I have talked about it before, but there is a fundamental problem with playing middle pocket pairs in online No Limit Hold em games.
The problem is, so many players will call pre-flop raises with any paint in their hand (face cards).
What this does is make it very hard to get any value out of your pocket 7's or 9's unless you happen to hit your set.
In a major tournament yesterday I had pocket 7's in late position (2 spot ahead of the button).
I made a raise of 4x the Big Blind.
To make a long story short, I got a call from the Big Blind and ended up being put out when his K-T paired up a K on the River.
I would not have called a pre-flop raise of that size with K-T off suit.
However, what I would have done just not mean diddly when applied to what other players would do, especially online.
His chip stack was not huge, he had no reason to think I was bluffing, that fact his, many players view K-T as a great hand.
I could not get this player to fold to me, no matter that he did not hit his K until the River.
He liked his hand! The important lesson here is just to not get too committed with small pocket pairs.
Even though you have the best hand, and of course, that guy is not always going to suck out a K, it is a good idea to not get out ahead of yourself with that pocket pair unless your set hits.
You are just too likely to be called by someone with over cards and if any hit on subsequent streets, you can find yourself in a world of trouble.
It is better to be cautious, even though you have 7's and the flop is 6-3-2 rainbow.
Some online players will stay in there with you against all common sense.
I had a similar hand with pocket 9's yesterday as well.
I raised big pre-flop, got one call.
As it turned out, I got called all the way to the River (no over cards on the board) where my opponent hit and Ace to pair up with his A-5 suited.
Again, any Ace or face card, and especially that "anything suited" mentality came into play there.
I submit that if you cannot push them off the hand, and your raise pre-flop and bet on the flop will many times tell you this, it is best to start checking or bet with caution because some of these guys you just cannot get rid of and it can cost you.
You will see this a lot with Big Slick.
A player with nothing more than A-high calls you all the way to the River only to have his Ace or King pair up and beat your middle pocket pair.
They seem to be saying "See, I knew my A-K was good" when they suck out something like this.
The bottom line is, some of the more sexy hands like A-K, many online players just cannot lay down.
They can't get away from it and sometimes suck-outs happen.
Your only other alternative is to make such a big pre-flop raise that everyone folds and you collect the blinds.
Sometimes, late in an SNG that is not a bad play, but early on, you want to get a little action on your hand.
The other thing about committing too many of your chips pre-flop with a mid pocket pair, is that the only hands that can call you are ones that can beat you, like J-J, Q-Q etc.
So even if you risk $400 of your $1500 for $90 worth of blinds, a hand bigger than yours may come out of right field anyway.
No, more often than not, and this is mainly applies to internet play, you need to use some caution with those middle pocket pairs.
You will find too many players making too many loose calls that can sink you when their hands hit.