If you're like me, you've turned into quite a televised poker junkie over the past three or four years. There were times that I watched a lot more poker on tv than I do nowadays, but that is much more because of the two Hammer Kids
One thing that I've started to incorporate into my Holdem game lately is something I see many of the big pros do on High Stakes Poker -- I've started limping in, and even calling middling raises, with position with some of my suited connectors and even some suited one- and two-gappers, and some non-suited connectors as well. This is something I almost never used to do, at least as far as calling a raise with this type of hand, but lately I've started doing this if I can take a flop relatively cheap and I might be able to win a pile of chips.
Of course, most of the time, the outcome of this exercise has me folding these hands on the flop. As I've discussed many times with my play of middle pairs, blind steals, etc., I always make it a point to be very careful with a crappy hand once I see a flop with it. I have a very low tolerance for flops when I'm holding, say, J9s, and if I don't hit the flop solidly with that hand (say, at least top pair, probably with some draws necessary as well), then I'm not going to give anyone any action on the flop. But as long I don't make this move too often, I've found it can be profitable in a no-limit type of game where one big pot can make up for many missed attempts and calls preflop.
Just last night (I have screenshots but I'll spare you them today on this pre-Labor Day Friday), I was playing in the nightly 20k guaranteed tournament at 10pm ET on full tilt poker. Early on in the event, I was on the button with 86s, and it folded around to the guy in the cutoff, who put in a standard 3x preflop raise. I considered mucking like I usually would, but then I started channeling the spirit of Daniel Negreanu and suddenly found myself calling the raise from the button. This is the first time I can ever recall calling a raise with 86s. Ever. I sat there lamenting why I would ever make such a move, and what this kind of play is going to do to my bankroll if I'm going to try to incorporate this into my game, when the flop comes out.
Ace-Eight-Six, two spades. Bingo! There were 4 players to see this flop, and they all checked around to me. Now you know at least one of these guys has an Ace. So, given that bottom two pair is such a dangerous hand, I led out at the pot. Just to be tricky, I made my bet about 2/3 the size of the pot, after always betting the full pot up to this point in the tournament. I will often do this early in a non-blogger event, because it quite often catches someone who thinks he is clever enough to have spotted a pattern in my play. Last night was no different. The first two players folded to my flop bet, but then the original preflop raiser goes and quickly reraises me 3x my bet. At this point I sat for a good 20 seconds, always knowing what I was going to do but wanting to make it appear believable. Then I push in, and he calls instantly with....
Ace-Ten offsuit. What an idiot. I thought at least AK or maybe AQ if he's a fish. But I guess this guy just didn't see how I could have called the preflop raise with just 86, and he claimed to "know" I did not have an Ace. I guess he was right about that. And I took down a big pot and got off to a great start in the 20k, a lead I quickly squandered by being too aggressive (what a shock!) on a flop where it turns out my opponent had flopped huge. But, I have to say, at that table for the good 30 or 40 minutes after I made this move with the 86, I got a lot more action when I just called a raise or even when I raised it up myself from late position.
And for me, that's the best part, the real reason for someone like me to play these hands on occasion. I want people to starting thinking, when I call a raise from LP, that I might be holding anything. I might have 87s, I might have KTo. I might have 53s. And I might even have pocket Aces.
You'll never know unless you call me.