Poker Wisdom From Phil Gordon Part 2 And Playing J-J
In Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book, he points out the importance of position in No Limit Hold’em – although I think it applies to Limit Hold’em as well. Being last to bet, he says, is having “good position”.
The importance of your position in a Cheri Casino hand should not be underestimated. Being on the button (being the dealer, in reality or in essence) gives you a decided advantage. You get the benefit of seeing how everyone else bets. Suppose you’ve gained a strong pair (20 points) pre-flop and no one has bet strongly. You can take advantage of this fact by betting strongly pre-flop, if no one has already tried to steal the blinds.
You’ll also have to factor in whether or not any of the players has a tendency to slow-play. Maybe they don’t want you to know yet that they’ve got a strong hand. But as Gordon says, if an opponent doesn’t already have a pair pre-flop, they’ll “only flop a pair about 35% of the time.” On the other hand, another poker writer claimed that the vast majority of Texas Hold’em hands are won with two pair.
I’ve previously talked about playing A-A, K-K, and Q-Q (high 20s). I’m a fairly tight player early in a game. If I get J-J or 10-10 (small 20s) pre-flop, I’ll play them cautiously, depending on my position.
If I’m in the blinds, I’ll slow-play until after the flop. If the flop gives me something stronger (trips or another pair, or a straight draw), I’ll stay in the hand. If I’m in the small blinds (directly left to the dealer, thus first to bet), I’ll probably slow-play and bet the minimum (in both Limit and No Limit). If I’m in the big blinds (second to bet), my action depends on the player before me. If they bet weakly, I’ll probably call or raise. If they bet strongly, I’ll only follow along if it’s not early in the game. Alternately, I might actually fold, to give players the impression that I only play very strong hands – especially if it’s early in the game. I”m especially likely to do this if I don’t have to reveal my cards. Else my strategy may be easy to guess.
If I’m in a good Cheri Casino position (including second to last to bet), I may bet strongly if no one else has, and it’s later in a game. If it’s early, I’ll probably bet the minimum or fold.
Each situation, of course, is different, and you have to learn to get a feel for the players you are up against. Patience, one of Phil Gordon’s 5 qualities of a good poker player, is, I feel, the most important. Phil Hellmuth has echoed this, especially for online Texas Hold’em.