Pairs

The order of decisions presented in table 1 is the order in which you evaluate your hand. First you check to see if you have a pair. At most casinos, any two 10-count cards, e.g. J-K, are a pair and may be split. If you have a pair, the first part of the table tells you how to play your hand. Use this part of the table to decide whether to split your pair. To split means to make another bet equal in size to your first bet, and play each card as the start of a separate hand.

If you split a pair and catch another card of the same value, resplit if you can. If it is correct to split a pair, it is correct to resplit.

You may or may not be allowed to double down after splitting a pair. For example, if you split 8-8 and catch a 3 for eleven, you may or may not be allowed to double down on that eleven. If doubling down after splitting is allowed, then splitting is more attractive and you should split more often. The first part of table 1 assumes you are not allowed to double down after splitting. If you are allowed to double down after splitting, then use the last part of table 1- the part on the facing page. The decisions that are hits in the first part of table 1 and splits on the facing page are: 6-6 against 2, 4-4 against 5 or 6,3-3 against 2 or 3, and 2-2 against 2 or 3

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I Am Strong Bet, Hear Me Roar!

What happens as you move up in class is that poker starts becoming a game of I know that you know that I know that you know that I know that you know that I know (got a headache yet?). Against more experienced players, you have to decide if:

- Strong means weak (first level thinking)
- Strong means strong (second level thinking)
- Strong means weak again (third level thinking)
- Strong means strong again (fourth level thinking)
... and so on, and so on. Many times, the play doesn't mean as much as how well you've set it up. How have you acted before with strong hands? Do you vary your play? Do you show an awareness of varying your play and of tells? Do you think they're paying attention? Do you think they think you think they're paying attention?
It really is enough to give you a headache, but it sure is fun when you're right.