Monday, July 20, 2009

Dan Harrington on Small and Medium Pairs

Harrington on Small and Medium Pairs

The following poker strategy advice comes from a book by Warwick Dunnett titled Poker Wizards. He interviewed the Super Stars in poker and packed all their strategic advice into one book with over 300 pages.

Here I am reviewing the advice from Dan Harrington provided in the book.

Small Pairs
Pocket 2's to 6's

Harrington says that he tends to fold the small pairs 2-2 through 6-6. He says he may play them if his opponent has a big stack and he has a big stack. However, if someone raises you are generally not getting the correct odds to play. In addition, he warns that 1)you may not get in cheap since players behind you may raise 2)you may not be heads-up. And the more players seeing the flop, the more likely someone else may hit a higher set.

Medium Pairs
Pocket 7's to 9's

Harrington says he plays these hands in the later positions.

Dan suggests a very tight approach to playing small and medium pairs, compared to both Gus and Daniel. This is probably not a surprise given Harrington's nickname of "Action Dan."

From a personal standpoint, my best tournament result was in a pre-WPT event in Reno. In that event I recall always throwing away small pairs and feeling good because not once did any of those pocket pairs hit on the flop. I may have even folded pocket 7's and pocket 8's in early position.

Of course, since that event, I became a lot smarter (?) and now I almost always play pocket pairs if I can get in cheap.

How about you?


jusdealem said...

The biggest mistake I ever made in a live tournament was with a pocket pair of 3's. It was late in the trny, I had a very healthy stack and got overly aggressive with them and ran into AA. There was absolutely no reason for me to do that! I still made the final table, but I bubbled the money. All because of that one hand! I leanred a big lesson that day.

GiJoeValdez said...

In early position I won't play 6's and under. If my table is a tight table then I will throw a raise now and then with any pair. Usually takes the pot if my table read is correct.

Mid position I will play 4's and up. I always try not to limp in. I hate it. I see situations where some one will limp in, the next player raises, then when it gets back to the player he calls the raise? Thats a waste of chips. Had he raised originally maybe the original raiser would have just called or MAYBE... just maybe he would have folded? Raising gives you control of the pot after the flop.

In late position I will play all pocket pairs if there are no raisers in front of me, and of course I always raise with them. Makes my 22 look like AA!

Daleyboy1234 said...

I follow Harringtons advice having read his books. and in the best part i feel that it has saved me a lot of chips.

i'm slightly more agressive that Dan but i always make sure im getting good odds to be in with small pairs.

temalyen said...

I think it's (usually) worth seeing the flop with pairs, provided you can get in cheaply. It's rare for me to stick around past the flop with a small pair unless my hand improves, though. I almost always get out if there's a big raise preflop, though. It's just not worth it in the long run to stay in on something like that.

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