Playing in Loose Games

Playing Large Pairs

Let’s look a little closer at a pair of queens (and similar hands ) on third street. If you hold

                

in early position, you should probably not raise if you are in a game where your raise will fail to cut down the field. In fact, if in a good, loose game, you choose to raise only with hands like.

                

where your kickers is now a straight flush card or

                

that play well in large multiway pots, there would be nothing wrong with that. To see why this is correct you must ask yourself when you are in a game like this, “What am I trying to accomplish by raising?” For raise with Q7Q to be correct, you must be able to limit the pot to only a small number of players.

If you can’t do this, then you prefer to get in cheaply and make a decision on a later poker street as to how the hand should be played. It would be different if you could limit the field and thus frequently win without improving. But once the game is loose that’s usually not the case. Look at it this way. Suppose you raise with Q7Q, several 5 players call, but your raise causes another player with

                

to fold. Are you happy that he folded? If you were heads-up you might be happy that the T33 folded. But once many players are in, you have to improve anyway, and the T33 is only going to hurt you if he improves to at least three-of-a-kind while you also improve to a lesser hand. So if you knew your raise with the Q7Q would force the T 33 out, but a call will not, that’s not a reason for you to raise.

(Of course it would be different if your kicker was a straight fulsh card. Now you should raise for some of the reasons that were discussed previously. A multiway pot no longer hurts you.)