Power Holdem Hands

"Power hands" are hands that have sufficient starting strength to be worth playing in any game condition. There are not many of these hands. In general, power hand means a hand with which it is almost always worth opening the pot. Because they are worth opening with, does not mean you should always play them. With some of these hands you should not call an early position opener. You need a strong hand to call than to bet.

This is because when you are opening the pot you only need to consider your chances of beating random hands. Once another player has opened from an early position, his hand is no longer random it is likely to be more selective about what hands they play from early positions.

Therefore, the power hands have been divided into two groups dominating power hands and dominated power hands. You should thus open the pot with hands from either of these groups but however you should not call an early position opener with the dominated power hands.

The power hands include any above-average pair, 8s or larger; suited Aces, with a 9 or larger; suited Kings, with a 10 or larger; suited Queens, with a 10 or larger; suited Jacks, with a 10 or larger; and unsuited Aces, Queens or larger. Dominating Power Hands in holdem poker.

"Dominating power hands" means a hand that is likely to be a better hand than the hand a tough player will open with from an early position. Medium and large pairs, 9s or larger, seem to do well even against an early position opener. The only other hands that seem to do well almost always are suited Ace, King or suited Ace, Queen.

Dominated Power Hands

A "dominated power hand" is one that when it makes a pair it is often against either a better pair or the same pair with a better kicker. For example a hand like QT is a dominated hand. When the term "dominated power hands" is used, it doesn't mean the term in exactly the same way, although it includes those hands that are typically considered dominated hands. There are also other hands to be considered such as AK which would not typically be considered a dominated hand.

"Dominated power hand" simply mean hands that are generally good enough to open with but not good enough to call an early position opener. This groups of hands consists a pair of 8s; Ace suited with a Jack, 10 or 9 any suited King; any suited Queen; any suited Jack, and unsuited Aces.

Note that with most of the opening poker hands that you should open with, you should not call an opener with. There are two reasons you can open with more hands than you call an opener with. The first reason is when you are first to act, you are against a group of unknown, random hands. You should open with hands which is better than a group of random hands. When someone else has opened, his hand is no longer random. Now you are against a good hand that makes it correct to fold many hand plus a bunch of random hands. It is the information that one player has a good hand that makes it correct to fold many hands you would have opened with yourself. The second reason is you can open with some marginal hands such as 88 or A9 because many players tend to call an opener with worse hands than they would open with. This would be the mistake on the part of your rivals and it is one you can exploit by opening with hands that might not seem like strong hands. This is one of the situations where the kinds of errors your rivals tend to make have a large effect on the value of your hand.

Drawing Hands

"Drawing hands" are hands that are not better hands than the opener, but they have enough potential improvement that they should be played when at least one other player has called the opener, giving you at least two rivals. Once that has happened, you are getting better pot odds on your call. Although, the hand usually won't succeed, it will win often enough to make it worth playing.

Lot of dominated power hands, along with some little weaker hands, has value as drawing hands. For example, take a hand like K9.

If there is an early position opener, the chances of them having a hand like AK or even KJ or TT will decrease the high card value of K9. There is little chance that the early position opener has a hand like QJ, where your K9 chance is not much worth but adding the odds you are getting from a couple of callers to flop a flush draw or even two pair will make a hand like K9 well worth playing.

Note that with few callers giving you odds, you don't require much of a chance that your hand is best. You need some chance with reasonably good drawing chances.

Drawing hands are normally playable when you have two or five other players in the pot. This gives you good odds on a call. However if the players you are against are mostly players who tend to play almost well after the flop then in that case some of the drawing hands might not be profitable. Exactly how many callers you will depends on how poorly and how loose they play after the flop. Against good poker player, two callers won't give sufficient odds, although two callers are enough against poor players. Based on these factors, you can sometimes call a raise or even raise yourself from a late position with a drawing hand.

Speculative Hands

"Speculative hands" are hands that need to be improved to win but have enough of a chance of improvement that they are profitable hands if you are getting 4-1 or on a call before the flop. These are hands you will be playing when four or six players see the flop. Here again, exactly how many callers you will need depends on how poorly and how loosely they play after the flop.

A hand like 76 is an example of speculative hand. This hand is not going to be the best hand before the flop but it chances of flopping the best draw are good. A good draw with this hand is probable to get more of actions at good poker betting odds on the flop.

Without the perfect flop, you won't be taking speculative hands past the flop. This would often be the case. But when you do hit a good flop like A65 or 853 then you will want to play your draw very aggressively (more of it will be discussed later). Because you will be folding on many flops, you don't want to call many raises before the flop with these hands. The exception would be if you have more than just a few callers and the callers are players who tend to be loose and tend to call raises after the flop.

Gambling Hands

"Gambling hands" are those long-shot reading poker hands that do have some chance of hitting a flop that leads to a big pot. However, these hands are sufficient long shots that you need to get very long odds on a call after the flop, something like 6-1 or better. You will be playing with these hands when five or more players see the flop. Because of dead money from the blinds, it is often the case you need five players to get 6-1 on your money.

Many unsuited hands are included in this group. This goes against a popular thought that unsuited cards play best against few rivals. However in a tight game, it is true that high-card value is the prime considerations in hand value and that flush potential only becomes important as a secondary feature. In typical, loose or very loose games, flush potential is almost always importance. Hands without flush potential are usually only worth playing if you get very good odds on the pre-flop betting round to compensate for the lack of potential of the hands. Suited hands profit from extra callers; unsuited hands often need the extra callers to get the odds they need to be worth playing.

A9 is the example of gambling hands. This hand doesn't have many ways to win. It is not a bad hand, just not a hand that often wins the big pot. The 9 is a weak kicker to the Ace and you don't want any raises before the flop with his hand. If the pot is un-raised and there are many callers, however, the 9 may be the best kicker if another player has an Ace. Be careful while playing this hand and don't put more money in the pot before the flop.

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