Playing High Hands
A lot of the O8 literature will tell you that the main hands you want to play are good A2, some A3, some AA...and some 4 high card hands.
But it's important to understand WHY these are good hands. The answer most commonly given is that these are the hands that have the best chance to scoop - and that's correct, as you make far more money when you scoop.
But the other part of the story is that you want to make hands where your opponents will make good second best hands, so that you make a lot of money when you scoop.
The way to do that is by having a hand that:
- Can be a strong hand now with chances to be a better hand.
- Can be the nuts
- Can be in good shape vs. other strong hands
That is why hands like QJT9 rainbow are just not very good. The strong hand you'll make now is likely to be a straight or two pair, and you'll have at most an 8-out draw to a better straight.
So there are a couple problems
- the hand you make now is good but not great,
- your hand will not be very strong vs. a similar strong hand that is willing to put money in,
- a number of the hands you'll hit won't be for the nuts.
Here's an example. Your QJT9 rainbow catches a JT3 flop with 2 hearts. A fairly good flop for you. But the problem is that any heart can give someone a flush, any Q or 9 can give someone a better straight, and if someone really goes to war with you then you are tied with another JTxx at best, and dominated by KQJT or behind to JJxx at worst.
So here's the problem
- Your hand is good but not fantastic now
- You have limited chances to improve
- The hand you improve too is not very strong.
- Anyone willing to really shove chips in has you in bad shape
By contrast, a hand like KQJJ double suited is much stronger. Now, if you catch a JT3 flop with 2 hearts, you have a number of good things going for you
- Your hand is quite strong now
- You have strong chances to improve
- The hand you improve to is very strong - a good flush or boat
- Anyone willing to really shove chips with a hand like KQJ9 is in bad shape
So the real questions to ask yourself are:
- How likely is it that I can hit a hand I like?
- If I hit a hand I like, how likely will it be that I will have chances to improve to a better hand?
- If I hit a hand I like, how likely will it be that my hand will be better than someone else that also likes their hand?