Poll

16 votes (69.56%)
7 votes (30.43%)

23 members have voted

Neutrino
Neutrino
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September 23rd, 2014 at 3:05:34 PM permalink
Update: Reasons attached at the bottom of this post

I know I'll likely get an answer "it depends on the situation", so to clarify the question and avoid ambiguity : Would you prefer to have low pocket pairs (22-77) or low-med suited connectors (23s-9Ts) at the stakes and game you play the most against the people you play the most, in an average situation?


I got interested in this because I just had a pocket pair vs suited connector vs some guy at my local casino and he told me he'll take suited connectors over pocket pairs any day. I was like, seriously? I'd really love to trade you my suited connectors for pocket pairs every time i get them.


I have plenty of reason for preferring pocket pairs over suited connectors. But it won't be necessary to explain if the vote here dominantly favors pocket pairs, so I'll wait and see. I'm interested to see what other people think about this.

==============================================================

Reasons:

There are quite a lot of reasons why I would prefer pocket pairs over suited connectors. It goes without saying, that both their main functions are speculative (The general consensus afaik). I will first talk about the non-speculative aspects of these hands.

1) Preflop Shoving

Pocket pairs have extremely good equity when all in against almost any hand range. This is especially important for me as I play short stacked and shoving is something I do all the time. This is due to the distribution of equity. 22 distributes its equity almost evenly with every hand at about 52%, except dominated pairs, at 20%. Whereas suited connectors, the low ones are almost completely f%#$ed and you should really not be looking to shove 34s unless the situation is REALLY good. For medium suited connectors, their equity is badly distributed to the high side and decently distributed to the low side. In other words, they can beat low cards pretty easily (which 22 can't), but they will lose badly to any high cards. Well, problem is, nobody is going to call your all in with 25o, hopefully. Calling ranges almost never include low cards, so effectively nullifying the good equity vs them. There will be plenty (important concept) of cards that call med suited connectors, and if called, it's guaranteed to be beat.

low pocket pairs actually beat all high cards slightly, with the exception of higher pairs. And in fact, they actually dominate quite a few Ace-rag hands that often show up in people's calling ranges. Furthermore, a critically important concept is that often you will have stealth equity if you're stealing from a raised pot. That means, if the action before you is raise call call and you're looking for a shove-steal, you can probably know on average you're getting some stealth equity from very likely landed in a situation where your opponents have duplicate A or K, if you're lucky, maybe even 3 of them will have duplicate A or K. This will kill some of their outs, making your equity even higher. (66 vs AKo with a dead ace is 60%)

with low pocket pairs, when you steal you don't want the opponent to call because no matter what they call with, you're at best a coin flip and at worst dominated. The massive profits of shoving low pocket pairs comes from the fold equity that it generates. As long as your shoving range also includes big pairs and big cards like AKo, your range will ensure that your low pocket pair steal will get very good fold equity. And if the opponents call you with junk regardless, just know that due to they now know you do this with 22, next time you do the same with AA they'll pay you off. However, if your opponents are super calling stations obviously another way to do this is don't shove, get in the pot normally and when you hit a set, let the calling stations pay you off.

Now let's talk about the dreaded and feared topic of being dominated by a higher pair. In a one sentence summary I'll say this, people worry about this more than what is necessary. From experience alone, I constantly get TT and below to fold when I shove, often getting JJ and QQ to fold as well. I've never managed to get KK to fold but then again I think anyone who folds KK vs a shortstacker is dumb. Now onto the logics. First of all many people do not realize higher pocket pairs do not occur as frequently as other high cards. AK will show up more than 3 times as much as AA or KK. This works both ways, first off that means the chance of getting fked by dominating pairs is lower. Secondly, you can essentially represent something like AK or AQ and get your opponet to think, "ok, if he has AK or AQ it's a coin flip, if he has anything else i'm dominated, I fold." In addition, the risk-adverse-ness of general human psychology and rake makes the opponents more likely to fold if they put you on a coin flip, despite often the dead money in the pot absolutely justifies a call. They'll just talk themselves out of the call by convincing themselves that they're beat. Whatever the reason here, the bottom line is I can consistently get higher dominating pairs to fold. And when they fold pre-flop, no rake is taken as well.

