may want to play suited connectors or small pairs in that position. This is simply because you can get some reads on your opponents based on their hands.
How to read your opponent’s hand
If you’re playing with an aggressive player, you can be certain that your opponent has a better hand than you. If you’re playing with a calling station, you know that they aren’t very strong unless they have a monster. Most hands that they call, are just calling hands because it’s the right play in general.
As for tight players, you can’t ever be sure what they have unless you action them, which won’t happen very often unless you action yourself. Since they’re not going to make a huge move without you, you can wait them out. Do not call all-ins with tight players without strong hands.
Why loose players like loose players
Loose players like to play a lot of hands. They will play any two cards if they are suited. They are likely to call just about anybody’s bet. They’ll play any two cards in late position. They’ll even play aces in early position. Put them on a hand and they’ll likely try to drive the action with a raise.
This is especially true of players who have no bad beats. Bad beats are more common among tight players who don’t want to go to the showdown with a low hand. They, like you, don’t want to go to the showdown with hands that only win by value if no one has made a big raise.
When tight players drive the action, you can win the pot with any 2 cards. (The only exception is if the tight player has a big stack and is acting super tight trying to protect it.)
So it’s easy to win when playing loose players. Play tight and the chances of them having a better hand than you are about Evens or 2 to 1 are about Evens or 2 to 1. You only need to have a better hand to win.
When they call your raise, you can determine they have either a big hand or nothing. For the most part, it won’t be a big hand. When they push you off the hand, you’ll know they have something and are likely trying to steal the pot.
This is also true of players who are super tight and you can steal the pot with any 2 cards when they act super tight.