Many amateur poker players will sit at a table, fold their hands over and over and wait for high cards to come. They rarely play any cards unless they are high. Now this tight strategy is not that bad, however many of new players will fall into the trap of playing mediocre hands with KJ, K10, AJ, and A10, calling raises and playing it out of position.
The problem is that often with KJ and K10 you will be up against either AK or KQ in which both cases you are totally dominated by a better kicker, the ace and the queen. Now surely sometimes you will get lucky and hit two pair on the river or a straight with these hands sometimes but in the long run you will lose too much when you flop top pair kings and lose to a better kicker. The same goes for AJ and A10 offsuit. They are easily dominated by hands like AK and AQ. The same principle stands here, the amount of money you stand to lose with these hands is much greater than what you stand to gain – therefore it is correct to fold most of the time. It is especially important to fold these hands pre-flop to lots of raising, you are almost surely beat even if you hit a pair.
Now there are certain times where you will play hands like these. If it seems that nobody is strong ahead of you, and you are sitting in late position, you should limp in or come in with a raise, depending on how tight the game is. If you don’t think you will be good in a hand where you flop top pair because of your kicker trouble, do not play that hand. One other situation where you would play AJ and A10 is if it was suited. This gives you another chance to win with the flush, increasing your +EV and making it correct to call.
Famous actor James Woods once said on a poker television show that he keeps an elastic band around his wrist that he snaps every time he gets a “garbage hand like KJ”. Even the celebrities are catching on, why aren’t you? Maybe an elastic around your wrist is a good solution for you. Maybe you want to just mentally prepare yourself before every game by telling yourself you will only play these mediocre face card hands in certain situations. Stick by your plan. You will find that in both limit and no limit poker, you will certainly save a lot of money.