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Holdem Starting Hands Archives

How To Play Big Slick (AK)

Ahhhh the Big Slick.  We all like getting it, and it looks so good…especially when suited.  Starting a hand with AK is a lot like sitting at the very start of a tournament with a large, shiny, untouched chip stack…a veritable monument which brims with the potential for untold glory and riches.  However, much like a full tournament, this gem of a hand holds all the potential for triumph and tragedy, being just as likely to see us across the line and dragging in a huge pot as it is to see us take up permanent residence in felt city.  It all really depends on how we decide to play it…like chumps…or champions.

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Poker Starting Hands – Middle Pair

In acknowledging the importance of selecting appropriate poker starting hands depending upon our position, there is still a tendency among less advanced players to treat middle pairs in early position exactly the same way we’re trained to treat low pairs.  However, limping with 99 or 10 10 and looking to catch a set on the flop may not be the most profitable way to make the most of the opportunity a middle pair creates, and can be apt to get us into trouble spots if the hand goes south of cheese.  So what’s one alternative to passively entering a pot with middle pair in early position?

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Poker Hands Best Played From Late Position

Playing positional poker means the range of hands best played from the 7th to cut-off seat (at a 9 handed table) is much broader than the selection of hands we might decide to play in early or middle position.  Let’s say we’re sitting at an 8 handed table, lounging in the cut-off, and look down at our hole cards of Kc9c.  Whereas this might be a foldable hand in early position, and a calling hand in middle position, with all the benefits construed upon us being in late position this can often be an easy call, or even a betting opportunity in an unraised pot.

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In keeping with the theme in holdem that ’duplicity is king’ it’s important to be able to play a wide range of hands to avoid our opponents being able to accurately guess our hole cards based solely on our play.  Whether to play a holdem starting hand like AA, or KK barely need consideration.   However limiting ourselves to the ‘top 10% holdem hands’ can often restrict our chances of getting paid off for our big hands.  To mix things up a bit, we need to open up our range of hands whilst still being able to make correct decisions once the hand is under way.  The question of what makes the best poker starting hands can seem obvious when looking at extremes, such as pocket aces, or 72off.  However, when the correct play is less clear, whether to play our starting hand requires consideration of one other important factor…our poker table position. 

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