How to play the trouble Hands in No Limit Hold Em – Part 2 – Playing them with caution
Play the big picture cards cautiously
So, you might say well if they are so much trouble then should we even be playing these picture cards. The answer is actually yes, often they are still playable. But we have to realize that they play far differently in No Limit than they do in Limit Hold Em. The key is to avoid playing all but the very best of picture cards out of position. Game conditions depending you might play AQo+, AJs+ in early position, stealing with more of these type of hands in late position perhaps as low as K9s+, KTo+ if conditions are right.
Question yourself, why is your opponent willing to give you action?
However you have to be on your guard post flop. Unlike Limit Hold Em where top pair is often paid off all the way by inferior holdings such as middle pair or top pair poor kicker. In No Limit Hold Em since there is so much at stake these lesser holdings will rarely pay you off, so if your betting is not making your opponent go away, you have got to ask yourself why.
Getting action, how likely is it that your top pair is still good?
Although bluffing and floating (calling with little or nothing on the flop with the intention of bluffing the turn if weakness is shown) can and does happen, more often than not people are giving you action, simply because they have something, and that something is more often than not better than a mere top pair.
Take it nice and easy with good but not great hands
If you are getting any action with these hands, the normal wise course of action is to slow the play right down, maybe check the turn if you have been called already on the flop. If you then face a bet on the river, you have a tricky decision whether to call or fold, but at least you have a hand that’s miles ahead of a bluff. The good thing is having checked the turn; a pot sized bet on the river is now unlikely to see you playing for your entire stack, like it invariably would have been if you had bet the turn. There is no easy answer to calling in such a spot, knowing your opponent’s tendencies can help you greatly on whether to look them up or not.
Mix it up
Remember also, particularly if you hold position, and are heads up, there is no golden rule that says you have to bet top pair on the flop. In Hold Em, at times it is advisable to mix up your game, such as checking top pair on the flop. In this way, you don’t make a poorer hand fold, and since you have showed weakness, you increase the chance that a poorer hand pays you off, or tries to bluff you on later streets. Your check also ensures that you are controlling the size of the pot with your good but not great hand.
Trade for value
Like a lot of things in Texas Hold Em
there is a trade off for every action you do, by checking such a hand you give your opponent a chance to outdraw you on the turn or river, also it means that since you have been seen to check a good hand, your continuation bets on the flop will lose a bit of credence, so it can affect your meta game (note it can affect it positively too – as now players can no longer assume you are weak when you check on the flop). Poker is all about achieving the right balance, so it’s a tradeoff that’s worth it at times.
Hope you enjoyed these two articles on trouble hands, good luck and be safe out there with all sneaky little pairs looking to crack your pretty picture cards, hope these articles help you not to pay them off too much if they hit!