Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's one of my graphs).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Early Position Small Pocket Pair Strategy

Ok I ran a few simulations using pokerazor, I'm now convinced that we cannot raise the small pocket pairs in early position with the intention of using a 'bet a set, check fold the rest' mentality. We must be able to win the pot more often. The sim I ran used the following assumptions:
1/ We raise 22 under the gun
2/ The button calls with a range that excludes {QQ+, AK} but has all other broadways, pairs and no gap suited connectors.
3/ We only bet sets on the flop and always get our stack in
4/ Our opponent only bets (and stacks off) with top pair or better
This strategy has a global expectation of a small loss comparable to losing a small blind each time. This might not seem like a big loss but remember, we've assumed that villain will stack off with top pair which is unrealistic. The actual EV is probably much worse. So what if we try and win the pot in other ways? Well, alot of the time we'll have a multiway pot so trying to bluff the pot is not going to be profitable. When we do get heads up we'll often have flops that are terrible for c-betting. So in my humble opinion and using the analysis of the very powerful pokerazor application raising the small pocket pairs in early position (at least at micro limits) is not going to be very profitable, and may actually be a strategy leak. Of course I may have made a fundamental mistake in my analysis, and I hope you'll show me if this is true.
The sims I ran where we call in position showed a set mining profit assuming the initial raiser will liberally stack off with top pair +.
I'm not trying to beat on the set mine strategy, but I do wonder whether the games have adapted now so that this edge has diminished. Certainly in my recent experience I have achieved better win rates by purely playing hand ranges that fare well against my opponents' (being more conservative with our estimation of the implied odds). Anyway, this is a steep learning curve for me and if I'm wrong I'll be the first to post about it. Hope the cards are falling your way, GL.

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