The hardcore poker players will tell you that poker is truly a game of patience and confidence, but most newbies will just tell you that poker is downright frustrating. Why is poker so frustrating? It’s because there are a lot of things to remember, and everyone that has ever played a hand of poker is going to have different ideas than you on how to actually get the job done properly. You don’t have to play poker like anyone else but yourself, but there are some general guidelines that over time can help you refine your poker game in many different ways.
So let’s go over something that tends to slip newbies up and keep them from winning big pots: pocket pairs. Newcomers to poker either assume that pocket pairs are always right, or they assume that pocket pairs are going to be their long lost savior come back to revive pots that have gotten sickly and faint.
All jokes aside, the truth is that you have to play poker strategically. You can’t just assume that pocket pairs are going to save the day. Never hold onto hole cards when you know that you should fold. A lot of players hold onto 8-8 or 5-5 or even “lucky” 7-7 hoping that you’re going to get an 8, 5, or 7 on the flop respectively. Three of a kind tends to put you in a good position, because three of a kind can indeed turn into a full house. Are the odds always in your favor?
Not necessarily, and that’s the whole point of this article. You can’t assume that you will always be the favorite with pocket pairs, only to get creamed by AK or another premium combo that will blow you out of the water.
So, how do we make sure that we are taking all of our opportunities when they come up? Well, you will need to start calculating pot odds and card odds. If you don’t know how to do that, we have another guide that can help you do that.
Remember how we stated earlier that poker is a matter of patience and confidence? We weren’t joking — sometimes you’ll have to let go of a hand that you really think is killer. That’s never a good thing for the ego, but your bankroll will thank you. In fact, if you really think about this from a bankroll management perspective, you will find that knowing when to handle your cards can help you take care of your bankroll better than just about any other concept or construct.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for advice and bring up specific examples. This means that if you’re not tracking the card history of the hands that you’ve already played, you might want to start doing that. It’s better to know where you stand than to just assume that you’ll automatically remember all of the hands that you’ve played. Remember that in order to move up in the ranks of the poker players you will need to make sure that you actually start thinking like a great poker player. The truly great players play thousands and thousands of hands before they feel like it’s time to change their poker game — either higher stakes or a bigger playing field.
At the end of the day, you are the one that is actually in control of your growth as a poker player. You might have felt at the beginning that asking about the validity of pocket pairs just isn’t important, but this isn’t the case at all. Why not get started today playing a better poker game — you’ll be glad you did!