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Best hands for calling

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  • Best hands for calling

    Common situation here... Deep stacked (tourney or cash game) and someone else has made a standard raise.

    I think we all know to call with pocket pairs, as long as we are getting 10 or 15 to 1 of implied odds (depending who you ask).

    But I am interested in the other categories of calling hands, and which ones we should be calling with, both in position and out of position (like in the blinds). The common idea is that you want hands like suited connectors, and those are better than just unsuited big cards or Ax hands, but I'm not sure how to test that to find out if it's true. I've been playing around on Poker cruncher, but I'm not sure exactly the best way to test it.

    For example: Do I want to know the percent of time that the hands flop "the lead" or flop something we can see, like a straight draw, or two pair etc. If I have 87s against AK and the flop comes Q97, I'm "ahead" but there's no way I can know that.

    Bear in mind that I am talking about situations where you will play postflop, so I'm not just interested in equities when you see all five cards.

    I hope all this makes sense.

  • #2
    I think it makes most sense to just use the charts while playing and reviewing hands until the optimal ranges become familiar and then make adjustments from there. No reason to reinvent the wheel so to speak.

    The solvers have figured out what pre-flop ranges lead to the highest EV at balance, so just learn what the solver does and why, and make adjustments based on opponents.

    Like with your pocket pair example, online 10NL LJ opens to 2.5BB we're in the HJ we're folding pocket pairs worse than 99, and we're 3-betting our entire playable range. Even though we're getting correct implied odds with pairs, we're in a bad spot when someone squeezes, smaller pairs lose set over set, and it will be hard to realize or equity on many boards. On the other hand, in a live 1/2 game, you can make an argument for calling with all your small and middle pocket pairs because there are virtually no 3-bets in those games, and people will play relatively straightforwardly post-flop


    • #3
      OK, I just made this chart. Hopefully you can see it.

      I looked at the percentages of hitting certain values on the flop, and also the equity (on the flop). What's interesting to me is that 87s has a much higher chance of smashing the flop, even though its overall equity is lower than a hand like KTo.

      What I'm getting at is when you only look at equity, that doesn't necessarily tell you about "playability."

      Again to my example of holding 87s and the flop comes J73 and my opponent has AK. I am ahead, but it's gonna be hard to get to a showdown and have that hold up.


      • #4
        I get what you're saying, The percent of our raw equity that materializes in our expected value is our equity realization, this is factored into solver solutions.

        I just don't think you should be trying to figure out which hands to call in every spot from scratch, just look at the solver solutions, get familiar with what hands it calls with in different spots, understand why it calls with those hands, then adjust from that fundamentally sound as needed based on your opponents.