Pocket King Pairs – How to Play Them

King pairs can be a good hand to play in Texas Hold Em. It’s definitely one of the best kept secrets for sure.

I guess you saw King Queen last week, or maybe you’ve been seeing KQ etc. I didn’t mention them in my last post because I wanted to focus on more important things. But it’s definitely a hand you can get a hold of, and you can outplay just about anyone on the table – if you know what to do.

I played against a guy yesterday who called my bets 3 times the big blind with KQ. Today I’d like to explain why playing cards like KQ is such a strong hand.

First of all, a pair of kings is the third best possible starting hand in ten-handed games. If you don’t know the difference between big and small blinds, let me explain. In a ten-handed game, you should play your best hand pre-flop about 75% of the time, regardless of your cards. Play the lowest pair you feel comfortable in post-flop. Let’s say you have a pair of 2s. Pre-flop, you should raise with it 85% of the time, no matter what happened on the flop. In a six-handed table, you should only limp in with these hands about 60% of the time.

Why? At a ten-handed table you can’t afford many unnecessary calls. You, of course, will play some hands more than others, but in general you want to be very selective. If you call a raise with a hand like QQ, there’s a good chance you will be up against a better hand. And if you’re up against someone who calls your bets with AA, as in the example above, you’re probably drawing dead.

Knowing when to play and when to lay down a hand like KQ is a very important part of playing good poker. You should be getting into a hand only when you have a good chance of driving it home.

But what do you do when you have a tough decision? Well, I hope you aren’t just going to call all the way down with KQ. You need to have a read on your opponents. Maybe they play pocket aces today. Not a very good read. If you’re at a table full of limpers, the odds go up that someone’s limping with a big hand. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Sometimes a player’s aggression needs to be reviewed.

But the real point is that you can’t just assumes your good hand is strong just because you’ve seen it win before. It’s kind of a plethora of hands. You have to evaluate your position, your opponent, and the board in order to make that call.

Sometimes KQ is good. It’s good against a lot of different hands. But if you see a raise coming from a tight player in the blinds, and you have a good read on him, you shouldn’t be including him in your pot odds. Call instead. Because if you let him see a free card, you’re bound to lose.

When you have a good read on an opponent though, you can push them around. You’ll get more money if they call and you get to pick the MPO500. And the only way you can pick pockets is to make a big pre-flop raise. All the money that leaves the table will not be in your pocket but out of the game. You have to be smarter.

In conclusion, the ten-spot is something of an exaggeration. You won’t get dealt pocket rockets every hand, and you’re not going to Sea Wolf them easy. But with the right strategic play, you can take the pots where they float, and tools like the ten-spot become misleading rather than indicators of probability.

Even preflop you can simplify the decision making process. You don’t want to challenge yourself too much, but at the same time, the decision making process is fairly simple: push or fold. If you feel like your hand is vulnerable you should probably fold preflop, but unless you have a strong hand you want to get some money in with a weak hand, like KQ suited or garbage like that. You want to retain your stack as large as possible for future hands.

In summation, pocket pairs are probably the easiest hands to make, but even the sturdiest pocket pairs will break down into a lot of separate hands if played incorrectly. You can control the hands quite a bit preflop, but you have to be willing to let your opponent get a read on your style. Too many people try to play too tightly and that costs them a lot of pots.

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Lessons From the Poker TV Show

The first recently discovered old fashioned television series is Prize Pool, produced in syndication with several other early networks. The series ran from tokens CBS and were picked up by the stations of MGM, whose regulators refused to syndicate the telecasts, a rather staticky decision, but the board of directors studied the success of the series, and importantly the contracts with individual stations.

At present, perhaps the best known of the early poker TV shows is probably the short-lived but widely watch Texas Hold’em talk show The Poker Show with Andy Goodman, which broadcast on CBS. Goodman would go on to become the host of the late and much acclaimed Late Show with David Letterman.

The other well known late night hosts of that era were Johnny Doyle and Jack Casey, with Doyle going on to host the World Series of Poker from 1968 to 1969. Each also had their own spin-off shows. Doyle’s program, which was called simply, the World Poker Tour, had all of the major world poker tournaments, and ran for only three seasons. It is interesting to note the parallel nature of the WPT concept with that of the Hold’em concept started in Texas Hold’em, in that both were spawned out of popularity of the game and were designed to attract large numbers of viewers in the millions.

Another of the early pokerrepublik TV shows was The Poker Hour with Johnny Chan, which aired on the Travel Channel from 1979 to 1981. Interestingly, the Travel Channel moved the show from the Poker Hour to its newer, Cover Edition in 2004, the same year that the World Poker Tour was formed.

Another of the old telecasts was The Unfamous Poker Hour, which aired on WSOP from 1976, and if you do the internet search for “SCOOP,” you will discover a plethora of websites dedicated to the history of the game, and the early days of televised poker.

If you plan on watching any of these programs, it’s important to realize that the essence of what they represent is both a game of luck and a game of skill. Chan was a major influence on the endless innovations occurring in the game of poker. If you learn the historical lessons of the game, you will develop an appreciation for the method that got you to this point, and will help you to improve your game more rapidly.

Lesson 1: Learn the concepts of the game from someone who is a true expert. Did you know that Stud experts devised a method for the game that required all 10 players to be in the hand at the same time? This is a key concept that keeps on reappearing in today’s poker. It is the strength of the hand, the way the cards fit in, determining whether you have a sure winner or a sure loser.

Lesson 2: Know your limit. In poker, your limit is both the maximum amount of money that you are willing to bet, and the amount of money you are willing to raise. You are limited on how much you can bet with the exception of one round, during which you are allowed to bet twice the limit. However, there are instances that you can raise the limit when you play no limit poker.

Lesson 3: Know your opponent. Take the cliques out of poker and you will get better deals more often. You are far more likely to get good hands than bad hands in poker, hands that will post a positive EV regardless of who is playing. It just requires knowing your target.

Lesson 4: Get to know your opponent’s profile. Today, players have access to online profiling tools that allow them to know the profiles of the other players at their table. When the table is tight, it is harder to win hands. Once you know the ‘profile’ of your opponents, you can adjust your playing to be more solid. Knowing your opponents and having a good idea of what their future holds, will help you to make more stable decisions.

Lesson 5: Pay to see the cards. Let’s say that it is half price, and it will cost you $50 to see the flop in poker, unless you are playing AA. HoldingVarious combinations of cards that aren’t AA will certainly improve your chances of winning the hand.

Lesson 6: Start slow and have a low profile. In poker, the better hand doesn’t always win the pot. Having a low profile will help you to get a bargain on your hands, so it is important to build one up till the point where you can see the flop at a low cost. Also, when playing limit, the higher limit games will typically have a bigger pot than lower limit games.

Lesson 7: Bet your good hands. If you have a good hand, you need to bet it. Particularly in No Limit Hold’em Strategies, the idea of betting the flop is Revolution Riviera.

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