A pair in Texas Hold’em is dealt on average once every 220 hands or so. Some poker sessions, particularly live, don’t even last that long so if you’re planning on waiting around you need to think again. Even if you are the patient type, the sturdiest of all rocks, your Aces can walk into a horrible flop or an even worse turn or river to cost you your chips. You’re therefore going to have to broaden your horizons and play some junk now and again, or try and make the best of things when the flop kicks your pocket pair where it hurts.
If you’re having a dry spell and the only cards you see are sevens and twos then you’re going to have to take action. This can be done via calling pre-flop when it’s cheap or raising in the right circumstances. Raising in late position is preferred because you have less opponents to beat and they will need a strong holding to take you on. However, if you sense weakness in certain players its worth taking them on too. Ideally you can stage a bloodless pre-flop coup and take the blinds.
If you do end up seeing the flop though it’s not the end of the world. Firstly the three board cards might just give your pocket cards the face lift it needs. Even if not making a pair, trips or something better still there aren’t many flops that won’t provide some sort of draw to give your hope. If you’ve missed completely but raised or called as above you’ve still got a shot. A board containing suited or connected cards can pose all kinds of dangers so a bluff bet here could again get you the win. Whether you take the bluff all the way to the turn or river will depend on your knowledge of those you are playing against.
You may not win any individual pot with a bad hand but that doesn’t mean it can’t be part of the platform for an overall win. As long as you’ve been sensible with your chips you can take the information gained from a losing hand and use it in future pots. Look at what happened before the flop. Did he or she call, raise or even re-raise? What did he do on the flop and in subsequent betting rounds? The bottom line is whether you bluff and lose or call bad and lose you will suffer a short term chip deficit but gain potentially priceless info for later. If you win all the better and you can take info from that too.
Building A Reputation
It never hurts to make your opponents underestimate you and if you make them think you’re a fish then they will. One popular strategy early on in a game is to play extremely loose and play any old rubbish that comes your way. You’ll need to keep things cheap of course, there’s no point splashing the pot when you’ve been dealt a shocker, but a couple of showdowns with bad hands early will get you a reputation as a fish. Later on when you’re baring you’re shark teeth those bad hands will pay for themselves many times over.Offer valid as of date published. T&Cs apply.