These days it is terribly easy to slip into a mode where you simply expect your opponents to pass you easy money. I believe that the majority of online poker players simply go about this in the wrong way. The best online poker players chase fold equity and dead money very aggressively. This is where the majority of your profits will stem from in no limit Texas hold’em ring games. Your profits once you reach certain levels will not come from waiting for the nuts or some other strong holding and then hoping that your opponents stack off.
You will be as likely to be on the wrong side of a big hand versus big hand situation as you are the right side. While your hand selection can go some way to negating this effect, the fact of the matter is that your profits or the bulk of your profits will not come from huge all in confrontations. Sure some wacky opponent may decide to stack off with fresh air or some weak holding every now and again but the fact of the matter is that it simply doesn’t happen often enough.
If your opponents are not stacking off in the same quantity and the number of players that are seeing the flop are small then your implied odds are going to suffer. This means that you cannot under any circumstances be playing your hand just to hit your hand. This means calling raises with hands like suited connectors, pocket pairs or anything else for that matter. You must always play your hand with two objectives in mind, these are to win the pot by making your opponent fold the best hand or fold a hand that could have won the pot by being aggressive or to actually make the best hand.
So this is why your ideal hands for entering into the action with are hands that can win two ways. While any pot can be won with a bluff, if you play 100% of your range then not only is this massively exploitable, it is also a horrible leak. The way to achieve fold equity and dead money is to make your bets and raises believable. When this is the case then your opponents can often make some amazing laydowns. For example your opponent could even fold a hand like top pair with an ace.
The biggest problem that many players have when it comes to making money is with their non-showdown earnings. There is really only one way that this part of your game suffers and it is to do with placing money into the pot and then leaving it there. This means that the amount of money that you win in the pots that you win without the pot going to showdown is being offset (or worse) by the amounts that you lose. This can be changed by making your opponents fold more and playing more aggressively post flop.
It also means that you should play fewer hands in a fit or fold way and especially when the implied odds are very poor. For example let us say that you have the 5c-5d in the UTG position, what should you do with this hand? Well firstly most of the players that I know would limp with this hand because of “implied odds”. This is fine but only if the implied odds are high enough. If you look at the “see the flop” percentages and how low they are then this is a clear indicator that your implied odds are nowhere near as high as what they used to be some years ago.