How to play the trouble Hands in No Limit Hold Em – Part 1 – Introduction to Trouble hands
Rubbish hands are no trouble at all
As poker players we often bemoan our luck when we continually get dealt trash hands such as 72, 84, 95 or when we raise preflop with pocket Aces or pocket Kings and get no action. While neither is a desired or favorable outcome, perhaps we should not feel too dissatisfied either. On average pocket Aces
only makes a profit of about 6 big blinds or so anyway. So even if you just take down the blinds, you are still are only down 4.5 big blinds from the average return. Sometimes, it can be much worse, and you lose your entire stack, when someone holding a small pair flops a set, on what appears an innocuous board for your AA. So don’t be too quick to bemoan your bad luck when your AA and KK get no action. Similarly trash hands, since there are so easy to play, i.e. by folding every time should cost you nothing unless you are posting a blind, so while there’s nothing particularly good about trash hand, there is nothing particularly bad about them either.
The big danger in No Limit is catching a hand that is good or perhaps even very good but not quite good enough. The sort of hand that can lead to the creation of a big pot, but often finds itself on the wrong side when it comes to who takes the final pot.
Not always a pretty picture
The trouble hands in No Limit Hold Em are the big picture cards. Big picture cards such as AK, AQ, KQ can make top hands such as straights occasionally, usually however when they do make a hand, it’s of the top pair variety.
Limited losses in Limit Hold Em
Many players who switch to No Limit Hold Em from Limit Hold Em have difficulty in grasping this truth. For example, say you hold AK and flop top pair in Limit Hold Em, you would rarely fold this hand, and rightly so as more often than not you will win with this hand. Secondly if you do lose, you won’t lose too much, maybe three small bets (Preflop raise + bet on flop) on the flop and three big bets (equivalent to 2 bets and calling one raise) = 1*3 + 2*3 = 9 big blinds. Not a nice outcome when you do lose but not disastrous either.
Unlimited difference between Limit and No Limit losses
However, there is much more at stake in a No Limit Hold Em game than just 9 or 10 big blinds, and if you are not far more cautious with these type of hands in a No Limit game you could lose your entire stack. It’s no overstatement to say it makes a dramatic difference between these two variations of Hold Em, particularly if you have a large stack, where you can go from losing a potential 9 or 10 big blinds to potentially more than 100 big blinds.
In part 2 we will examine the correct and cautious approach to playing trouble cards from the flop to the river.