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In Texas hold’em playing small to medium pocket pairs can be kept fairly simple and could reap you some big pots with out putting you in a lot of danger as long as you keep to an appropriate game plan from the start of the hand. By small to medium I mean pairs of 8’s down to 2’s and here are some rules I like to follow when holding a hand like 66 or 33.

1: Aim to get away cheaply. When you hold a pair the odds on flopping your set (three of a kind) is about 7:1 against so you don’t want to invest a lot of dough before we see the flop cards. When you have a smaller pair try to get in cheap and then if you hit you can start trying to get chips in the middle, if not, check or fold. Trying to get “tricky” with a small pocket pair will usually end up costing you. nahls

2: Factor in implied odds. By the book you shouldn’t be calling with pot odds less than 7:1 as that’s the odds against hitting a set as we’ve already stated, but a hand like three dueces with two of them in the hole is a strong hand that’s difficult for opponents to see there fore it’s the type of hand where you need to think about the “implied odds” or the extra money you could get the opponent to put in the pot after you make your hand. For example if you have deuces against a player with Big Slick (AK) and the flop comes down K,10,2 then you could expect a pretty good pay day and possibly get their whole stack. Messipoker

3: Don’t get to cute with your set: So you made it to the flop and glory days are here, a set!! Most of the time be straight forward about it and bet or raise at your first opportunity. Trips is a great hand but it’s not a royal flush and nothing makes you feel more foolish than losing a wad because you tried to slow play a set and let your opponent draw a bigger hand. The only times to slow play trips is if the board is so messy as to present no over cards, or no possible draws, then you might check and hope your opponents hand “catches up” a little. preferablepups

Those are my main guidelines for playing small pocket pairs and I stick to these most of the time, but as you improve you can bend the rules a little. For instance, yes I did say to get the flop cheaply but if I’m in a middle to late position and I’m first to the pot I’ll open for a raise with small pairs to either take control of the hand or just steal the blinds right there. After all stealing the blinds with a pair of three’s is a fine outcome.




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