In todays free online poker training you’ll learn about playing the 5 pocket paint pairs as well as the pairf known as the big slick.
In my 65 years I’ve rarely met anyone who described any shade of gray as their favorite color. Nor, I should add, is gray remotely close to being my color of choice. However, in our world of free poker, we’re about to discover a series of reasons to immerse ourselves in what can be best described as ‘Shades of Gray’; specifically as that metaphor relates to Paint Pocket Pairs….Tens, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces. Plus, a few words about Big Slick (Ace/King; both suited and off-suit).
We’ve worked our way through a number of black and white issues concerning poker; things like Patience, Playable Pockets, Table Position, Pot Odds, Implied Odds, Blunders, Calamities and a few of the other multi-dimensional aspects of the game. Our skills and assets have grown from 0%, all the way up to 80%. This leaves us with a need to acquire the remaining 20%. And, we’ll accomplish that task through the remaining five Articles; including this posting, Article 7.
My sincere hope is that the preceding Articles have aided you in the process of ‘Building a Bankroll’. And, if the tutorials contained within these Articles were cause for you to be attentive, then I’m convinced that you’ve added considerably to your individual account balances.
Alternately, if the tutorials contained within these Articles were merely an “I’m bored, let me read what this bozo has to say” exercise, then I’ll assume that you’ve already self-gathered the necessary skills and assets to regularly add FreeD’s to your account balance. Either way, it’s the bankroll growth that matters.
Granted, here at NoPay, there is one caveat. I’ll agree that the member involvement on this site is also about social interaction….and then some, all-too-often negative; like debates, arguments, name calling, resentment, jealousy, mod baiting, and a variety of other unpleasant chat box utterances and forum posts.
Why? I’m not sure. You’d think that a free online poker site would only bring out the positives in people. Possibly the answer lies in the extremely high percentage of the membership who live in the ‘Farm Animal’ pastures. I guess they need to vent their self-sustaining animosities and frustrations on someone, on something; in some form or another.
And, while these clowns are adrift in a sinking mudboat splattered with shotgun holes, aching from the pellets resting uncomfortably in their dung-stained backsides, you’re in the midst of a quest to garner all of the poker related skills and assets available to you….either here in these free poker education Articles, or in the many excellent poker books available at your local library, neighborhood bookstores, and Internet web sites.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter how you acquire the requisite skills, just go about the process of acquiring them. That’s black and white; it’s either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’….there is no gray.
But, there is the poker equivalent of the color gray. Lou Krieger writes quite a bit about it, and I’d suggest that if the opportunity presents itself to you, it would be advantageous for each of you to read all he has to say.
However, when reading his excellent poker advisories, keep in mind that there is no one right way to play this game; he’s a winning player, and much can be learned from the many words he’s put in print. Take the time to bring his thoughts into your consideration; it can’t hurt….the more you learn, the better your game play becomes.
Most of my advocacy toward the elements contained within ‘Shades of Gray’ pertain to the 5 paint pocket pairs….10/10, J/J, Q/Q, K/K, and A/A; plus A/K (which, I should add, Mr. Krieger has expended quite a bit of time writing about).
However, other than agreeing with his ‘gray’ on A/K, my tutorials, or ‘playing preferences’, associated with the Tens, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces emanates from my own experiences at the poker tables. You’ll have to decide if what I have to suggest blends with the style of play you need to bring to the tables….or, you’ll have to decide if what I have to suggest belongs in File 13 (colloquially, in the U.S., meaning the garbage can).
To begin our foray into the ‘gray’, I’m going to group pocket pairs 10/10 and J/J together; and, at the outset, I’ll tell you that I have a complete disdain for both of these pocket pairs. Yes, the two pockets do possess a Positive Expected Value (+EV) from Early, Middle, and Late Positions at the table.
But, over the long term, neither provides a Return On Investment (ROI) that meets a minimal standard; and that minimum, at least for me, is a 50% ROI. The pocket Tens, and the pocket Jacks, don’t produce any such return….they do win money long-term, but it’s not at, or near, the 50% level.
Here’s the problem. If you’re holding pocket Tens, the upcoming flop has about a 90% chance of showing at least one Jack, or one Queen, or one King, or one Ace (assuming any one of your opponents holds any one of the 4 paint cards). And, that puts you in a precarious situation versus your competition.
If you’re holding pocket Jacks, the upcoming flop has about a 70% chance of showing at least one Queen, or one King, or one Ace (assuming any one of your opponents holds any one of the 3 paint cards). And, that puts you in an almost similar precarious situation versus your competition.
