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Ask the pros – cashing in and middling pairs

gaztheyorkie wants to know how a pro approaches a new cash table, and whether he should be playing middling pairs so aggressively

By Sofia 'welllbet' Lovgren on Thursday 12 Aug 2010 13:00

Focus on a pair of 5

Is gaztheyorkie playing a canny cash game? Team PKR Pro Sofia ‘welllbet’ Lovgren has the answers…

Question from gaztheyorkie

I normally play $0.50/$1 short-handed (six-max) cash games, and before I sit down I find it important to monitor the table for around 30 minutes. Then, when I have a feel for the table I will sit, and when I play the first five to ten hands I try to establish an image that will help me during the game. This is normally loose-aggressive, when in actual fact I play a very TAG style, which helps get me paid. Am I playing correctly and how would you approach a new table when you sit down? I also ensure that I sit down with the maximum buy-in where possible to ensure I get full value, and play middle pocket pairs extremely aggressively to push hands like A-K, A-Q, A-J and A-T out. Should I be letting those hands in?

Answered by Sofia ‘welllbet’ Lovgren

There are some key rules to follow when entering new cash game tables online. From reading your question it seems to me that you are doing all the right things, so let’s summarise what’s important in four points.

1. Table selection
You should always sit down on a table where you believe you have an edge against most of the players. Don’t stay around to play against better players just to prove a point. You are playing to make money and you will make more money against weak players. As a TAG player you should look for a loose-passive table where several players are prepared to call a bet with relatively weak hands. This means you will get paid off when you have a strong hand. To select the right tables just look at the table statistics in the lobby of the online poker room. If there’s a table that looks good but is full, don’t make the mistake of choosing a much worse table. It’s much smarter to join the waiting list and use the time to study the players.

2. Seat selection
Study the players and see how they play. Then choose the seat where you have position on the best players, especially if they are loose. A common mistake is to take a seat just because you find one on a juicy table. It will reduce your win-rate to play out of position against the best players.

3. Maximum buy-in
Always sit down with the maximum buy-in to get maximum value for your big hands. As long as you have an edge on the other players, buying in for the max will give you better profit in the long run. You will also get more respect if you have a bigger stack. The fact is that one of the easiest ways to locate a fish is that he is buying in with scared money.

4. Table image
When you sit down at a table the first few hands you play will set your table image. If you are tight it could well be a good idea to play loose and also show some bluffs in the beginning. When you revert to playing TAG you will then hopefully get paid off.

Playing middle pocket pairs

The key with medium pocket pairs is position. In late position you can control the pot and float or bet if the other players have shown weakness. How aggressively you should play your medium pocket pairs depends on your opponents’ playing styles. Preflop against tight players you can reraise with your mid pair and take it down there many times, or just call and bet after the flop. Against loose players you can call and take advantage of your position. Let your opponent bluff on the flop and float to get paid. Of course if you play against very loose players you should vary your play and occasionally strike back with your mid pairs preflop.


great advice ty x

Comment by ondaflopp - 18/08/10 (Report)

i do disagree with the max buy-in strategie on one thing cause like u said if u buy in not for max (when it looks like u say scared money/fish)
imo i think (when u got a edge on people why risk max buy in when u can climb up form lowest buy in if u consider ur self thight u can play with less then the max buy in imo cuase lot of people would consider u a fish (while ur not ) so people will pay u off much easier and u can work ur way up to max buy in and then start playing loose agresive and make some goood money but he thats waht i think of it
btw nice to read this all
well done wellbet

Comment by victorLWD - 17/08/10 (Report)

Thx for the advice Sofia, this is great! :)

zomgchipriffle as i just saw your profile comment also say (v2.0 is terrible, quitting PKR til its fixed) so obviously it has nothing to do with this article being terrible or not.

Comment by PokerrPro - 13/08/10 (Report)

Thanks for the good advice Miss Lovgren :-) I am going to try some of your tips and see how it goes ;-?

Comment by shortan - 13/08/10 (Report)

lol this is terrible

Comment by zomgchipriffle - 12/08/10 (Report)

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Nice read mate, only thing that looks a little strange to me is when you turn your set of aces what is your reasoning for going so big on the turn ? there is only 1 ace left in the deck and the chances of having this are slim, so surely we are loosing an absolute ton of value over a large sample size in this spot? this turn bet basically folds out all pairs and your only getting action from an ace(which is very unlikely) or a flopped set also very unlikely as the board is super dry!

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