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Old 04-14-2018, 01:24 AM   #1
sabloid
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How do I play weak pairs in early position?

I play 1/2 tables and as a strategy I always open or call a raise pre flop when I am in the hand. So when it comes to weak pairs like 22-55 , I don't know how I should I play them in early position(UTG -UTG+1). I can open and I usually find 2 or more callers ( one caller is rare). Then I have to check/fold with over cards. I feel like this happens more often. I can limp but then I only representing smaller pairs in my range and I am predictable. How do I adjust?
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:00 AM   #2
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

I have the same issue, though I'm perfectly content to limp small PPs from up front in most of the passive 1/2 games I play in. Most of the time I get to set-mine for 1bb, and there are plenty of opportunities to pick up these small pots from OOP when you're at a table full of players who just don't fight for pots.

From a "proper" poker standpoint, the appropriate answer is probably to fold these hands from EP, or to come in for a raise if you do play them. I'll adhere to this more in tougher games with more skilled players, but in your average 1-2 game I don't worry too much about being exploited by limping small PPs from EP, nor am I much concerned about your range being face up to said players. They'll usually put money in if they like their own hand, and fold if they don't.
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:32 AM   #3
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

What is your stack? How many raises are happening behind you? Is there a spot in your game that you are hoping to bring a long?

At a normal game with decent effective sacks I open with them for a normal raise amount that generally gets me 2-3 ways
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:38 AM   #4
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

In passive 1/2 games I limp in UTG->UTG+2 and in active ones I fold pre.
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Old 04-14-2018, 04:51 AM   #5
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

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In passive 1/2 games I limp in UTG->UTG+2 and in active ones I fold pre.
Pretty much this. The only thing I'd add is you want to be at a table that can't fold TP on the river to limp in with them. Otherwise, you won't get paid off enough to justify all the folding you're going to do on the flop.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:16 AM   #6
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

on aggressive tables with lots of 3 betting just fold them, when under 200bb effective

otherwise, just proceed when flopping sets or str8 draws
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:46 AM   #7
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

Don't, generally

I'll raise them as a bluff once in a while but there are better hands to do that with.

You are probably not making money limping them to setmine in EP
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:10 AM   #8
sabloid
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

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Originally Posted by branch0095 View Post
I have the same issue, though I'm perfectly content to limp small PPs from up front in most of the passive 1/2 games I play in. Most of the time I get to set-mine for 1bb, and there are plenty of opportunities to pick up these small pots from OOP when you're at a table full of players who just don't fight for pots.

From a "proper" poker standpoint, the appropriate answer is probably to fold these hands from EP, or to come in for a raise if you do play them. I'll adhere to this more in tougher games with more skilled players, but in your average 1-2 game I don't worry too much about being exploited by limping small PPs from EP, nor am I much concerned about your range being face up to said players. They'll usually put money in if they like their own hand, and fold if they don't.
That makes sense. Maybe alternate on fold vs raise in good tables and limp in your average games.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:13 AM   #9
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

Thanks guys for the feedback!
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:48 PM   #10
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

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Don't, generally
I'm surprised it took so many posts for someone to say this.
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Old 04-14-2018, 11:37 PM   #11
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

If you are worried about being 3! with these it’s probably a decent indicator that the table is a dynamic that constitutes a fold 22-55 and 66 should be your only decision point on a raise or fold. Limp call these is just not good in my experience.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:17 AM   #12
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

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I play 1/2 tables and as a strategy I always open or call a raise pre flop when I am in the hand. So when it comes to weak pairs like 22-55 , I don't know how I should I play them in early position(UTG -UTG+1). I can open and I usually find 2 or more callers ( one caller is rare). Then I have to check/fold with over cards. I feel like this happens more often. I can limp but then I only representing smaller pairs in my range and I am predictable. How do I adjust?
Don't play them. I don't start opening all pairs until the LJ. If your table is exceptionally loose passive you can limp them.

For UTG opens at most tables I would recommend something like 77+,ATs+,A5s,KTs+,QTs+,JTs,T9s,98s,AKo

You can add more hands at tight tables and as you get more skilled, but this is a pretty easy and profitable range to play from UTG.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:40 PM   #13
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

Fold them. Also fold your weaker suited aces and connectors, since you're probably doing the same thing with those.
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:00 PM   #14
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

Fold is standard and probably best.

