How To Spot A Top Pair Č Have you noticed that players all over the world have certain betting patterns, habits and tastes that they are more likely to follow if given the chance. Knowing how to spot a top pair is valuable for many players, but the hardest part isplementing these strategies with proper play. Top Pair is a combination of two premium cards and it’svalue is atbuilt around the probability of an all-in scenario. It’s really not very hard to spot considering you are dealt a hand like 9-8 or K-9, but it is very easy to completely blow your stack if you see an aggressive player raise in early position with hands like A-J or K-10, for example.
If you can, try to avoid Top Pair situations at all costs. The most important thing to remember about them is that they are situational hands and not all of them are created equal. Let’s say you have a hand like 7-6, suited. It is definitely a very powerful hand, the better hand paragraph here pretty much sums it up, but it is also very predictable. If you can, you should at least call one raise, perhaps even two, but remain in the hand if you can, there’s no point in throwing good money after bad.
ittle point of truth there. Sometimes you can play these hands properly and win big, other times you can lose big, and therefore it really all comes down to this situation: Should you call a raise in position with this hand, or just fold?
To simplify, let’s look at a standard situation in which you call a standard raise with a hand like Q-7, in early position. It’s a fairly straightforward raise, the kind of raise that doesn’t really require a lot of information on the opponent’s hand, the kind of raise that doesn’t mention a hand or two like 6-2 or 4-4. So with a hand like Q-7, you have a hand that you are likely to face heads-up in about 60%-70% of the cases. The way you should play it is a lot of times, you want to build the pot in front of your opponents, unless you have a very strong hand, a pocket pair, or a very similar hand like A-J or K-J.
The hands that are more likely to come out on top are those pairs from A-K, A-Q, K-Q, and Q-J. If a Q comes out, then you will have a strong reply in the form of a large fraction of the highest remaining preflop Braunstein number, AK, AQ, JJ, TT, and most of the JJ combinations. These hands are more likely than not to have some weight in the pokerbo, and therefore you want to be sure that you weigh your chances calling a raise rather than folding.
Top pairs K-Q and Q-J are still strong hands, particularly in the event of a preflop raiser or two, but it is more questionable whether these two hands, alone or in conjunction, will win you the pot at the showdown.
Another trickier hand to play is the hand J-10. Early Position players, especially those that make a move preflop from early position, will often call a flop bet with any suited cards, no matter how mismatched. With J-10 however, you have to be a bit more careful.
J-10 is a hand that is excellent for trapping. That is, you can make a raise of between four and six times the big blind amount and anyone who calls with a hand like pocket sevens is, by my estimation, drawing out to the point that you are probably beaten. If you make a three times raise as I do, then you risk the action going to the door, which for any tight player is a good outcome.
With these hands, you can win the small pot by limping in with just top pair, but be careful because any player who has made a preflop raise against you may have made a genuine hand. Real hands beat J-10; it is not a bluff.
Compared to many other hands, suited connectors like J-10 and even 8-8 are relatively easy hands to play against any 2 cards. You only need to know 1,2,3,4,5,6 of the card values and you’ll be happy. For such a hand, there is no need to check, call, raise, or even call; it is a hand that you can always call with or reraise with. The drawback is that the flush you are holding is rather worthless if there are many opponents in the pot, but the small point is that it can play heads up very well.