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Avoiding Autopilot Hand Selection

Don’t miss profitable opportunities

by Roy Cooke |  Published: Oct 02, 2009

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I’ve never been a huge fan of hand-selection guidelines. Once a player has committed himself to a rule-of-thumb strategy, his course of action is often to put himself on “hand-selection autopilot,” and just look at his cards and fold, call, or raise depending on how the hand fits into his established strategy. It makes the preflop game so much easier. You have little to think about. But, by being single-minded in this regard, players miss opportunities when profitable situations exist outside their guiding principles. It also creates a huge predictability factor that observant opponents can and will use against them. These small edges add significantly to players’ win rates at the end of the year. One Saturday night, I was playing in a $30-$60 limit hold’em game at Bellagio, and a terrible-playing opponent opened the pot from two off the button with a call. The cutoff folded, and I looked ...


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