NL Hold’em: Small Pocket Pairs

We don’t need years of experience to appreciate a couple of the implications of playing small pairs pre-flop (for the purposes of this article we’ll define small pairs as 22-77). On the upside, when the flop promotes the pair to a set it’s great news, particularly in view of the fact that such a hand can be so well disguised that the ‘reveal’ might come only at the conclusion. However, what happens far more often is that, not only does the small pocket pair remain a small pocket pair but, invariably, the arrival on the flop of at least one overcard immediately starts to sow the seeds of doubt – our pair might already be beaten and we’re effectively sitting in the dark armed with a pretty toothless pair. (more…)

No Limit Hold’em: Slow-playing the Turn

While betting strong hands tends to be a worthy strategy we must, of course, take a different approach occasionally in order to avoid being too transparent and, in doing so, extract the most from a very strong holding.

One such tactic is slow-playing the turn to induce a bet or commitment from an opponent on the river. A typical example is when we are sitting on a powerful hand come the turn, in position, against a lone opponent. This is particularly effective when we have been the aggressor since the beginning of the hand. (more…)