Here's where it gets even more interesting. AA KK and QQ often have severe bet sizing tells that correlates with hand strength. I'm no good at picking up other tells but I assume for someone who is good at reading tells they can identify AA KK and QQ even easier than me. Also, at my stakes, people tend to play very aggressively with AA. So if the action is raise, 3bet, 4bet, all in, obviously get out and don't try to steal with 44. Even with just using bet sizing tells, I can sniff out AA-QQ a good number of times. Sometimes I'm wrong, and it's something like AQ, but that's ok, because most people in my position would have folded anyway.

There is also an important but well hidden advantage that even further restricts opponents abilities to call. Essentially when you shove to steal with low pocket pairs, only the person to your right (or the next person if he doesn't have cards) matters. Getting a hold of his general tendencies is critically important. If he's the uber tight only call all-in with AA and KK guy, you're in a ton of luck. Basically, as opponents are considered calling, they're really concerned about numbers of players behind them. So many times when I show my bluff steal, people tell me "I woulda called if I were the last person, but there were 2 people behind me." And they are absolutely right. To further this to your advantage, playing shortstacked forces other people to "play on top of you", something that is extremely -EV to the players doing so (I'll talk about this next). Other people somewhat intuitively realize this, so to enter the pot with people still behind forces them to be even tighter about their entry. Having an idea of the last person to act and to some lesser extent, players right before him as well, will give you a better estimate at their folding probabilities and your fold equity. If you can somehow get live tells on the last person and know he's going to fold, your steal will be extremely effective. Unfortunately for me I can't get tells due to autism, but even just knowing the general call frequencies (which usually corresponds well with VPIP for some reason) gave me more than enough information to recalculate my equity and getting out when the equity for the steal is bad.

And finally, the enormous advantage of being all-in preflop as a shortstacker, other people will "play on top of you". There's a rule in poker which I think is so ridiculous, and I exploit it by playing a shortstacked strategy. The rule is, in a multiway pot, if someone is all in, that becomes the main pot and everyone else plays for a side pot. IF YOU FOLD LATER ON YOU LOSE THE MAIN POT. That's absolutely ridiculous. I don't exactly know what a fair rule replacement would be, if they only lose the side pot then nobody's going to bet without the nuts. But as the rule stands the way it is, shortstacker all in benefits whenever a successful bluff happens. Your dream situation as a shortstacker all in, is that while others are playing on top of you, someone makes a draw bet and followed by a river bluff. If that is successful, they drive away their opponent, winning the side pot. While you win the main pot because you beat their bluff. And there is no better cards to get the "catching bluff" job done than low pocket pairs. That's the only thing they can beat if the board misses.

To sum it up. I'll just use an illustration. Against a somewhat tight calling range, 4.5% (JJ+,AJs+,AQo+), 33 has 39% equity whereas AQo has 36% equity. This means you're better off shoving 33 than AQo, other tight ranges leads to somewhat similar results as well. Surprised?


=================================================================
2) Extending your hand range

By playing pocket pairs, whether calling, raising or shoving, you're extending your hand range and more-so than suited connectors. In addition to their own benefits, this also makes other strong hands pay off better.

After losing 3 coin flips in a row shove-stealing low pocket pairs, I acted tilted and open shoved QQ. Got no respect (obviously) and got called by QJs. How many of you can get QJs to call your open shove QQ?

Another time that I recall, I made 4 shove steals with low pocket pairs in a short amount of time successfully and was then dealt KK. I open shoved and got a speech of "I can't let you bully the table every hand" and then called with KJo. Again, he either did not notice this is an open shove, too dumb to understand the difference, or think I'm too dumb to understand the difference. Regardless, how often do other people's open shove KK get called by KJo?


================================================================

3) Speculative play post flop

(It took me a lot of energy writing the first part of my reasons. So I changed my mind now about writing part 2. Since this seems fairly uncontested anyway right now at 68.42% I feel like I'll probably be wasting my time to explain something that most people agree with. That said, I have decided to only elaborate my reasons on why low pocket pairs are also better than suited connectors post flop if the popularity of pocket pairs drops below 55%)

This section will remain empty unless pocket pairs loses its majority domination - <55% on the vote
AxelWolf
AxelWolf
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September 23rd, 2014 at 3:10:35 PM permalink
Quote: Neutrino

I know I'll likely get an answer "it depends on the situation", so to clarify the question and avoid ambiguity : Would you prefer to have low pocket pairs (22-77) or low-med suited connectors (23s-9Ts) at the stakes and game you play the most against the people you play the most, in an average situation?


