Small Antes
 
Not playing loose enough in high-ante games is a much less common problem among online poker games players than playing too loose in low-ante and average-ante games. When players in a game cry out, "Here comes a live one," what they mean is, "Here comes a player who plays too many pots, who always wants to get into the action, who doesn't consider the odds before calling, who calls to the end with next to nothing when two aces are staring him in the face." Put more succinctly, what they mean is, "Here comes a sucker."

What happens when you play too loose for the ante? Well, even if you play very well from then on, you have the problem of playing a worse hand on average than your opponents who are playing correctly according to the ante. Consequently, you figure to lose to them as long as they play as well as you.

Even if they don't play quite as well as you, you figure to lose to them because their starting requirements are higher than yours, and so the hands they play against you will, on average, be better than yours.
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Bottled Rockets
 
You're running bad. It's been a nightmare of missed draws, second-best hands, and heinous suckouts. Your image is shredded; it seems like every time you enter the pot the others just pile on. Wallowing in your misery, you now find yourself holding pocket aces under the gun. Assuming that you're not so despondent as to fold, should you call, raise, or call hoping to reraise?

COMMENT: Many players in this situation, feeling snakebit like they are, will want to slow-play their aces. This is wrong on the face of it, but it's even worse because they have two contradictory reasons for doing so. On one hand, feeling snakebit, they want to minimize their loss in case their aces don't hold up. On the other hand, they're in a deep hole and imagine that a big volume multi-way win will get them well in a hurry in case their aces do hold up. In any event, their thinking is tainted by their feeling, and so their actions-whatever actions-are fundamentally misguided.

Let's review some basic math. A-A is a big favorite against any single random hand (about 3.5 to 1 over J-T suited to a suit other than the aces; about 8 to 1 over 7-2 off suited in suits counterfeit to the aces). But A-A will win only one time in three or four against a field of six random hands. The math is immutable: If you don't raise with pocket aces and let a lot of limpers limp in, you're giving yourself the worst of it.
 
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