Madison wrote:Almost all of my play has been cash game $2/$5 no limit lately, and if you're looking at straight pot odds preflop, you'll never call with any pocket pair of less than 10 preflop because you will not have the 8.5 to 1 ratio you need in order to make the call.
That's turning away easy money though, as it's not the exact pot odds on the table you should be looking at in that situation. Don't misunderstand, I'm well aware that pot odds are one of the most important things in Hold 'Em, and pot odds dictate most every play. This is just one of the situations where you have to look at it a bit differently.
Say for example I'm UTG with 4/4 in a $2/$5 NL game with a stack around $500. I call the $5 without any difficulty whatsoever. Then someone in mid or late position raises to $20 total. My first question is how big is his stack? If it's tiny, I don't mind a $50 coinflip in that spot. If it's $250+, then there are my pot odds as I need to take $170 off of him to get my pot odds. Anything between $75 to $200 in front of him, and I probably wouldn't waste my time because there's no guarantee I could keep him in the hand if I flopped my set and it's not worth the risk.
Took down a very nice pot awhile back with 5/5. Called the $23 preflop off the small blind ($2 small blind) with two others already in. Big blind called as well. Flop came out A/?/5 rainbow. I don't remember the "?", but it was a 7 or an 8, so it didn't scare me at all. Long story short, the initial raiser had A/K suited and I more than doubled up my stack that was just short of $900 ($886 if my math at the time was correct) which is significantly more than 8.5 to 1 on the $23 I called preflop.
I wouldn't call any crazy raises preflop with small pairs, just depends on the stakes we're talking about, chipstacks involved, and players.
Well two things. Most of what I was talking about referred to SNG and tournament play, where you most of the time can't rebuy another 1000 or 1500 chips if you go broke unlike a cash game. Huge difference. There are times in a SNG where I'd consider raising with a low PP on the button to put pressure on the blinds if I have a good chip lead, and there are other situations where the bet is just small enough for me to call an all-in. Realistically though ... PP's 6's and lower are VERY prone to losing to 2 overcards or even a 9-10 suited connector I mentioned before. Most of the time it just isn't worth the gamble and risk to move down in the money.
But for cash games, I'll split it 6-handed and 9-handed. You have a lot more leeway for calling a 4x BB bet in a 6-handed table because players are often very agressive with marginal hands. In a 9-man table you have to play tighter though, somewhat similar to a SNG. The chances your opponent has you beat is around 10% higher. In the 9-man tables your opponents know this fact, and will raise with a much smaller range of hands, hands that put your low PP at risk.
Addressing your story though. I see a big flaw with you straight playing your opponent's stack, saying you'd call pre-flop more often if your opponent had a smaller stack. I say the smaller stack comes in with generally higher quality hands, and you'd rather play with the bigger stack because you can maximize your profit that way (hitting a set and drawing him in), or having the flexibility to outright fold if you don't hit. And Madison, your story is statistically only 1 of the 8 that end up in happy endings. The other 7 end with you losing $25.
You have to look at your EV (expected value here). Let's say on average you win $200 a hand with trips on a $2/$5 table. Average stack sitting should be around $500.
(1)($200) - (7)($25) = +$25
Okay so you have an expected value of +$25, but like Sklansky mentions in his books, you would much rather pass in this situation where you have a 1/8 chance of hitting for a slightly smaller EV with a higher chance of hitting.