At tables where nobody ever 3 bets, you can open to 7 and x/f when you miss. You'll get to see a free turn sometimes as a bonus. Bet only when you flop a set or when you only get 1-2 callers and a good bluffing board. You might turn a small profit on these hands if you stay disciplined. Lots of loss loss loss loss loss loss loss loss loss win loss loss loss loss loss loss WIN
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:19 AM   #15
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

As usual, I disagree with most of this. I play all pocket pairs from EP. Pocket pairs in general and sets especially are by far the most profitable hands in poker and Im taking every possible opportunity to play them. People who say you cant limp low pps in EP are wrong or dont play well post flop.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:02 AM   #16
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

I rarely play at a 1/2 game where players 3b anything less than top 5 hands (besides myself) and in this type of game with average players, I'm always raising my small PPs in EP to start building a pot, unless the table is mostly short stacks, in which case I'll just fold.

Against competent players at 1/2, 1/3 or 2/5, I never limp any of my range and these hands in EP are almost always folds.

If I have a limp range at a table full of passive fish, it's more likely to be small SCs or AXss or KXss. I don't like to limp small PPs at any game. I mean, I guess I could limp them at a passive table full of shorter stacks, but when I'm at that type of game, I usually leave within 5 minutes. I'd rather just not play at all.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:30 AM   #17
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

i raise all PP's if first to open from any position, just too much value to be had flopping sets. And assuming youre playing roughly 18% of hands then you wont ever appear out of line so you shouldnt be getting 3bet that much.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:44 AM   #18
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

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Originally Posted by MikeStarr View Post
As usual, I disagree with most of this. I play all pocket pairs from EP. Pocket pairs in general and sets especially are by far the most profitable hands in poker and Im taking every possible opportunity to play them. People who say you cant limp low pps in EP are wrong or dont play well post flop.
from EP I open 22+, suited broadways, AK, AQ, but I don't recommend playing that wide. I'm not a good enough player to open limp anything in EP.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:58 PM   #19
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

1) you typically don't need to worry about 1/2 players figuring out your range
2) this might be a little more advanced, but you could limp your whole range from EP. This would require significant skill postflop though
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:54 PM   #20
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

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Originally Posted by MikeStarr View Post
As usual, I disagree with most of this. I play all pocket pairs from EP. Pocket pairs in general and sets especially are by far the most profitable hands in poker and Im taking every possible opportunity to play them. People who say you cant limp low pps in EP are wrong or dont play well post flop.
It's just not that clear cut especially at 1/2 or 1/3 games where opens tend to be huge and stacks relatively small. If your table is even somewhat aggressive you typically have to limp/call like 7.5BB OOP and then it goes 4-5 ways with a couple 100BB stacks and a couple 30 - 60BB stacks when you do call, because once you call in EP all the limpers tend to call as well. If your table is abnormally passive or stacks are deep or raise sizes are small then limping is okay.

I seriously doubt it much affects one's winrate to just dump 22 - 66 in UTG and UTG+1 however.

I mean what's the secret to playing 22 OOP 5-way with three overcards? I think everyone sucks at this because it's just an unprofitable scenario. If you hit a set it's pretty simple, get your money in. I'm not seeing how limping small PPs in EP requires a lot of post flop skill. Maybe I'm missing something.

A related question, Mike, what do you do in the blinds with low PPs after a button straddle? I sometimes try to limp them because it's only an extra 1.5 - 2 BB but the button or someone else raises to like 17.5BB way too often forcing me to fold, so I've just started dumping them unless the straddler doesn't like to raise (which is unusual).
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:32 PM   #21
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

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Originally Posted by MikeStarr View Post
As usual, I disagree with most of this. I play all pocket pairs from EP. Pocket pairs in general and sets especially are by far the most profitable hands in poker and Im taking every possible opportunity to play them. People who say you cant limp low pps in EP are wrong or dont play well post flop.
U are correct sir.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:25 PM   #22
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

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Originally Posted by Shai Hulud View Post
It's just not that clear cut especially at 1/2 or 1/3 games where opens tend to be huge and stacks relatively small. If your table is even somewhat aggressive you typically have to limp/call like 7.5BB OOP and then it goes 4-5 ways with a couple 100BB stacks and a couple 30 - 60BB stacks when you do call, because once you call in EP all the limpers tend to call as well. If your table is abnormally passive or stacks are deep or raise sizes are small then limping is okay.

