If you have read my book, The No B.S. Guide to Winning Online No Limit Texas Hold’em, you know how I approach the game from afordlow – I’m aChris Moneymaker guy. I made a lot of money on my A-game. It paid off, but after a while I realized that the way I was playing was a little off.
The way I would have improved my poker game (and my ROI) is to get super-aggressive as well as narrow the field to around one opponent in the early rounds. You need to be aggressive in the 5-7% range of hands with big baffled flops that don’t hit anything and very aggressive against one opponent.
Then, from 8/10 to 10/11 – very aggressive, I add hands like pocket 7’s, J-7’s, A-7’s, Q-7’s, you name it – I add it to my arsenal. From the 10/11s to the 1/2/3s, I raise 2,3,4,5 whenever I feel the situation will be advantageous. If I raise under the gun with 4-4, move all in with any future hands that will win. If I raise a blind with K-9 and Phil Ivey calls, move all in with 5-7.
Progressively get rid of less valuable hands as your chip stack gets bigger. In the 9/10 range, play A-5, 5-4, 3-3, 2-2, and A-2. In the 8/9 range, play A-4, 4-4, 3-3, 2-2, and A-3. In the 7/6 range, play A-3, 2-2, and A-2. Stop with 8-9 if the distribution of your chip stack gets too tight, or if you think the distribution of the field will have an edge against your hand.
In the 6/7 range, I play similar: I raise with A-A, A-K, K-K, Q-Q, 3-3, 2-2, A-Q, A-K, K-K, Q-Q, 3-3, 2-2, A-Q, A-K, K-K, Q-Q. Usually I will not re-raise until the final 2 players are gone unless I am first in because if I don’t I usually end up in a blind fold when the blinds raise.
In the 5/10 range, I play similar again. I raise with A-A, A-K, K-K, Q-Q, 3-3, 2-2, A-Q, A-K, K-K, Q-Q, 3-3, 2-2, A-Q, A-K, K-K, Q-Q. Basically, you are just playing your hand the same as you would in the 10s or hands above.
In the 40/49 range, you are waiting for pocket Aces, so if you see one get dealt to you, you raise with a wide range of hands. Now, some people will fold that pocket pair if they see a raise, but if you have it and someone raises in front of them, be willing to call 4 bet pots with any pocket pair. Do not call 3 bet pots with small pocket pairs. You want to see a flop with as few players in the pot as possible.
In the 50s/100s of the MPO777 tournament, I play similar. I always wait for a pocket pair to open the pot. If someone pre-flop goes all-in, I generally will call because I am generally a small stack in these situations. That being said, if you hit your set and get called or re-raised, I like to get out a 8 or 9 myself since you are probably stuck with it. You may say that since you are a set player, you should put the pressure on the other player by following the strategy of limping into the pot. If you limp into a pot with 8-6 and if an early position player raises in front of you, you are not going to win a ton of chips that early. However, if you hit your set and make a bigger raise to about 4 times the blind, you might scare away the hands that you would normally raise with. You want your opponents to think you are really strong before they start calling bigger raises, so if they limp into the pot, the first thing that you should do is look at the flop.