As the Life d’Otis is a bit in the weeds, I thought I’d point you to some things you should read today…

Wil Wheaton, a man to whom I owe a great deal, is finally getting something he’s deserved for a while. Read the whole post. It’s worth it.

Pauly is outing himself and some of his new sbo publishing accomplishments. No doubt, it’s another great beginning for him.

The Geek is on a rush. I hope it continues for him.

Please go over and read Iggy’s latest post. It’s a good reminder that bad beat rivers don’t really mean that much in the grand scope.

And if you happen by a magazine stand and can find the Feb. issue of Casino Player magazine, I have a small column in there about poker in the islands. It’s not online (yet?), but if it pops up there, I’ll link to it here.

They are hands that break up the monotony of fold, fold, fold, fold and fold. You’re four-tabling online and just waiting for a hand to flash before your eyes or you’re at a B&M; and just waiting for that first playable hand.

That’s when you see it. The danger hand. The hand you shouldn’t be playing, but the hand you can’t help but play. All it does is cost you money, but you keep telling yourself, “It’s the best hand I’ve seen in hours.”

Ace-rag offsuit: This one is easy to see coming. That first card gets dealt and you see a bullet. Immediately you begin to imagine the possibilities. Then the second card comes and it’s a 7, and they’re not even suited. You’re sitting in EP and you know you should throw it away. But you haven’t played a hand in awhile and you remember some guy winning a pot with Ace high just a few hands ago. Besides, what if it flops A-7-x or 7-7-x. Then you’re looking at a winner, right?

So you call. You can’t justify a raise with Ace-rag in early position, so you limp. Then a player in late position raises to 3xBB. Now you’re in the pot and can’t help but call. The flop comes A-x-x and it’s your turn to act. What you already know, but can’t bear to tell yourself is that you’re already beaten. The guy that raised is holding a real premium hand and you’re dominated. Unless that magic 7 comes, you’re dead. And even if it does, you still might be beat. You’re throwing money away and can’t help it.

Unpaired paint: Face cards everywhere and your blood starts pumping. So what if it’s unpaired and unsuited, they’re still big cards, right? And KJ just might be worth a raise! Which means KQ is even better! And if KJ and KQ are both big hands, why not QJ!?

Well, first of all, the odds of seeing an Ace on that flop are about 22%. And the chances of an overcard falling when you’re holding QJ is about 4 in 10. So there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see a scare card off the top.

But let’s say you catch top pair. You’re in pretty good shape, right? Top pair, good kicker. That’s a betting hand. Of course, it might also be second best. Now you’re gonna have to bet for information, and you may not like the information you get.

Medium pair: Right about now you’re probably asking, what is a medium pair? The answer is likely different for each player. I’m going to say 9’s, T’s and J’s. I’m tempted to put Q’s in this group, but the Hilton Sisters are a whole other mess.

Remember, the odds of flopping a set are about 11%. In a full 10-person game, you’ll need to consider what kind of odds you’re getting when playing this hand. In a short-handed game, these kinds of hands become much more valuable.

Let’s take the 9’s, for example. There’s only a 20% chance you’ll see only undercards on your flop. That means you’ll like the flop about a third of the time. Once that flop comes, you’ll have to be careful how you play your medium pair. Don’t fall in love with the hand!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you to stop playing your Aces or you KQ’s or you pocket 10’s. I’m just trying to tell you to make sure these danger hands don’t cost you more money than they should. Too often we see a marginally good hand and we just can’t get away from it. We think it’s got to be a winner despite information to the contrary.

Continue to play these hands, but play them from positions of strength and fold them when you’ve gotten enough information to know you’re beaten.