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We all know or heard the phrase “Patience is a virtue” but many may wonder what does this have to do with the game of poker. In the game of Texas Hold’em it does become self evident. The majority of the game comprises of several players waiting for good starting hands and then play them aggressively. The best advice to early stage player is to avoid getting trapped because you wind up playing a troublesome hand from early position. Because most likely you will then get forced to call a raise with a hand you know is not your best hand even if the flop hits it.
Remember: This is the point where as the virtue shows its head if you lose or lack patience, you will stray far from trying to maintain your goal of playing a game of selectivity. As a less experienced player you may need to test the waters to find out just how selective you should be, depending on the feel of the game and your current game you will be able to decide what is right for you.
Although only few players you come in contact with will dispute the need to play a specific poker style, keep in mind that what most players consider selective and what you consider selective are two entirely different things. Many players are fond of hands like King -Ten or Queen – Jack from an early position, regardless of how aggressive the game might be. They will tend to raise without hesitating. After all; in their value system, any two cards ten-or-above are strong cards therefore worth getting involved with regardless of the circumstances.
When your opponents come out betting, you have to judge if your opponent might be bluffing with a hand like Ace-Queen, or semi-bluffing with Jack-Jack, but he might also have a hand like Ace-King. You can’t be sure what he has, and consequently no idea about where you stand in relation to your opponent. Now if your opponent holds a king, his kicker is likely to be better than yours, since you can be fairly sure he didn’t raise before the flop with King-9nine. If you have a hand like King -Ten and your opponent holds King – Queen or Ace – King, other than some odd flops that will result in a split pot or a miracle flop that gives you a straight, there are only three cards in the deck that can win it for you.
Yet many players in your game probably treat King – Ten as though it was a top-notch hand. It’s not. Sure, it’s a hand you should see the flop with if you’re in late position and no one has raised. In fact, if you are in late position and no one has called the blinds, it’s frequently a raising hand. But it is not a hand you can cold-call a raise with, nor is it a hand you can comfortably play from early position if you are in a game where frequent raises are the rule rather than the exception. It is a troublesome hand. So are hands like Ace-Jack, Ace-Ten, Queen-Jack, Queen-Ten, Jack-Ten, and Ace-Queen suited? While they have their place in your repertoire of playable hands, they are hands that have to be played carefully. This is where patience is a virtue in your poker playing strategy. The more patience that you demonstrate during your game, more the more your opponents will think about the style of play. If you play these hands indiscriminately, they will put a dent in your bankroll. While they may look good to many Hold’em players, when you are dealt these hands in the wrong position, or in a ram-and-jam game, you need the patience and discipline to throw them away.
Remember to maintain a selective style and game and this will be paid off in time by the rewards of not throwing in hand after hand while trying to capitalize off someone else’s game.