888poker: When Should You Adjust Your Poker Hand Selection?

888poker: When Should You Adjust Your Poker Hand Selection?

The latest Brazilian poker player to join the team of ambassadors at 888poker is esteemed poker coach and Twitch streamer Alexandre “Cavalito” Mantovani.

Joining the likes of Vivian Saliba, Samantha Abernathy and a host of great poker players, Mantovani is helping Texas Hold’em fans master the game and is the latest instructor for the platform’s Made to Learn strategy videos.

In this edition , Mantovani details five simple tips that will help you know when you should adjust your poker hand selection.

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1. Adjust for Stack Sizes

It’s important to know which hands play better against short stacks and which hands are better suited towards deep stacks. A well known thing in poker is that you want to play very big pots with your big hands. This means that when you have a lot of big blinds, you want to prioritise hands that can make strong holdings like straights or flushes.

A hand like ten-nine suited is the perfect example of a good deep stack hand, and if it hits, you usually get paid. When you are shorter stacked, any top pair is good enough to get your chips into the middle. A hand like king-jack is another decent example of a hand that can easily make a strong top pair.

2. Position Matters

When you are in early position, there are a lot of people left to act after you. It is very likely that one of your opponents will wake up with a strong hand and have position on you post-flop. That makes everything more complicated, so you should avoid playing marginal hands from early position.

However, when you are on the button you just need to beat the blinds and always going to act last so it make sense to widen your range.

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3. Defend Your Big Blind

Poker is a game of pot odds, equities and position. When you are in the big blind and antes are in play and someone min-raises, you are getting more than 4 to 1 on a call which is amazing odds. So, you should defend your big blind with a wide range of hands.

Even getting a great price, we are still going to be out of position post-flop against a stronger range than ours. This means we shouldn’t play the very worst hands but any suited hand, any ace or connected hand is going to be good enough to see the flop.

4. Pay Attention to Button and Big Blind

The button is going to have position on you every time and the blind is usually going to play a wide range of hands. If we have strong and aggressive opponents in either of these positions, we should avoid opening the weakest hands of our range. Strong players will put up a lot of pressure on this post-flop, there are likely better spots to attack.

On the other hand, if we have weaker in these positions, this makes our plan post-flop more straightforward and we can play more hands against them.

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5. Know When to Raise and When to Jam

When we have pocket aces, we always want to have action, however jamming aces might scare away some the hands we could get value from than if we had just raised. Our strong hands with good playability both pre and post-flop are going to prefer raising instead of moving all-in.

There are some strong hands that are more challenging to play post-flop. Think about pocket eights for example, most of the time it is going to be the strongest hand preflop but will often be behind following the flop. If we decide to jam with this hand instead, not only do we avoid getting into hard decisions but we also make some of the overcards that could outdraw our hand fold.

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Calum Grant

Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum’s proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.