Playing suited connectors is not as common of a hold'em leak as some of the other group of hands I have discussed. Still, there are some players who will not fold these hands despite the fact that they are unfavorable in most situations. The only time that they should be played is when the game is loose passive. The truth is that in most typical middle limit games there are rarely enough pot odds to play these hands profitably. The table composition is usually tight and aggressive with no more than three or occasionally four players seeing the flop in a raised pot setting.
Last time I briefly introduced the next group of hands that are frequently misplayed- the small pairs. Just like the trouble hands and Ace rag holdings, the small pairs do not do well in early position. Your primary objective is to see the flop cheap and to try to hit a set. Despite this I often see players who are willing to come in for a raise in early position with any pocket pair. At best these pairs are only slight favorites against two over cards. These aggressive players frequently ignore that they are at least a 4 to 1 underdog to a bigger pair.
In the last article I discussed how big of a leak the any Ace mentality is in limit hold em. It is more prevalent at lower limits but it occurs in the higher limit games too. When I see a player limping in with a weak Ace, or even worse raising in early position with one, I try to take full advantage of this observation. I also look for other leaks in their game such as playing trouble hands in early position and cold calling raises with them too.
I am constantly amazed at the number of players who have the any Ace mentality disorder. If you are a break even limit hold em player who consistently plays any hand that contains an Ace in it without consideration of the table composition and your position then you would easily become a winning player folding these hands preflop. Playing these hands is the biggest leak in the limit hold em game.
Several issues ago I presented a hand analysis in which a young man held trip 10's with a board of 10-10-5-A (he held J-10). The opponents he was up against had started in the blind positions. He had over utilized a concept about blind hands being random and generally weaker than average despite that the flop and turn action was fairly strong with a check raise on the flop followed by a weak bet on the turn, a smooth call by the big blind, a raise by the young man, and a reraise all in by the player in the small blind.
There have been a number of opinions about the recent legislation that was passed by Congress on online gambling issues. How this effects you and me is very confusing, to say the least. What it has done, though, is make the Poker Players Alliance the front-runner in getting poker players finally to unite.
A young and inexperienced player had posted a hand for analysis at a forum. The betting went like this (the actual amounts are not important to the discussion). It was a multi way limped pot and a typical loose passive small stakes no limit hold em game. On the flop of 10c-10d-5c everyone checked to him and he bet slightly less than the size of the pot from late position with trip 10's and a jack kicker. After the button called, the small blind (sb) then check raised about the size of the pot. The big blind (bb) smooth called the raise.
Last time I switched from a local maniac's play to the loose aggressive playing style. The attributes that a maniac and a good loose aggressive player share are actually few. Maniac Doug was a very loose aggressive player who turned into a maniac due to a high intake of alcohol that dulled his senses and caused him to lose all fear (as well as a psychological need to feel all powerful). On the other hand, Daniel Negreanu is an excellent poker player who utilizes the loose aggressive strategy but he also has outstanding attributes that make him one of the best players in the game today.
Last issue I revealed how our local maniac stumbled onto an extremely effective strategy in tournament play. The wording here has double meaning as Doug was usually plastered at this point in the tournament as a result of his intake of alcohol. While everyone else was tightening up their play hoping that someone else would get unlucky and bomb out, Doug was stealing pot after pot and increasing his stack size even more. It didn't matter to Doug whether he won or lost and as a result he had no fear.
In the last article I discussed how hand selection in no limit hold em is based on variables other than just position. In future articles I will continue with the discussion of no limit hold em and the influence of the different variables in the no limit structure. I let my mind wander a little too much lately and after a rather lengthy fight with the typewriter I think it wandered a little too far. The book writing and the daily live poker had become such a grind that I decided to skip the WSOP and the faster paced Las Vegas scene and slow down to a more lazy life style for the summer.