I got interested in this because I just had a pocket pair vs suited connector vs some guy at my local casino and he told me he'll take suited connectors over pocket pairs any day. I was like, seriously? I'd really love to trade you my suited connectors for pocket pairs every time i get them.


I have plenty of reason for preferring pocket pairs over suited connectors. But it won't be necessary to explain if the vote here dominantly favors pocket pairs, so I'll wait and see. I'm interested to see what other people think about this.

I think someone would be an idiot if they liked 22-55 over 89ss.
♪♪Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand♪♪ Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able In the land of casinos and money You must put them on the table♪♪ You go back Jack do it again roulette wheels turinin' 'round and 'round♪♪ You go back Jack do it again♪♪
Neutrino
Neutrino
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September 23rd, 2014 at 3:19:45 PM permalink
You just called me an idiot, but ok, go ahead and vote. If pocket pairs vote is less than 75% I'll explain myself.
AxelWolf
AxelWolf
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September 23rd, 2014 at 3:25:32 PM permalink
Quote: Neutrino

You just called me an idiot, but ok, go ahead and vote. If pocket pairs vote is less than 75% I'll explain myself.

No I didn't, I said, I think someone would be.

However since you love yourself some math, You might want to do some, and see what's mathematically better. I could be wrong however 89ss seems stronger than 22- 33 -44 possibly even higher.
♪♪Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand♪♪ Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able In the land of casinos and money You must put them on the table♪♪ You go back Jack do it again roulette wheels turinin' 'round and 'round♪♪ You go back Jack do it again♪♪
AxelWolf
AxelWolf
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September 23rd, 2014 at 3:29:55 PM permalink
Quote: Neutrino

If pocket pairs vote is less than 75% I'll explain myself.

Why do "YOU guys" always want to explain later after the vote? "Someone else" had almost the same type of post.
♪♪Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand♪♪ Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able In the land of casinos and money You must put them on the table♪♪ You go back Jack do it again roulette wheels turinin' 'round and 'round♪♪ You go back Jack do it again♪♪
terapined
terapined
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September 23rd, 2014 at 5:21:52 PM permalink
Pocket pair,
My favorite holdem situation is having low pocket pairs and hitting trips and setting the trap.
On the flip side my least favorite situation is hitting the trips but looking at a possible flush or straight on the flop.
"Everybody's bragging and drinking that wine, I can tell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shines, Come to Daddy on an inside straight, I got no chance of losing this time" -Grateful Dead- "Loser"
Deucekies
Deucekies
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September 23rd, 2014 at 5:27:59 PM permalink
Quote: terapined

Pocket pair,
My favorite holdem situation is having low pocket pairs and hitting trips and setting the trap.
On the flip side my least favorite situation is hitting the trips but looking at a possible flush or straight on the flop.


I'd rather play suited connectors and set the trap when I get there. If I don't make my hand, I don't have to worry about whether my 8-high is good. If I'm chasing with a low pocket pair, I might have equity to stay in the hand after I missed, and possibly lose a big pot.
Casinos are not your friends, they want your money. But so does Disneyland. And there is no chance in hell that you will go to Disneyland and come back with more money than you went with. - AxelWolf and Mickeycrimm
Neutrino
Neutrino
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September 24th, 2014 at 12:59:09 AM permalink
Pocket pair seems very popular at 75%. Guess I won't be needing to explain since everyone agrees.
BTLWI
BTLWI
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September 25th, 2014 at 8:32:11 AM permalink
In all fairness there's a pretty large difference between 23s and 9Ts. 23s is unlikely to ever flop a pair that is top pair or flop top two pair whereas 9Ts definitely can do both. On a 974Q3 board you can take 9Ts to showdown but with 23s there are hardly any boards where you flop a pair with the lower of your two cards and are willing to take it to showdown. When you make a flush with 23s and somebody else makes a flush they 100% have you beat. When you make a flush with 9Ts you can flush over flush somebody else.
FunkyDoctor
FunkyDoctor
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September 25th, 2014 at 9:48:09 AM permalink
Quote: AxelWolf

However since you love yourself some math, You might want to do some, and see what's mathematically better. I could be wrong however 89ss seems stronger than 22- 33 -44 possibly even higher.



Here are the numbers on this in terms of preflop equity:

89s is about half a percent better than 22 versus a random hand at 50.8% vs. 50.3%. Pocket threes and higher are a clear favorite over 89s versus a random hand, with 33 having 53.7% pot equity and the value rising significantly from there as the pocket pair increases in rank.

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