Players at all levels of poker have a weakness with a certain combination of cards in their hand. This is most noticeable when novice players get involved in hands that contain an ace with a low kicker, but can also apply to intermediate players who go ga-ga over pocket queens and even the great Phil Ivey has a hand weakness over 72 offsuit, and plays it “because he can”.
Hand weaknesses may develop when a certain combination of cards has produced fantastic results for you in the past. If you have experienced a profitable session or tournament victory when pocket queens where dealt to you on several occasions, the pocket queens will stick in your mind as a good omen – even though those pocket queens may not have been directly responsible for your session profit or tournament victory.
Having a hand weakness like this can be exceptionally dangerous, as you will tend to regard these combinations of cards favourably and overbet them against potentially stronger opening hands. The worse thing that can happen is not that you lose a little bit of extra money when the “weakness hand” loses, but it actually wins and you overbet by even more the next time that combination of cards is dealt to you.
Acknowledging that you have a tendency to favour a certain hand (or hands) is the first step towards dealing with a hand weakness. As this happens almost subconsciously, you have to catch yourself when those cards are dealt to you, and go back to the basics of what this hand means in terms of table position and the value of your chip stack.
Even you will eventually realise the error of your ways when your “weakness hand” becomes too expensive for you to persevere with, but by then you may have developed a dislike for the hand, and maybe decline to play it when it could be the hand which turns over a major pot. Acknowledging that there is a problem before it influences the way in which you play certain hands of poker can be vital for your short to medium term success.
Unfortunately, this is not a trait you can identify in other players and take advantage of – not without knowing their pocket cards – and even pocket aces can become weakness hands if you let them. Allowing a hand weakness to develop is like bringing emotion into your game, and most poker players accept that this is not a positive or recommended step. Instead, as soon as you acknowledge that you may have a hand weakness, deal with it before it deals with you.