How to Play Pocket Pairs: Poker Basics Guide

A pocket pair is often seen as a “must play” hand in poker, specifically Texas Hold’em. A pocket pair, as the name suggests, is when two cards of equal value (but different suits) are dealt in any poker game. Although pairs are important in all types of poker, they are most important in a Texas Hold’em game because there are two hole cards in this version. This means that all the choices, both pre-flop and post-flop, will be based on this pair’s power.

Defining Pocket Pairs

The chances of a pocket pair being played in Texas Hold’em are 1/221 or 0.45 percent, so you need to know how to play it when you get a pair. The first thing you should do when playing a couple is to evaluate their strength.

  • Low Pairs – Each hand priced below pocket deuces and eight pockets is a low pair. This is because these hands do not always do well after the flop.
  • Medium Pairs – Medium strength pairs are essentially nines and tens of bags. Such players, even in the face of high cards, play relatively well after the flop.
  • High Pairs – A pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces should be classified as a pair of high pockets and played as aggressively as possible.

Things to Consider In Advance Of Playing The Set.

You first need to take into account the following factors before you begin weighing your hand: Stack Size – The smaller the stack (60bbs or less), the less you play after the flop. In this case, folding the pair or going all – in pre-flop is often easiest.

Your Position – The earlier you are to act pre-flop (your position), the more conservative you have to be with your pairs. Because players will lift behind you, it must be taken into account as you scale up your pair. The earlier you need to act, the better the pair needs to be, in basic terms.

Tournament, or Game of Cash – The way you play your pair can vary depending on the setting. Because you have the option to top up your stack in a cash game, more pairs can be played and mine matched (trying to make a post-flop set). Tournaments, on the other hand, include smaller stacks (either yours or opponents) and more pre-flop motions. This means that with the pairs you play, you have to be more conservative.

Your Adversaries – You need to be more conservative if your rivals are violent or have smaller piles. If your rivals are susceptible to collapsing a lot after the flop, you also need to be more conservative, because when you hit them, you won’t realize the value of sets.

Playing Small and Medium Pairs for Value

Set value (i.e. you want to hit a set after flop) is the best way to play small and medium pairs (except when you’re short stacked). You will often see one or more post-flop overcards; the pre-flop benefit may have been negated when this occurs.

So when you play small and medium pairs, you always have to take the above points into consideration and ask yourself: will I be able to make a set and, more importantly, will I make some money from my opponents when I do it?
The chance to floppy a set or quads is approximately 11.6%. On this basis, it can be said that if the proportion between the stack of your competitor and the sum you need to call to play the hand must be 12:1 + (i.e. their stack must be 12X or greater than the bet size) to support set mining.

Essentially, you should either push all-in with your hand pre-flop (if you have a short stack or are in a tournament) or fold it if you’re not in a position to set mine with small and medium pairs.
If you have a high pair then you have more options because after the flop your side is going to be better. For example, if you’ve been dealt a pair of jacks, your pair is likely to be higher than the neighborhood cards.

You can be slightly more confident when this is the case that your side is better on the flop, turn and water. Let’s say, you need to constantly refer back to the above table dynamics points; but, with high pairs you should be as aggressive as possible.
Pocket pairs are great hands, but only in the right conditions. You must first look at which class it falls into (low, medium or high) each time you are dealing a pair. From this point you need to run through the table dynamics checklist and then determine if your target is to touch a set and be disappointed or competitive with a powerful pair.

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2019-12-19T02:17:06+00:00