Preflop hand selection in capped games

Many times I have talked about the importance of playing the correct hands preflop. Hand selection is often times overlo...

Posted Jul 11, 2013


Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

Many times I have talked about the importance of playing the correct hands preflop. Hand selection is often times overlooked by both good and bad players. The bad because they want to gamble and the good because they think that they have a large advantage post flop. 

The fact of the matter is, however, the shorter the effective stacks the more important hand selection becomes. In games with a spread 100 big blind maximum buy in the average stack is usually only about seventy to eighty big blinds. Unfortunately with these stack sizes it becomes extremely difficult to profitably flat call with implied odds types of hands when facing preflop raise sizes of more than 5x, something that is common at the lower levels.

I have talked about the rule of fifteen times, twenty five times, thirty five times as it relates to pocket pairs, suited connectors, and gapped suited connectors in a previous column. You can visit my training website click on articles for a refresher. Every time you break these rules, that is call with a hand like 8 7 when the stacks are not deep enough, you are losing money. And every time your opponent breaks those rules you are gaining money. 

Now there are times that you can call with speculative hands with the intention of taking away the pot later on but in general bluffing people off of strong holdings at these levels is not recommended. The next time you are on a downswing or you think you are playing bad analyze the hands that you are playing when someone else has raised the pot. Also if you are playing gapped and suited connecting hands from out of position solely based on the future value of hitting your hand you are making a big mistake. Position is everything in big bet poker and playing draws when first to act puts yourself at a big disadvantage throughout the rest of the hand.

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