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Author Topic: Playing small pairs heads up NLHE- Advice wanted  (Read 1634 times)
7letters
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« on: August 23, 2010, 05:28:23 AM »

I did it again, played some awful and awfully drunk heads up poker last night.
Ahh well, far from the first time, won't be the last time and it was a lot of fun at the time Smiley

One thing I have noticed more in recent times though is my lack of confidence
playing low pairs in nlhe heads up games when first to act.

I think much about heads up play is situational so it's sometimes difficult to discuss in forums so let's say:

-youre at a point where the blinds are getting chunky enough that
you don't want to be needlessly folding and giving chips away preflop.
You've started putting pressure on his BB more often than not.


-your opponent isn't a particularly strong player but likes to call any-two and see flops and will chase draws, sometimes regardless.


- you are dealt say 33/44/55 on the button (but much of this post will apply to 66/77 also)

I might change it up with some calls but I often like to make a standard(i.e.standard for that particular game) raise- if uncontested fine.
If I hit a flop great.
If I miss a flop, the opponent is first to act. If he checks I can represent on a suitable flop.

I will likely miss the flop, so the problems are there though with most flops.

Ok, there's always a danger of being check-raised on the flop, if for instance you bet an Axx board, but the loss is mostly negligible in the scheme of things if you must fold and lose a bets worth of chips. Since I might often bet, let's say half a pot, give or take some, with both good and mediocre holdings the damage can be
managed and keep me playing my game until hopefully I can get some nice spots to take bigger pots down. So the fear of a check-raise isn't often a problem.

What is a problem are the lesser looking flops. The J28 stuff, Q25 or whatever. The problems are of course more apparent on any flops with two high cards.
Checking doesn't do much for me unless I'm intending reraising the turn or whatever.
I'm possibly ahead anyway here on the flop. I can also represent well since I raised preflop, so I may make a bet which is called by my any-two card opponent (who remember is also a player prone to making sometimes unreasonable chases)
Now, the turn can be a blank, a medium card or a high card and the trouble starts. Has he hit 2nd pair on the flop? Has the turn hit him? has he now got a draw? Either way my small cards are beaten by any pair he now holds.

I do seem to be losing value with smaller pairs and I'm somewhat confused lately about how I should play them - and not only against the type of player mentioned above. This obviously isn't ideal since of course I'm probably going into the hand ahead many times.

Any views?

Am I overvaluing small pairs? Should I invest very little,generally limp more often and let them go easily?
« Last Edit: August 23, 2010, 06:23:52 AM by 7letters » Logged

Mars - the pink planet.
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 04:36:11 PM »

Heads up is not so much about your cards as it is about the way your opponent plays.  There are times I will fold hands like Q7 from the button simply because villain is playing overly aggressive and it isn't worth it to play an expensive hand as only a 55% favorite.

The big difference between low pocket pairs and Q7, T8, etc., is that you generally know where you are when you play T8.  You aren't thinking of calling villain down with T-high.  Hands like 22, etc., are hard because a bet could mean anything heads up.

Playing from the button, I play both these hands the same way - standard raise, unless of course I'm switching my game up for one reason or another.  Post flop is the same way - bet out pretty much any given board, and adjust according to how villain responds.
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7letters
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 08:50:07 AM »

Yeah thanks, I think that's exactly what I was getting at - it's much easier to know where you are with
a hand like T8 when a flop comes.

Those low pairs feel good but I think I am over-valuing them. I will think about this some more.
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Mars - the pink planet.
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2010, 10:53:50 AM »

Here's the most important thing to remember playing heads up:

The odds of flopping a pair (or better) are roughly 30%.  The odds of hitting a pair (or better) by the river are 50%.  Simply put, the odds are against your opponent to hit his pair, so c-betting is also part value-betting.  That said, recognize when you're beat, and shut down all betting if you know villain won't fold his 3rd pair.
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