You have AT in the big blind Six players limp including the small blind What should you do

Answer: Raise. Your hand figures to win far more than its share against a big field. Again, many timid players dislike gambling with hands like these before the flop. They would check, planning to spring to life on a favorable flop. That strategy is profitable, but it is less profitable than raising now. A big suited ace is a terrific hand in a seven-handed pot. Expect to win significantly more often than the fourteen percent of the time that is your share against six opponents. Being out of position should make you somewhat less willing to raise, but not when you have such a strong hand. You must take advantage of an edge this big. In fact, not raising here is terrible. It might be a bigger mistake than raising with seven-deuce offsuit!

6. Two very loose and passive players limp. If they perceive that they have any reasonable chance to draw out, they will call to the river regardless of the size of the pot. They rarely raise after the flop and never as a bluff. You are on the button with What should you do?

Answer: Fold. Under normal circumstances, even from the button, you would fold jack-four suited without a second thought. When your opponents play this poorly, however, many marginal hands become profitable. You will win a lot when you make the best hand and lose only a little when you do not. Unfortunately, jack-four is still a little too weak. Against these opponents you will have to make the best hand to win. Jack-four simply does not make the best hand often enough to be profitable. The decision is close, though; for instance, you should definitely play with K444. A pair of kings will win significantly more often than a pair of jacks, enough difference to make the hand profitable. J484 would also be worth a play in these circumstances.

7. Two tight, tricky, and aggressive players limp. They play at least as well as you do after the flop. You are on the button with K*T¥. What should you do?

Answer: Fold. Hands derive their value from two sources:

  1. Their comparative strength against the range of hands your opponents play.
  2. The frequency and magnitude of mistakes that your opponents are prone to make after the flop.

That is, the weaker the hands your opponents are willing to play, and the more mistakes they make playing them, the more valuable your hand becomes.

Many hands are profitable when played against weak hands and weak players, but unprofitable when played against strong hands and strong players. King-ten offsuit is such a hand. With offsuit hands you make most of your profit against loose players by flopping top pair and letting them call you down with a smaller pair or weak draw. For instance, if the flop comes KV742±, and your opponent calls you down with you make a bundle. He is drawing to only two outs. When your opponents are prone to mistakes like this, even weak hands like king-ten show a profit.

Against tough opponents this will not be the case. Your tight and tricky opponents may limp with hands like and A±A4», but surely not T*24». They will not call you down with bottom pair, but they will punish you when you are dominated. For instance, say the flop comes KV7±2#, and one of your opponents check-raises you. He may have king-queen or a set, leaving you drawing very thin. But he may have a spade draw. Your choices are to call, paying off a better hand, or to fold, allowing a flush draw to steal the pot. No matter what decisions you make, you will often find yourself taking the worst of it when you play these "trap" hands against a good player.

Therefore, in this example, you would call on the button against two loose, weak limpers. but you should fold against tough opponents.

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