How would you deal with a post-flop bet when you’re looking directly at an overcard on the board? Clearly, since our approach to the games played at NoPay thus far has been conservative, you’re left with only one option when a respected player bets….folding.
Therefore, with pocket Tens or pocket Jacks, you should be willing to play pre-flop for an amount that does not exceed three times the big blind when you’re seated in Middle and Late positions (hopefully, you can get away with a simple call of the Big Blind when you’re in Early Position).
And, you would be well advised to routinely play the two pockets as though they were low pocket pairs….exactly the way you would play pockets 2/2 through 9/9 (low pocket pairs were discussed in free poker education Article 3). Obviously, using this approach, you’re looking to flop a set (which, pray tell, you would slow-play).
Or, if the flop lays out three undercards, you should be more than willing to push a pot size bet into play. And, please note, if you’re going to bet, the pot size bet is mandatory; you don’t want to create Pot Odds that would justify calls from any potential ’9 out’ flush draw, or any potential ’8 out’ open-end straight draw.
Shades of Gray? I would think so! Mostly because there is no one correct way to play pocket 10/10 and pocket J/J.
You can chose between the suggested method of play as described above, or, you could chose an alternate method of play. Either way, there’s no escape from the ‘all gray’ dusk, dim, and near darkness that prevents a definitive choice. Simply learn to live with it….you’ll need to; you’re going to be in this situation about 1 in every 100 pockets.
Pocket Queens, unlike pocket Tens or Jacks, will produce a long-term ROI marginally greater than 65%….and, you should abandon the ‘low pocket pair’ mentality when you are dealt these special Ladies.
Rather, plant the seed for ‘premium pocket’ in your thoughts. Or, at least get ready to plant the ‘premium pocket’ seed. Sure, there exists the possibility that an Ace or a King will hit the board with the flop….the odds of that happening are about 40%. And, if it does happen, followed by a bet from a respected opponent, it’s probably best to abandon the ‘near germinated’ seed, and toss the now unfaithful Ladies into the muck.
However, post-flop, when an Ace or a King has not hit the board, consider the Q/Q seed as germinated, and proceed to a pot size bet. Do not give your opponents any opportunity to take advantage of favorable pot odds.
In a worst case scenario, pocket Queens have approximately a 28% chance of beating any 8 random hands….with all of the hands playing through the river. Said differently, if you’re dealt pocket Queens in a 9 handed game, and everyone plays the hand through the river card, the pocket Queens will win about 28 out of 100 hands (pause for a moment to understand that the Queens will beat any group of 8 random hands through the river 28 out of 100 times).
Thus, in a low buy-in game, or in a NoPay free poker freeroll game, when a King or an Ace are not contained within the flop, let go of your conservative style, and align yourself with a bit of aggression. Importantly, while it’s 28 out of 100 versus 8 hands, it’s considerably higher than 28 out of 100 versus the 2, 3, or 4 opponents you’re presumably competing against in the current hand….the hand where you hold the pocket Queens.
Shades of Gray? I would think so! Mostly because there is no one correct way to play pocket Q/Q. You can chose between the suggested method of play as described above, or, you could chose an alternate method of play.
You can go silent into that good night with passive play. Or, you could rage against the dying of the light with aggressive play. Learn to live with it….you’ll need to; you’re going to be in this situation about 1 in every 200 pockets.
Next, Pocket Kings. They’ll produce a long-term Return On Investment (ROI) of about 80%, and we ought not be simply thinking that we hold a ‘premium pocket seed’, we need to fully recognize that the seed has already germinated, the produce is close to being ripe, and the ‘Farm Animals’ are about to lose sight of the large apples they’ve been eyeballing. Plus, we’re not in the habit of flipping apples to donkeys, and we’re sure as hell not going to feed the multitude of inept free poker jackasses who play carelessly here at NoPay.
No way….these apples are intended for our gastronomical pleasures, and it’s the ‘poker pinheads’….hired by you….who are going to do the preparation, cooking and cleaning in your kitchens. The pies and cobblers will be set aside for your feasts, and the ‘pinheads’ will be left to pick away at the discolored apple skins….which, by now, have probably turned into any one of the many variations of the color gray.
Be mindful of the fact that the pocket Kings have a 32% chance of beating any 8 random hands….even when all 8 of the random hands are played through the river. And, when you consider that you’ll likely be competing against 2, 3, or 4 players, the 32% chance of winning expands dramatically.
