This is a discussion thread · 4 replies
You glance down at your cards and are pleasantly surprised to see a pair. There are many ways to play pocket pairs and the way you play them depends on the following factors; what pair you have in front of you, what position you are in, your chip stack and what type of players your opponents are.
A premium pair (QQ, KK, AA) should be raised 3-5 times the big blind. I’m more likely to raise up 5 times at a table of 10 whereas 3-4 times at a smaller table. If there has already been a raise, I would recommend re-raising with the three hands mentioned before. If I was re-raised again by one player, I’d have a long think about it and then re-raise with pocket Aces, or call with Pocket Kings or . If there were 2 or 3 players re-raising, I would definitely consider folding pocket depending on the players still in the hand. Pre-flop there are only 2 occasions in my life that I can remember seeing pocket Kings folded – and it must have REALLY hurt doing that (Oh, and it wasn’t me folding by the way). On one occasion the opponent had pocket Aces, the other time the opponent had AK.
The only time that I wouldn’t raise a premium hand (I still do not recommend this tactic though) is when playing heads-up against a very aggressive player. Either call in the small blind position or check in the big-blind, hope that your opponent flops a pair smaller than yours and bang, you’re in there.
This time you hit Pocket Jacks, Ten’s or Nine’s. These are all good starting hands. It is more important with these hands rather than the premium hands that you don’t see a flop with more than one person as if you do, the chances are that you will be behind after the flop (if you are not already behind before the flop). Raise with these hands in an early position to try to isolate one caller. If in a late position and there has been a raise and re-raise, it is wise folding (unless you have enough reason to think that there is a bluff), again a tough one to fold but sometimes it’s just got to be done.
Pocket 8’s 7’s and 6’s can be tricky to play. They are good starting hands however more tricky to play post-flop. If you are confident in your post-flop play they are worth getting involved with. I usually recommend raising post-flop with these hands. As with the previous example you don’t want too many callers, however if you flop a set, you’re in a very strong position. It’s a little dangerous to call a raise pre-flop with a medium pair but potentially very rewarding.
Pocket 5’s, 4’s 3’s and 2’s are hands that I would be more inclined to limp in with pre-flop. My attitude is to hope that there are a number of players in a small pot and to hit a set. It’s pointless betting after the flop with 3 higher cards and you’re stuck on your pocket pair. It hasn’t cost you much too see the flop and you can easily muck your hand if there is a bet.
Pocket pairs are good starting hands to have however attention must be made to others are playing their hands and don’t be afraid to throw then away if you think you are behind.
Yours in poker,
People are waiting to help.