I seriously doubt it much affects one's winrate to just dump 22 - 66 in UTG and UTG+1 however.

I mean what's the secret to playing 22 OOP 5-way with three overcards? I think everyone sucks at this because it's just an unprofitable scenario. If you hit a set it's pretty simple, get your money in. I'm not seeing how limping small PPs in EP requires a lot of post flop skill. Maybe I'm missing something.

A related question, Mike, what do you do in the blinds with low PPs after a button straddle? I sometimes try to limp them because it's only an extra 1.5 - 2 BB but the button or someone else raises to like 17.5BB way too often forcing me to fold, so I've just started dumping them unless the straddler doesn't like to raise (which is unusual).
There are lots of limped pots in 1/2 and even 2/5. If you limped in EP with some low to medium PP and theres no raise, there are lots of pots you can steal if you play well post flop. That's what I meant by playing these well post flop.

As far as the blinds after a straddle, I do fold them a lot more often than I would fold them in EP of a standard hand because like you said, people seem to raise more often when there's a straddle (especially the straddler) and the raises are too big to set mine.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:31 PM   #23
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

I play all pocket pairs EP and even raise about 30% of them (I have lowered that number recently.)
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:01 PM   #24
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

if the game is passive enough i raise with them utg in 1/2 to 15. everyone folds and asks me how i liked "my kings." in 1/2 passive games if everyone folds they all fold
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:16 PM   #25
Shai Hulud
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Re: How do I play weak pairs in early position?

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Originally Posted by MikeStarr View Post
There are lots of limped pots in 1/2 and even 2/5. If you limped in EP with some low to medium PP and theres no raise, there are lots of pots you can steal if you play well post flop. That's what I meant by playing these well post flop.
Sure there are lots of limped pots, but how many is enough that it becomes profitable to limp 22 to set mine UTG? If somebody raises every other hand to 7BB, should I still limp it? That's pretty typical. I do encounter games where raises are rare sometimes but these have their own problems with limping low PPs: namely, the other players are also limping PPs up to JJ or higher so we have a lot of RIO; the players are so weak tight it's hard to get much value when we hit a set; and when we miss on three overcard flops and consider stealing the pot, we often run into surprisingly strong hands like AK KQ KJ QJ etc.

So stealing OOP 5 ways? I try that sometimes and it almost never works. And when it does work, it's usually because nobody has a pair and therefore I had the best hand anyway.

I mean can you elaborate on your strategy for picking when to bluff? Like say I limp 33 UTG flop is QT4css. I assume you're not advocating just betting into this. So say I check and it gets checked around. Now the turn is a blank, say the 7d. I sometimes would try to bet here, but my experience is in a limped pot, even a pot sized bet will usually get called by any draw whatsoever, any Q, any T, sometimes even a 7 or 4 after the flop gets checked through. Unless I do a huge overbet (like 2x+) I tend to get called probably twice on average. So say I check and again it gets checked through. River is another seemingly blank card, the 8c. So board is QT478cssdc. Again I can try to pick up the pot but it takes at least a PSB and I'm getting looked up well over half the time, and I always lose if I get looked up. On the other hand I can check and if everyone completely missed they'll typically check it down and I win the pot with no risk. Sometimes the button will try to steal the pot but I can usually figure out if he is value betting or just stabbing at the pot and I can then bluff catch.

For me, in the passive 1/2 games I typically encounter, this seems like the best line. You'd be amazed (or maybe not, IDK) at how often people check down strongish hands in limped multiway pots like TPWK, sometimes even sets trying to hit quads for a high hand, so bluffing is very risky and when it does work we usually had the best hand.

At 2/5 it's totally different. People have fold buttons. Maybe we're talking apples and oranges here. But the OP here is playing 1/3 which runs a lot closer to 1/2 in how it plays.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeStarr View Post
As far as the blinds after a straddle, I do fold them a lot more often than I would fold them in EP of a standard hand because like you said, people seem to raise more often when there's a straddle (especially the straddler) and the raises are too big to set mine.
Makes sense. Thanks.
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