Hand Types in Limit Holdem

So what kind of hand do you hold? There are three types of profitable hands you can hold pre-flop. These are top pair hands, speculative hands and monster hands. Of course there are other categories of hands, but you should not be playing those in the first place. Each type of hand should be played differently and caters to different situations.

Top pair hands consist of two big, offsuit cards like A-J or K-Q. These hands play best against a small group of people and often win small to medium-sized pots by making top pair with a strong kicker. You usually want to face 2-3 opponents with these hands.

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Speculative hands consist of small, coordinated cards like pocket pairs and suited connectors. Think pocket fours or 7-8 suited. You want a lot of opponents in pre-flop with these hands so that the few times they do hit, they pay off big. You also want to see the flop cheaply with speculative hands. You can call a raise in good position with strong speculative hands like 10-9 suited, but never for three bets pre-flop.

Monster hands take the best of both worlds and consist of high pocket pairs and big suited cards. Pocket kings and A-Q suited, for example. These hands play well against a few opponents or many. Not only do they often make top pair to win the pot, but also have a chance to make sets and flushes as a bonus. You should raise with these hands pre-flop, which we will touch upon tomorrow.

Note: Game texture plays a large part in determining how you should use these hand types pre-flop. For example, in limit hold'em games, especially low limit hold'em games the texture is often loose and passize, which makes speculative hands even more profitable to hold pre-flop.

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by Bones McCoy at Poker Room on November 13, 2006

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