Sometimes You Need to Forget the Rules

If you have heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times as you are learning to get good at your poker game, “playing tight and aggressive is the best style of poker play and will earn you the most money.” There are plenty of arguments to support this idea, although it might be better to point out that a tight and aggressive style of play is best for most, but not all, poker players. There are poker pros out there, such as the Great Dane Gus Hansen, who are known for playing just about any starting hand and making a winner out of it. With many World Poker Tour championships under his belt, it is hard to argue that Gus is just lucky, but his strategy is not for everyone. While it is a smart idea for most players to stick with the tight and aggressive style, which can be summed up by saying “play the best starting hands only, and when you play them, go for broke,” every player can benefit from borrowing a page out of Gus Hansen’s playbook.

Playing 7 2 offsuit can sometimes be a good idea. If all you ever play is TT and higher, turning up your nose at Jack Queen offsuit, then you certainly are playing tight. But you miss out on the chance of making good on the flop that comes down with two sevens and an Ace. You then hope someone stayed around with an Ace, because you can lead him down the path to putting chips in your hands. The point is that sometimes you need to pay to play with “weak” starting hands, because they can turn into monsters after the flop, and often your opponents don’t see it coming. Don’t make it a habit, or you will end up losing more than you win, but every once in a while pay to get in with a weaker hand and see if the flop favors you.

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