Pocketpairs PF low limit SnG

    • rlaesk
      Joined: 03.09.2010 Posts: 10
      Hello everyone!

      New to poker and pokerstrategy.com as I am, I've been doing quite well at low limit SnG ($2 at FTP). After a couple of months grinding I feel quite comfortable with my play - with one exception, which is the pocket pairs pre flop, as I have a hard time valuing them.

      Early game when blinds are low i limp in every pocketpair when I can which pays of big some times when I hit sets. What I have problems with are hands like 66-TT (and perhaps also JJ) in game stages where you are at perhaps 15BB. If I limp, I dont know what to do vs a raise, and if I raise, which I usually do with TT and JJ, it's though to continue when aces, kings or queens hit.

      I know that it's hard to answer without knowing table position etc, but I would really appreciate some general guide lines and rules of thumb here. As an example: how do I continue with 88 on a 7,J,A flop with 2-3 opponents for example? Or if it is a 2,5,A flop (flushdraws disregarded). If I am MP or better with 25-30 BB, do I raise or limp with hands like 55-TT and what flop cards decides whether i Cbet or check-fold on the flop?

      Thanks for a really great and inspiring website!
  • 4 replies
    • pzhon
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      Limping in with low pocket pairs seems to be profitable in early levels in low stakes games. However, you should recognize that it isn't a good play. You are just counting on your opponents playing worse. A good player who recognizes that you tend to limp with hands like low pairs can punish your limps without paying off your good hands.

      Some good players never open limp. They may overlimp with a hand like 55 after a limper or two, but if they play 55 at all when no one is in the pot yet, they raise.

      If you raise with a pair, and get called by two or more players, you should tend to give up if there are 2-3 overcards on the flop, and sometimes with only 1 overcard. There are some exceptions, but it is often right to check on the flop. You have an information disadvantage, since you don't know whether your opponents hit but they know. Your hand is vulnerable, but not really strong enough to protect. If the flop is checked through and no one bets into you on a low turn card, then your confidence in your pair should increase.

      In heads-up pots, high pairs which are weaker than top pair are reasonable candidates for checking behind to induce bluffs or later bad calls. You cbet strong hands for value, and weak hands as bluffs or semibluffs, but some middle hands (and some draws) should be checked behind. You should be more inclined to check behind with JJ on an A52 flop than 99, since there are more overcards to 99 which can hurt you. If you have JJ you can hope someone will pair a T and will give you some value later.
    • farbwenz
      Joined: 01.01.2010 Posts: 359
      sorry if I turn your thread inside out rlaesk^^

      A good player who recognizes that you tend to limp with hands like low pairs can punish your limps without paying off your good hands.

      How would you punish someone who limps a lot? I would think about a standard bet preflop, to push him off his hand, and a contibet postflop, and folding to a raise.

      advantage: many regs multitable and it takes a long time to see they are being exploited. Quite a few are completely unable to adapt(though some of them are not human^^).I myself don't normally pay as much attention to the tables as I should( I'm 4-tabling at the moment^^), and it never occured to me that someone's exploiting my play:D

      disadvantage: many regs on lower limits don't like giving up their hands, and might just call before and on the flop. so you can easily end in a rather big pot with marginal or no hands.

      so, is it profitable to exploit PP limpers that way? about limping yourself, I'd say it depends on the poker platform, from what I've heard about FTP you should be paid off often enough^^

      back to topic: in the middle stages I never limp PP, I'd rather attempt to steal (many players don't defend their blinds, they might call on preflop with crap, but even then fold to your cbet).
    • pzhon
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      If you know that someone is limping only with pocket pairs for set value, then there are many ways to exploit them.

      If you feel that the player will fold to continuation bets except with a set, then you can raise ATC and bet almost any flop. Someone who calls preflop, and then folds to a continuation bet 88% of the time, counts on getting paid off a lot on the 12% hits. Usually don't pay them off.

      Some players get stubborn with low pairs if you have shown weakness. For example, if the flop is drawy, and you don't bet, then they assume your hand is weak and then they will call a bet later. If you flop top pair on a two-tone flop, consider checking. Normally you would bet for protection, but you don't need to protect against a flush draw since someone playing low pocket pairs can't have a suited hand, hence can't have a flush draw except on a monotone flop. After you show weakness, the set-miner may bet the turn to try to protect his low pair against overcards, or he may pay off a value bet or two.

      Remember that most pocket pairs have showdown value on the river. Many players don't bluff much with showdown value. This means you can fold to many river bets against players who don't have many bluffing hands in their ranges.

      The reason you can do all of these is that low pairs are not good hands in raised pots, particularly with tournament stacks. They have an information disadvantage most of the time. They often win unimproved, but it is hard to bet an unimproved low pair for value.
    • arisko
      Joined: 23.09.2009 Posts: 392
      good info in this thread, appreciate it :)