In this, part 3 of the Building A Bankroll free online poker coaching series learn how and why low pocket pairs, 2/2 through 9/9, will, long-term, provide you with more financial gain than any other two pocket cards you’ll ever be dealt.
So – on with the free poker lesson…
We’ve met our first goal….we’ve survived the opening 20 minutes of the ‘Farm Animal’ dung tossing. Our targets, the dung-tossers, are now known to us; they’re the clowns who have doubled up as a result of the ‘all-in madness’ with 4/Q offsuit….which was played against the calamitous actions of the now eliminated Beanbrains who called with 3/9 suited. The 4/Q winners, who have temporarily gained some chips, are in our sights, their stacks are clearly visible, and our poker knowledge is about to unleash it’s fearsome wrath on the lucky few who managed to escape the 20 minutes of quantifiable free poker stupidity.
The ill-fated Bozos sit all around us; each are completely absent any semblance of comprehension about the poker environment they’re participating in. Moreover, they’re clueless about our plans to re-arrange their mindless visions of final table glories….and, they’re equally clueless about the skills we’ll deploy to accomplish our task. The likelihood is that the last time they celebrated any type of victory could easily have been in a hop-scotch game many years ago. And, we’ve no intent of letting them remind themselves about the joys of winning.
Plus, we need not put up a sign that reads “Donkeys Beware – Landmines Present”. Not because these ‘Farm Animals’ can’t read, but because these ‘Farm Animals’ won’t ever realize that the sign is directed at them. In all candor, they’re totally oblivious to the fact that they each possess zero gaming smarts, zip poker skills, and zilch ability to traverse the path to tournament payouts. They’re completely lacking an awareness as to why the ‘good’ players win….with regularity, and why they, as ‘bad’ players, regularly find their names on the eligibility list for the next fourth grade ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ game.
So, our mission is defined….level the ‘Farm Animals’, identify the ‘good’ players, and begin the process of accumulating a deep stack. Could that be easier said than done? No….not at all; this isn’t quantum physics, it’s free poker. We’re already in a learned seat at the poker table against these underachievers….and we always will be. We’re at a 70% command of the game, they’re at less than 10%; likely to never get beyond ‘less than 10%’. Additionally, we’re on our way to a 100% command of all the skills and assets that we’ll ever need at a NoPay free poker table, while they’re on their way to old maid card games, and a miscellany of events designed for the terminally inept.
We own an understanding of Patience, Patience Development Exercises (PDE), Playable Pockets, Positive Expected Values (+EV), Negative Expected Values (-EV), and Table Position….all of which were presented within Articles 1 and 2. And, we’ve attained the 70% command level as a result of our time spent with Articles 1 and 2….or, you’ve attained the 70% as a result of your own previous knowledge and playing experience. However, albeit momentarily, we need to take a small step backwards. We need to ‘fine tune’ the 70% a bit.
Please recall that I wrote in Article 2 "there is one exception to the playable pockets by table position rule". It relates to the low pocket pairs: 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, and 9/9. (In a subsequent article we’ll get to talk about pocket paint pairs, including T/T, J/J, QQ, KK, and AA).
These low pocket pairs, 2/2 through 9/9, will, long-term, provide us with more financial gain than any other two pocket cards we’ll ever be dealt.
Correct! More than pocket A/A, more than pocket K/K, and more than pocket Q/Q. No other pocket cards are going to put more money in our wallets or purses.
“Say What?”. Did you just scream out those two words?
“He’s not playing with a full deck”
“He’s lost quite a few of his marbles”
“The turnip truck just picked him up”
Well….you can utter those ‘slings and arrows’ for now, but, you’ll shortly become a believer. Or, absent the development of your belief, you’ll miss out on a whole lot of NoPay FreeD being shifted to your bankroll. And, I probably don’t need to remind you that FreeD become dollars, and dollars ultimately become hundreds.
Plus….get this….pocket pairs 2/2 through 9/9, will destroy more ‘Farm Animals’, Donks, Bozos, Clowns, and Chip-Flingers than you could ever imagine, could ever fantasize. And, beyond the ‘Farm Animal’ carnage that these pockets will inflict, they’re also going to move mountains of chips from the ‘good’ players stacks, to your stacks.
No other pocket cards will come remotely close to severely thrashing the ‘bad’ and ‘good’ players as will the low pocket pairs.
Now, let’s begin the task of fully recognizing the devastating power of the low pocket pairs. To accomplish this, we’ll need to start with a small amount of arithmetic. We have about a 6% chance of being dealt a pocket pair….any pocket pair; 2/2 through A/A. Therefore, on average, we’ll get a pocket pair once in every 16 or 17 hands. Moreover, when we’ve been gifted with a pocket pair, we have about a 1 in 8 chance of hitting a set (three of a kind) on the flop.
In the end, when we do all of the arithmetic, we should understand that we’re going to be playing a post-flop set approximately once in every 133 hands. Or, at a table with ten players, we’ll have a post-flop set one time for about every 13 small blind/big blind bets we’ve deposited into the various pots that have come and gone.
And, yes, the low pocket pairs are playable from any position at the table….Early, Middle, or Late. Yet, your Playable Pocket Guide (PPG), created with an assist from last months Article, does not include the low pocket pairs as playable cards from Early and Middle position. Fix it!
