04-27-06 [poker]Some different ways to think about hands : your goal in each hand is just to put pressure on the pot and take it down. Basically you're going to raise and cbet. You don't really look at your hole & the board until your opponent decides he's not folding to your cbet (that's not actually true, of course you look, but let's pretend). So, your opponent calls your cbet, or maybe he raised preflop. Now you look at your cards. 90% of the time you're just going to give up because he's decided he's not giving up the pot, but sometimes you look down and find you've actually got something - a set, a straight, aces. Then you say "okay, I'll play with you". Other times you think he's just playing back and play like you have a set even though you don't.
Most of your EV on every hand you play just comes from taking down the pot with little pressure. Why not just play every hand? Well, for one you need to play tight just so people will see you as tight and give you credit and fold. Also, if you just fold every time someone plays back, you'll be folding too much, you need to be able to defend your hand part of the time. To do that, you need to have hit something part of the time. Better hole cards help there, though they aren't crucial, since junk cards can hit two pairs and trips and such too.
Think about it this way - you get 88. Don't think, oo I have a pair of 8's. Think, okay, I have two cards, I'll make a raise and put pressure on the pot. Now, if you get put to the test, you have some nice insurance where you don't just have to fold, depending on the board maybe you can try to get to a cheap showdown with just your 8's, or if you have a set you can try to play for a whole stack.