Of note, when you’re holding pocket Kings, there is somewhere in the neighborhood of a 20% probability that an Ace will be included in the flop (this assumes that one of your opponents is holding a pocket Ace).
And, if an Ace hits the board, together with a post-flop bet made by a respected player into the board Ace, you’d be well advised to fold your pocket Kings. It won’t happen often, but why take the chance of carrying a once dominant pocket all the way to the river, when post-flop it has become somewhat evident that the ‘good’ player you’re competing against is in possession of a pair of Aces….one on the board, and one in his pocket.
Of enormous consequence, keep in mind that one of the hallmarks of a truly excellent player is the ability to toss away once powerful cards when fairly solid evidence becomes available that the once powerful cards have turned into a ‘dung dropping’.
Never marry a hand unless you have absolutely no doubt that you hold the ‘nuts’, and can’t be beat. The above example of a flopped Ace pair held by a player who you know to be talented, is ample cause to test your mettle against the ‘excellent player hallmark’….don’t fail the test.
Shades of Gray? I would think so! Mostly because there is no one correct way to play pocket K/K. You can chose between the suggested method of play put forth in my scribblings above, or, you could chose an alternate method of play.
The ‘all gray’ dusk, dim, and near-darkness aside, the Dylan Thomas poetry reference aside, you’re still gonna’ have to learn to live with it….you’ll be dealt pocket Kings once in about every 200 hands. Plus, unlike 10/10, J/J, and Q/Q, the two Monarchs are a powerful pre-flop weapon, And, as such, you’ll need to take maximum advantage of the opportunities….when presented.
Pocket Aces….I pass. If anyone attempts to specify a correct way to play the ‘rockets’, walk away, and consider the individual to be no more than a person who is just a touch too full of himself, or herself. There have got to be every bit of 2 dozen different ‘correct’ ways to play this 1 in 200+ gift from the dealer.
You can, however, on occasion, witness a situation where the most prudent play on your part is to fold.
The Aces have a 36% chance of beating any 8 random hands through the river. Therefore, if all 8 of your competitors are committed to flinging chips around until the river card is exposed, you would actually be a 2 to 1 underdog in the hand. Or, said differently, the 8 opponents have a combined 64% chance of winning the hand, and you have a 36% chance of winning the hand. Shades of Gray? I would think so!
Certainly, I’m not suggesting that you make a habit of folding pocket Aces….far from it. Remember, to be an underdog, you would have to be playing in a family pot; there would need to be four, five, or more, players in the hand.
So, develop your own way of playing Ace/Ace. And, do as best as you can to vary your style of play. If you’re one-dimensional with the Aces, your competition will easily attain an ability to accurately read your hand.
And, finally, pocket Ace/King (suited or unsuited).…where you will experience approximately 36 out of 100 flops that show an Ace or a King; fundamentally making you a 2 to 1 ‘dog’ versus any 8 random hands.
Yet, we all should rest comfortably with the traditional labeling of these cards as a ‘premium pocket’. Principally because it’s not commonplace to be competing in a 9-handed ‘family’ pot. For the most part, we will more often find ourselves competing with 2, 3, or 4 other players.
And, when that happens, the potential 2 to 1 ‘dog’ status, usually changes to a situation where the pocket A/K becomes a favorite to win the hand.
However, Ace/King questions abound. So, I can easily imagine that you could conjure up any one of no less than 25 questions as to what to do if you hit a flopped pair, and what to do when you don’t hit a flopped pair.
Therefore, take a moment to let some of those questions come to mind….let them float around for a minute in a thought provoking manner. And, I’ll take one paragraph to give you an answer….mind you, it’s not my answer, it’s a quote from Lou Krieger.
He says, “These questions are not easily answered. Neither I, nor anyone else, can provide a recipe for you to follow. You’re smack in the midst of the gray zone….where even the very best players err in judgment. They’ll err more often than you realize, too.
If you expect perfection in the gray zone, you’ve set yourself up for disappointment”. Shades of Gray? I would think so!
Now, do you want to count the shades of gray? Or, would you rather count the number of free poker ‘Farm Animals’ you’ve tossed into the pastures? Chose the latter! The running total will serve as a validation tool in confirming how much better your play has become….and, it’ll also be somewhat entertaining.
Best of Luck at the Tables
(c) copyright 2008; no reproduction, all rights reserved by D. M. Vadnais
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