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What hands are worth playing?

Each poker game is different and each poker table of opposition has different challenges, sometimes you should play tight and sometimes you should loosen up a bit. But, what percentage of hands should you chase ahead of the flop? For the purpose of common sense lets presume we get dealt a fair cross-section of cards, cos obviously if you get dealt Pocket Cowboys (Kings) followed by Pocket Rockets (Aces) you should be playing 100% of your hands, and NEVER change your underwear cos they are the luckiest pants EVER!

Back in the real world, the answer is a bit trickier and there’s not a simple number answer. The joy of poker is that it’s not like reading off a cheat sheet, y’know those annoying cards they hand out in casinos telling how you should play each permutation of cards at blackjack, I’m sure they have a proper name (but let’s call them the thief of fun, for people you are bad at simple maths). Poker is a complex sport and it’s up to you to make the tough calls and play your cards as if your livelihood depends on it (maybe some day it will).

A-K (Anna Kournikova)

A-K (Anna Kournikova)

As a case in point of you get dealt the Big Slick (that’s Ace – King) you may well think you’re on easy street as King – Ace is so important to (and looks so good in an Ace High Royal Flush), Ace high looks like the big boss f starting hands, but it isn’t. There’s a reason that A-K sometimes goes by the moniker of Anna Kournikova (see below). There’s plenty who will tell you that A-K is the best non-paired hand in Texas Hold`Em. The old seasoned hands (attached to old seasoned players), will preach prudence and caution to you, and it’s definitely not an All-In type of hand, cos as anyone who’s pulled into a darkened club at 3am has found out, pretty can go ugly real quick. The worst thing with an A-K is you might end up chasing shadows if the flop fails to give up any productive cards, but you feel committed to the “cool” cards in your hand. Ace – King is sometimes known as an ‘Anna Kournikova’ as the hand looks real good…but doesn’t win much.

Curiosity may well have killed a cat once and given birth to an old saying, but curiosity has busted plenty of poker players. If you find yourself turning into a real Calling Station (that’s someone who calls in on anything and nothing) you’ll find yourself scratching your legs through empty pockets faster than you can say, “With God as my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

Or you could save the Vivian Leigh hysterics and just play a little smarter.

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