According to Poker Tracker, in my limited 1000 hand sample, my most profitable hand is... (drum roll please)... the HAMMER.
Sounds improbable, right? Sure, Rockets, Big Slick, and the Hilton Sisters have made me some good money as well, but nothing, so far, tops 7-2 offsuit.
How could that be?
It's actually rather simple.
How many times do you actually end up showing down with American Airlines? As much as we'd like to carry this hand out to the showdown for maximum profit, more often than not, we force the other players to get out of the hand (unless we're cracked, but that's a whole other story).
I've decided to start playing the HAMMER like it's the nuts every time. I do my standard pre-flop raise, then I ram the hell out of the pot. I've held the hand 12 times and won it six. Sometimes, someone else bets out big in front of me, or comes back over the top. That's a pretty good sign I won't be able to bet them out, so I get out. I've never shown the HAMMER as a loser.
So what's my point?
I've never been an effective bluffer. I tend to rely on semi-bluffs that often just lose me money. But sometimes it pays to do a stone-cold bluff with a guaranteed loser. Even if you get caught, you're helping establish your table image, and it could mean someone chases you when you really have the nuts.
And every time I scare people out with the HAMMER, I show it (with the appropriate chat). It proves to people that I don't play just premium hands. And that's a good thing.