In the first of this two-part interview for the Strategy with Kristy podcast, LeggoPoker CEO Aaron Jones answered poker theory questions sent in by listeners. If you haven't heard it yet, you can listen to it here:
For Part Two, Jones analyzes poker hands sent in by listeners. To make it easier to follow along, host Kristy Arnett has posted the hand histories in her latest PokerNews blog.
In the first hand, the Hero is faced with an under-the-gun raise to $11.50 in a $2/$4 no-limit hold'em six-max game online. He has pocket sixes in the big blind. Here is a snippet from the interview after Arnett asked Jones what options the Hero has in this spot preflop:
Theoretically, I guess, they are sort of the easiest hands to play in some ways because you're never going to be put in a particular position. Whereas if you defend a hand like jack-ten suited or something like that, it will sometimes come like ten-six-five and you'll have to decide if you're going to call all three streets, two streets, how many streets your opponent would bet with a bluff. There are nine outs to overcards that can come, or even if he has a draw, there are overcards that can come that will make you fold the best hand. There are a lot of dicey situations.
With a hand like a pair, you can somewhat play for set value. However, we're not quite getting a good enough price to just do that. Because, it's not like he's always going to have pocket aces and it's going to come king-six-five. Sometimes he's going to have pocket kings or sometimes he's going to have ace-queen and it's going to come king-six-five. In both cases, we don't get any extra money from him. So, from a theoretical point of view, small pairs are some of the most poorly played because people think, "Oh cool. I'm just going to call a few bucks here or a few bucks there. Oh, it's a few more bucks? What are my odds preflop? What are my implied odds? Alright, we're just going to try to hit three-of-a-kind. If I do, I'll just shovel a bunch of money in postflop." That was a great idea in 2007 and still a pretty good one in 2009. But, now that it's 2012, it's a little bit more difficult to get away with stuff like that.
I would probably not defend pocket twos through fives here in this exact situation. I might even fold sixes against the right guy, but more than likely, I would call. You have to sort of construct a calling range here though that is pleasing to the balance gods.
Say we always want to call here with pocket sixes through tens. We never want to three-bet with those hands because it could put us in a position where we fold the best hand if we get four-bet by ace-king. We don't have any blockers to him having blockers to four-bet bluff us. There are just a lot of reasons we don't want to be three-betting sixes through tens. But, you can't only have sixes through tens in your range. You'd much rather have sixes through tens and also have queen-jack suited, king-queen suited, ace-jack suited, and maybe like ace-queen offsuit in your calling range. Even against some guys who I didn't think their four-betting range or their getting-it-in range is particularly wide, I would call a hand like ace-king.
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