Thursday, January 13, 2005

Why I love 7-2

I used to hate 7-2. Everyone did when they started playing poker. Everyone knows it's "the worst hand in poker" if they watch poker on TV. Even Vince Van Patten won't call it "A real Hand."

Now I love 7-2. 7-2 is the HAMMER. Why? The HAMMER is liberating. 7-2 is indeed the most powerful hand in poker.

I got interested in 7-2 by reading blogs. "How can these people raise with 7-2?" I would ask myself. They know they probably won't win. Statistically they have the worst chance of winning against ANY other hand. Why do they do it? How can they do it.

I remember the first time I ever played Texas Hold Em. It was in a casino, and I was scared as hell. I had screwed up the bet so many times the rest of the table had to know it was my first time. I started to get the feeling that the rest of the table knew what I had at all times. So I thought I would mix it up. I bluffed at a pot. And I WON. The rush was incredible. It was almost incomprehensible to me that I could win without having the best hand. There is no other game in the casino where you can win with a loser. That moment it all came clear to me why poker was superior to every other casino game out there.

That is the essence of the HAMMER.

Everyone starts playing Hold Em the same way. As a fish. Call with any connected cards, any suited cards, any paint. You learn, slowly, that you have to be more choosy with your starting hands if you are going to make money and stop bleeding it all away in blinds and chases. You get tighter and tighter until you are folding more often than when you do laundry.

But then something happens when you reach ultimate tightness. Others take note of your tightness and you stop getting action. You aren't winning with weak hands because you aren't playing them, and you aren't winning much with your premium hands because you aren't getting any action. If you have AA and you raise pre-flop, everyone folds to your aggression. But you don't get AA or KK enough for that to pay off. Suddenly it dawns on you. I never get to a showdown with my AA or KK, so why do I need AA or KK?

You don't. You just have to know when you can play aggresively and take a pot without the cards. And the only way to learn this is through the progression of playing tight and knowing when a bluff is the right move. You cannot skip the tight stage and just start bluffing at random times trying to crack that lock. You'll never find the correct combination and you'll lose your ass trying.

I heard a commercial promo for the tv show "Tilt" during a basketball game on ESPN2 last night and the announcer said, "You're playing cards. They're playing you."

That is what the HAMMER represents to me. They are playing their cards, I am playing them.


1 comment:

Lifesagrind said...

Now that's a good post with an excellent explanation!