Our Lowdown Card Game Technique on that Hi-Lo hand – In our series on common mistakes Texas hold’em players make, let’s examine the Hi-Lo hand. In this case, the player’s hole cards consist of one high card (Ace goes down to 10) and one low card (7 goes down to deuce). So many times I see poker players invest their valuable chips before flopping on the hand – especially in low / mid limit games. Almost always, they will lose that hand. Look at the flop only when you have a Big Blind and the stakes aren’t raised – so you can see the “free” flop.
Explanation: For example, let’s say you have been compensated K-5 – typical Hi-Lo. You will love to play to see what the flop happens to be. You are very tempted. One out of three times, the flop will match one of your two hole cards. Suppose your five in the hole were paired on the flop. You have a little pair with a good kick.
With eight other players at the table, it is very likely that one will hold the higher pair in the hole, or catch one over the flop or after – at the turn or on the river. While your King is an excellent kicker, it’s not about winning this hand for you. You can get really lucky and catch a trip toddler or pair your King. With only five outs (three kings and two fives) it’s likely a long shot – an underdog of course.
Instead of five, suppose you’re lucky and pairs your King in the hole at the flop. You can expect it to happen less than one in five times. The big pair sure looks good on you. A pair of Kings are always attractive hands. But, with eight opponents at the table, it’s quite possible that one (or more) can also hold a King in the hole – but with a higher kick. Poker players love to see the flop with honor cards. If neither of you raises any further, his kicks take the pot. Your hand is second best. It can only cost you a lot of chips.
That explains why Hi-Lo’s hands almost always have to be folded before they fail. On the other hand, the high cards (Kings in this example) are often quite attractive to many poker players. This is even more so if they have moved their hole cards consecutively to date. That’s really annoying. Always remember, patience is a virtue!
Just keep an eye on the hands that appear in battle. Playing Hi-Lo hands was their mistake – it may have been a costly mistake. Don’t let a player like that set an example for you. Avoid Hi-Lo hands and be patient until you are dealt cards worth playing. Of course, there is one exception: If you are the Big Blind Man, and there has been no raise, you get a “free” card.
There is one problem with this strategy that involves Hi-Lo’s hand. This happens a lot. After a while, some of your opponents in the game will read you as a very strict player. Then, when you catch a strong hand, they’ll be more prone to folding their cards – unless they have a really strong hand – leaving you with a very small pot to win. You are less likely to build a pot when you bet for value.
Your best strategy at this is to play cheats by playing slow and / or boosting. Unless you’re playing against a lot of tight players, scams can work for you. (If your table’s texture is very tight, it’s a good idea to turn tables long before this hand.)
Bottom line: As a general rule, it would be a mistake to invest your precious chips in Hi-Lo’s hands. Several times such hands are connected and then hold the lead to the end, will not make up for the cost. It’s not worth the speculation. Why start at hand by putting yourself in trouble? Avoid Hi-Lo’s hands.