The low pocket pairs are, in fact, playable from any of the ten seats at the table. However, all of the low pocket pairs are ONLY playable at a cost that does not exceed the big blind from Early Position, does not exceed 2 times the big blind from Middle Position, and does not exceed 3 times the big blind from Late Position. Plus, the low pocket pairs are never a pre-flop cause for raising the big blind….ever.
Additionally, when you’ve ‘limped in’ while seated in Early Position, or when you’ve called a 2 times the big blind bet from Middle Position, and, a raise has occured to 3 times the big blind, plus, there are 5 or more players in the hand, you should call the 3 times the big blind bet from both Early and Middle positions at the table.
Why? Well….with 5 or more players in the hand, there is an increased likelihood that the flop is going to show 2 or 3 low cards. This is true primarily because it’s logical to assume that the 5 or more players currently in the hand each hold one or more paint cards.
Now, the one set we end up with becomes a big-time weapon. Especially if it is a set of 2′s, 3′s, 4′s, 5′s, 6′s, 7′s, 8′s, or 9′s. Oh, Aces down to Tens are serious weapons too, but the expectation of putting a ‘major hurt’ on the ‘Farm Animals’, and ‘good’ players as well, lies more in the lower pocket pairs, rather than the higher pocket pairs.
The reason for that might already be abundantly clear to you: players holding paint tend not to fear any low card that hits the board as part of the flop.
At this point, keep in mind that our stated mission is to reduce the ‘Farm Animals’, and their chip stacks, to fleeting memories….we want the donks gone, and we want their chips added to our stacks.
Plus, we want to put a serious hurt on the ‘good’ players as well. So, let’s use a sample hand to better understand the overwhelming power of the low pocket pairs. And, in this particular hand, we’ll give ourselves pocket 5c/5h (while seated in Late Position), we’ll give the ‘bad’ player Jh/7c, and we’ll give the ‘good’ player Ad/Qd.
The ‘good’ player raises to three times the big blind, the ‘bad’ player calls, we call, and everyone else at the table folds. The flop hits the board, and it contains Ah/Jd/5s; giving us a set of Fives. The player who we believe has a degree of poker prowess, the ‘good’ player, again makes a three times the big blind bet.
The player who we believe has very limited poker playing abilities, the ‘bad’ player, raises by a factor of three; Lord knows why….he’s holding the middle pair, and he just witnessed a ‘good’ player make a bet into the flopped Ace. Then, after using about half of our time clock allotment, we call. And, the ‘good’ player, also using some of his time clock to possibly project weakness, calls as well.
The turn card is a 7d. It gives the ‘good’ player a nut flush draw (Ad/Qd/Jd/7d), and he holds the high board pair (Ad/Ah). It gives the ‘bad’ player two pairs (Jacks over Sevens). And, us? Well, we’re merrily sitting with a set of Fives (5c/5h/5s). Would you not think that some fireworks are about to go off?
That some chip-flinging might ensue? Or, are you overly concerned that the river will bring a card that fills the flush? Or, are you overly concerned that the river will bring a Jack or a Seven?
Don’t be! In total there are 9 flush-maker cards, and 4 full-house-maker cards….13; less the sole remaining Five, the 5d. It’s a flush-maker card, but it also would give us quad Fives. Thus, there are 12 cards that would cause us to lose, and 34 cards that will bring us the pot. We’re about a 3 to 1 favorite to win; cast your worries aside. We’ll always want our chips in the hunt when we’re holding the current ‘nuts’ hand.
In the interest of shortening a long story, the river is a brick….it helps no one. And, after an all-in bet is made by the ‘bad’ player, plus our call, we take down a very large pot. Now, what made this low pocket pair so powerful? It’s certainly not a premium pocket like A/A, K/K, or Q/Q.
Go ahead, think it through. Sure! It’s because the set of Fives we held was hidden; as will always be the case when pocket 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, and 9/9 are turned into sets by the flop (1 in 133; although that includes sets of Tens, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces).
And, it’s the following facts, all of which should now be incredibly obvious: the fact that our set is hidden, the fact that no one could possibly have a read on our cards, the fact that we’ll almost always slow-play our set; that makes it such that our opponents, ‘bad’ or ‘good’, never have the ability to identify the powerful set the flop handed to us.
Thus, for our competitors, Aye, there’s the rub. We hold a set, no one at the table knows it, and we’re in an advantaged position. What could be better? What, on average, could produce more profits?
Additionally, of interest to you, may well be the knowledge that the ‘low pocket pair strategy’ is used by just about every professional poker player. Yet, not one of them, of those who have written about No Limit Hold-Em, has included a detailed description of it in their respective books. They have all tried to keep a closely guarded secret, a secret. And, I can’t say that I blame them….the low pocket pairs win more money at a poker table than any other two cards anyone can be dealt.
Have you started ‘Building a Bankroll’? You should have….your pile of pennies should be getting larger every day.
Best of Luck at the Tables
(c) copyright 2008; no reproduction, all rights reserved by D. M. Vadnais
In Part 4 of this free online poker training series learn about the dreaded Pot Odds, Implied Odds, and Rounding
See all the free online poker instruction coaching lessons