Commonly Mis-played Hands in Baby Hold Em Games
So after several years of playing poker and recently playing a lot more hands online, I’ve decided to write down what I see as the most commonly overplayed hands in small buy in games. Perhaps bigger games have a different set of consistently poorly played hands.
#8: AA and KK. People try and trap with AA (and KK as well) soooo much in baby games. And I see soooo many of these hands lose to two pair or smaller sets or flushes or straights. Players…if you have power hands, play power. There is no dishonour to winning a few chips by betting value with the big hands and letting someone else do your dirty work for the big pots with the hidden winners. Slow play trapping only works against players much worse than you, and for most of the people this is directed at…well, there just aren’t that many people who are much worse than you.
#7: Low pocket pairs. These are not the easiest hands to play, especially from early position. Players question whether they should smooth call, small raise to scare out the connectors but keep in the big cards, or large raise to try and buy the blinds. I personally prefer to smooth call, but that depends alot on the table and my table image as well…a super tight table i may put a bit bigger raise if I have a tight image, or smooth call if I don’t. Especially if the flop is all rags, you can bluff out a caller who probably has big cards if it’s a tight table. On a mixed table or a loose table I will usually put a smooth call because it really does come down to card luck on this kind of table. If someone raises after me, then it totally depends on the type of player they are and how big they raised. If I should hit I have the opportunity to win a good pot from a top pair bettor or even two pair. If the flop is ugly, I’ll just run, which is where I see the mistake often…many players will call it down to the river hoping to hit one of their two outs. Heck I’ve caught myself tempted to do so once or twice. Small pairs from late position are a whole different story. If someone raises big I’ll usually dump em but if there’s no or only small raises I may put another raise on it, just to see what the other guys are holding. Late position gives you a bit more opportunity to bluff strength as well, even if the table is fairly loose. Watch out for flushes and straights from the crazy guys tho…
#6: KJ or KQ. Man people bet these like they’re pocket aces preflop in small games. I’ve seen people go all in with a kj offsuit preflop. Or call all in with it, which is even worse. Again, position does play a role, but generally this is a folding hand against a raised preflop.
#5: Suited connectors. I must admit, I play these a fair bit if I can get into an unraised pot or if there’s good pot odds and a bad beat jackpot available. But the mistake is not preflop with these…these are consistently played really badly after the flop. People…DON’T chase and inside straight or a runner runner flush. The one out of 11 times you hit it will pay less than the other 10 times you lost. Sheesh.
#4: AK. Man, big slick is played like a motherfucker and it just isn’t always that good. Sure, raise it preflop and steal the blinds with it if you can…specially if your late. But don’t keep calling or betting with it after the flop if you haven’t hit. Just overcards doesn’t win many pots in hold em. In limit holdem AK is a great hand preflop…in no limit it’s only great if you know there’s no pocket pairs and have the balls to put a big chunk of chips in preflop and steal with it.
#3: Medium Pocket Pairs. Much harder to play than low pairs, the medium pockets have a whole raft of negatives around em. Pocket 10s preflop, early position…how to play it? If you raise and get called u need to hit. If you just call an ace or a king will probably call, and now you’re worried about the board. I believe the key to medium pairs is after the flop betting. You definitely need to put a fairly aggressive raise on preflop to get rid of the guy with aj or a9 (cuz they usually will call most anything) but you need to be prepared to dump it quick if it gets ugly out there. Possibly even preflop if youre reraised. Watch the flop careful and be very aware of overcards. The best scenario is usually your set plus an ace on the flop; that will usually cause a big bet for you to take someone down with. What I see players do way to much is go all in with like 99 or 1010 preflop. Or worse, slow play preflop and go all in with xxj flop, only to be called by an aj or kj that rails them.
#2: 10J. The second most commonly misplayed hand. In small limit games, people call almost anything with 10J. It’s even worse if it’s suited. I have no idea why. I will occasionally call a blind or even a small raise if my positions good with it, but 95 times out of 100 this is a tossing hand. The only thing you can hope for is a the nut str really…if you pair up you have kicker trouble, and if you get a four card str you’re probably beat. But people play this like it’s pocket kings.
#1: AQ. In my opinion the most commonly overplayed hand in small games. I see people go all in with AQ more than any other preflop hand. Not just betting all in, but calling all in’s with it. When I first played I did the same. Man I lost alot of chips doing that! Your best possible flop (to win AND make a big pot) is a qxx rainbow, and then you have to worry about that overplayed small pocket making a set or someone landing two pairs. AQ is really not all that strong; it’s worth putting a bit of a raise on or calling a medium raise (especially from late position), but so NOT worth going nuts up with.
Of course, with all of these, I never complain when people play them the way they do…hehe… But seriously…I swear that many people don’t think at all when they’re playing in these smaller games…they see certain cards and assume they’re going to win. Just not good poker… The other thing to note is that none of these comments take into consideration the human factor…obviously there are times and opponents when badly is just how you want to play these hands…of course it’s not played badly in those cases…