Friday, March 5, 2010

Raise Shit Justification

One of my many, many readers has asked me to elaborate on how I play (overbet) middle pairs. First let me start by saying that I've been playing no limit texas hold 'em for almost ten years, and I'm still learning every day. What I do is try to make little adjustments on specific hands and see how these adjustments hold up long term. If they do well, I keep them.

And yes I've read alot of poker books - probably too many. Most are a waste of money but a couple are really worth reading. Like Gus Hansen's Every Hand Revealed, and of course Super System.

Middle pairs are a tough hand to play and the worst way to play them is by limping in. You likely have the best hand preflop and giving your opponents free cards to beat you with is bad. The other possibility is a standard raise, like 3 times the blind, meh, not my preferred option either. I like to bet middle pairs and big pairs the same way. THE SAME WAY for the whole game.

Keep in mind that I play tight and aggressive. I don't play many pots, but when I do baby, I ain't limping in. So people at the table can tell I play selectively. And when I get pocket 8's and raise to 5-6 times the big blind - a few things can happen:

1. Everyone folds to me and I pick up the blinds. I like this! I get some chips and don't have to face anyone.

2. I get called by one person (two people at most but it's usually one or none). I don't mind this because if he's calling me I know that most likely he has two high cards - I get a little information going into the flop, and giving me information is BAD. If I raised 3 times the blind I MIGHT get a call by a suited connector, say a 6-7or a 9-10, but if the bet is 6 times the blind, most of the time Mr. Suited Connector has enough sense not to gamble that many chips against me.

3. And then there's the flop - I like looking at the flop against one opponent. There's alot of money in the pot and I like to take it down right here. If the flop is lower than my pair - I'm betting pot. If you've come along this far it's gonna cost you maybe the whole tourney to suck out on me. If the flop has one over card - same deal. One over card means there are only 3 cards in the deck that can beat me - if he has one, I'll find out right now or I win the pot.

This strategy works much more often than it doesn't - but it's part of a larger scheme of playing tight and betting strong with good hands. Like I said, very rarely do I limp. I'd rather toss my pair than call with it, and I've done that, when facing a big raise. I like raising big, not so much calling big.

Hey little college boy, did I justify my overbetting middle pairs? I'd like your opinion!

Play Smart.



dbcooper said...

I like your strategy of betting the same on pairs no matter what they are. I assume by middle pairs you are talking 6's to 10's?? Good way to play them. Of course if you come up against a larger pair then that's poker and you might always flop a set. I usually limp with small pairs 2-5 or even 6 depending and just hope for the set. I actually liked Gus Hansen's book better than both Super Systems although they are good too. I just finished reading his book a couple weeks back.

Josie said...

Yes, keeping the bet consistently the same doesn't give your opponent any information. And I did fail to mention coming up against a larger pair - it's poker and it happens, but not very often. For me, middle pairs are 7's-10's - pretty much right where you are. And I don't have any pearls of wisdom for playing small pairs - overbetting is dumb - maybe limping is the best thing - but your putting money on a two outer....I usually fold them but I dunno if that's the best play.

Josie said...

You've got to keep a mental track on limping with small pairs - let me know how often that wins the pot, if at all. :)

Gary said...

Personally I like the idea of playing middle pairs strong with the notion of stealing pots; my only suggestion if I may be so bold is not to play the same hand the same way 100% of the time. Factor in data such as stack size and position and I could justify playing middle pairs softly, say, 20% of the time. Not only does it keep your options open but it prevents you from being pigeonholed by your opponents.

Love the blog, but will still be gunning for your ass.

-Jew Boy

Josie said...

Well the point of raising the same amount is to disguise your hand - not give out any information, but of course chip stacks and position are factors too. Jew Boy!

Next post will give my readers some insight about Jew Boy, my poker nemesis.

Memphis MOJO said...

I was going to ask (before I saw the comment from Gary) if you're not worried about players in your home game finding your blog and discovering some of your secrets.

Gary said...

But you don't raise a consistent amount every time, Jo - you just announced that you overbet (5-6x) pairs, so your theory about betting the same way every time is illusory, yes? Or am I missing something?

Josie said...

I have let NO ONE know about this blog except gary. NO ONE. no friends, family or other poker players. Gary's a non-issue because the weekly game with him is the smallest game I ever play - money isn't really a factor - plus I'll still beat him anyway, just for bragging rights. But more to come on Jew Boy.

OES said...

hehehehehe. I guess I must make a comment now.

First off, I like your reasoning a lot. I think the percent of the time that you take down a pot uncontested is pretty high so that adds a mark in your column. You seem like a pretty cognizant player so I'm sure if you were getting called by a shit ton of players preflop that you would stop doing what your doing and readjust given your trial ideas.

I like to consider myself pretty tight, aggressive too, but I feel I am STILL not sold on 5-6x. Somewhat sold though. I may justify my opinion on case studies (being myself), but I feel that 5-6x the bb is overdoing it. The percent of time that a JQKA hits is really high on the flop, which obviously hits most peoples range when they call your BIG MOMMA 5 to 6x bb raise. Again, you're gonna get another chunk of people who fold to your bet on the flop, which is great, but the times where I get cold called with 2+ overs is where you can lose big. I'm all about outplaying my opponents post flop, which I am sure you are too, but I just can't get myself to bet that much on a speculative hand.

Love yo posts. =)

-College Boy

Josie said...

College Boy, seeing is believing. Try it out, and it has to be that much to be effective. 5-6 times on all pocket pairs 7's- A's, but what you want to track is how often the 7's - 10's win. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised - but you have to play smart the rest of the time too.