Weak playing top pair

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of plays like this:


Slow playing top pair. I don’t understand the logic, both the decision to limp AJ, and the decision not to bet the Ace at the flop.

Surely this play doesn’t win as many chips as raising, and puts you at more risk of getting beat by someone making a better hand.

And, then after I can’t get anyone to bet into my quad 7s, someone shoves A7 into my big raise with QQ, and end up hitting 7A with 88 on the board for AA88.

Sigh. Ok. So the strategy seems to be completely random at this table.


And then out 9th, on 66 vs. AQ. Can’t blame the guy for shoving here, I mean why not? Why did I call? Because randomness. Probably shoving 34o.

And yet, he still manages to hit 2 pair, and I miss a 11-out draw to trip 6s or a 2-6 or 3-7 straight.

Out 9th. Woe is me. If not for the 2nd place in the MTT earlier tonight, I’d be 0-for-6.


In tournament poker there is a lot to be said for having a big stack early on and staying in that position so that you cannot be eliminated by one of these statistically unlikely bad beats.

Tonight I played a tournament with 15 paid places and went out in 11th place after I shoved my smallish stack with AJ and was called by BB with J6. Naturally he made a straight and I was eliminated, but it was my fault for not having enough chips. Had my stack been larger, he would probably not have called me.

Poker is a game in which fortune invariably favors the bullies, so if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em.

I definitely do a lot better when I’m holding more chips.

Saw you the other day in a sit-n-go and you were seated to my left. I kept picking up nice starting hands, but couldn’t get hit by a flop or win a single pot. When I had AK in early position, I put in a good raise and had callers preflop. The flop came King high, and I bet the pot, was called by one player. On the turn he reraised me and I suspected he probably had K T for 2 pairs on the flop, so folded, and my stack was crippled and I was soon out. Hope you won it.

Top pair, top kicker can be a death trap in the early going in these games as callers may hit two pairs on the flop, or call when behind with second or third pairs or draws and hit something on later streets. I am coming to the conclusion that it is hardly worth playing any hands forcefully in the early stages when the blinds are low, except that if you have AA it is a good idea to shove preflop, because you will often be called–not many people have the discipline to fold with underpairs or two broadway cards, and that is one situation that you DO very much want to be in with an 86% chance of an early double up and no time invested in the tournament.

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With 2 sevens on the board and the opponent obviously not having one, they are not going to bet many chips unless they have a flush, straight, or full house. You might as well shove, and with a bit of luck someone will read you as on a bluff.

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I had that thought. I considered checking to the river than fake bluff shoving if no one bet anything. Instead I tried a tiny bet on the Turn, because the pattern yesterday seemed to be that people would slow play top pair, and I was hoping someone had a King, but nope. Oh well.