The Importance of Hand Selection

Making the right decision before the flop is the single most deciding factor whether you will be a winning player or not. When you find yourself in Seat 1, 2 or 3 you should play only very few hands. These are AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 10-10, AKs, AK and AQs. Some people prefer to fold hands like 10-10 and AQs here, but I include them in a low limit game since they tend to have long term value against the amount of opponents you are likely to get. Of these hands I would raise AA, KK, QQ, AKs and AK while I would let the others try to take a cheap flop, see if I improve, and if not quietly throw them to a bet. When in Seat 4,5 and 6 you can play all the above hands as well as 99, 88, 77, AQ, AJs, AJ, A10s, KQs, KQ, QJs and J10s.

Seat 7 & 8

When you are in late position Seat 7 and 8 you can play all the hands above and hands like 66, 55, QJ, J10, 10-9s, 9-8s, 8-7s. Pairs below 55 and suited connectors below 8-7 are usually not desirable to play from any position in a limit game. It is important to remember that these added hands to play from Seat 7 and 8 play best against a larger number of opponents. If everyone has folded and you are sitting on the button with a hand like 10-9s, it is no longer right to play. You should either fold or raise, hoping to pick up the blinds without a fight.

This is the rough guide to doing a solid hand selection preflop. This does not mean you can play blind though. If the table is especially loose and aggressive you might have to tighten up even further. When should you make a preflop raise then? As a rule of thumb you should always raise hands like AA, KK, QQ, AKs and AK. And if someone has raised before your turn to act you should seriously consider re-raising. When you get AA or KK you have to reraise as much as you can preflop. First of all to limit the field: AA and KK do not play well against 6 opponents, and secondly: to make the other players pay as much as possible to catch up with you.

Another rule of thumb is that you need a stronger hand to play against a raise than normally. This may sound like common sense, but it is too easy to be caught up in other players’ bad habits when you are at the table. It is fairly obvious that you do not want to play KQ against someone who has raised and might have AK. When you do hit a king you are in big trouble, when you hit a Q you still might lose to another hand, when A flops your hand is dead, and if neither K or Q flops you are through unless you have flopped a straight draw, and even then you only make the straight roughly 1 in 3 times, which still might lose to a flush or a full house.

Table selection

Lesson I. Table Selection and General Awareness Lesson II. Player Types to be Aware of Lesson III. Benefits of Position and How it Affects your Hand Lesson IV. The Importance of Hand Selection Lesson V. Drawing hands Lesson VI. Outs and Probability Lesson VII. Outs and Probability – Unit 2 Lesson VIII. Table Image and General Respect Lesson IX. Basic Reads and Putting People on Hands Lesson X. General pointers and suggestion.

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