Playing a pocket pair where there is no improvement on the flop

You look down to see a small pocket pair. You have gone to the flop and hit one of your two outs, and there is no flush or straight draw on the board and there is betting, that is one of the dream situations in poker.

However, 90% of the time your initial pair will not improve to a set on the flop, and in this situation, you are left with a few options. Here, we will explore what to do in more detail.

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Playing as a high stack in a tournament

Looking at your computer and seeing a number by your avatar that is vastly superior to anybody else on your table will make you feel like a king.

In every tournament, having a deep stack means you have the freedom to play differently, but this does not mean it becomes OK to play loose or to make poor calls because you can afford it. So what exactly is the right way to play a big stack?

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The influence of poker on mainstream sports

In 2009 the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced that Pokerstars were to become the team’s official gaming partner.

Less visible partnerships are sprouting up everywhere too. In 2009 Betfair signed a £1.2 million sponsorship deal with Barcelona to be the club’s official betting partner. In fact, every Premier League team in this country now has an official betting partner.

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The All-In

The all-in play is the most exciting play in poker because it puts a player’s whole chip stack on the table in a live or die scenario.

Everyone loves an all-in. All that excitement, all that attention. People respect a player who can push all their chips in the middle of the felt, don’t they? Or do they welcome a donk pushing all-in simply to impress the table?

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The Chip Lead

Let’s not beat around the bush; holding the chip lead is where you want to be at the poker table. But players can freak out when they build up a lead, especially if they are not used to being in such a strong position.

It is hard to play a big stack well in big tournaments. When you are short-stacked, it’s simple; all-in or fold. With a big stack you must adapt to many different situations and outcomes.

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The Trouble with AQ

AQ almost always features in players’ top ten starting hands in poker, so why then does it cause so many people so much grief so frequently?

The pro poker player Daniel Negreanu famously used to call the AQ ‘1.4’ after the number of millions he has lost with it! Let’s investigate why this hand, which looks great pre-flop and is statistically in the top ten hands, causes so many problems for people.

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