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Good starting hands do not come around all that often and great starting hands arrive at an even less frequent pace. When you do get one of these premium starting hands you really need to make them pay off.
How do you get the maximum value for these hands?
That is the question we are going to take a look at right now.
For the purpose of this exercise we are going to assume that you have a premium hand like A A, K K, Q Q, or Ace King suited. More speculative hands like suited connectors are better played for value after you have seen the flop and know whether or not you have made them.
Many factors come in to play when you are trying to determine how to get the most value for you hand. The type of players that are at your table and your experience with playing with them so far is certainly a big factor.
Knowing which players are likely to raise, which players are likely to call a raise, and which players are likely to bet if you just limp in to the pot.
These are just a few of the factors that you will want, and need to be able to, consider in trying to get the maximum value for your hand before the flop. If you are playing in a no limit game then you are also going to find that “bet sizing” is very important.
You want to make certain that the size of the bet that you make will induce a call.
Your Position in the Hand Affects Your Play
If you are in early position and you have a premium starting hand then you want to consider whether or not you will be able to pull off a call raise. When you are considering if a check raise will work or not you have to look at the players that are still to act behind you.
Do you think that any of these players will bet if you limp in to the pot? If you feel strongly that if you call the pot then one of the players behind you will raise, then that would definitely be the way, in early position, to get the maximum value for your premium hand.
If you do not think that anyone behind you will raise if you just call the pot then you are better off raising right off the bat. If you are not sure, then you first of all need to start paying more attention and then you are probably best off just raising here.
The ideal situation would be that you got a few calls from players that will fold when you 3 bet the hand. This will not only increase the value of the pot but will make it contain a lot of “dead money”.
If you are in late position and you have a premium hand then you will almost always want to raise at this point. Many times the other players will just think that you are raising because of your position and not because of the hand that you are holding.
This is especially true if you have been raising in late position quite a bit recently.
Only the Blinds Left
When everyone has folded to you and you are in late position holding a premium hand, then you have to take a look at the players in the blinds. Do you think that your raise will make them fold?
Are the players in the blinds the type of players that will raise you if you just limp in to the pot? Unless one of the blinds is known to you for this type of a pattern then you should just raise the pot.