Originally Posted by MediaBLITZ
How about making the decision to NOT stack off with an average hand like two pair? Or, saying it another way, don't go looking to make a big pot with an average hand - exercise pot control.
If you want to make a big pot out of a big hand, and a small pot out of a small hand, does it not follow an average hand should be going for an average pot?
With an unpaired holding in NLHE, the odds of flopping 2 pair is about 2.02% (http://www.calculatem.com/article/what-are-the-odds-of-flopping-two-pair-in-texas-holdem).
The odds of flopping a set are about 10.5% (http://www.suntzupoker.com/poker-odds.aspx#two-nonpaired-cards).
The odds of both dependent events occurring in the same hand are less than 0.0202*0.105 = 0.002121, or 2 tenths of a percent. Once you count for card removal decreasing the likelihood of both hands being held on a board at the same time, then the situation is incredibly unlikely.
These numbers aren't meant to trivialize the decision to stack off with 2 pair. Stacking off anytime should be a respected decision, but also one given proper context. For instance, 8♠
on a 9♠
board is much worse than Q♦
on a Q♥
board. The former is much more likely to run into powerful and extremely dominating hands like 98s, 99, JT and 56s; whereas the latter, Q♦
on a Q♥
board, is much more powerful because it beats out hands like KK, KJ, AQ and other weaker hands and draws that are often putting in more money when raised. All boards aren't the same. All two pairs aren't the same.
What is important is that 2 pair is
a rarely made hand, and that's part of what makes it powerful. If you place a bet as often as most players need
to continuation bet, then folding a hand that's in the top 10% of your possible holdings to a raise is usually a horrible choice. Let's say that you continuation bet a given board 60% of the time after raising pre-flop and getting a single caller.
Consider raising pre-flop 20% of the time, and continuation betting 60% of the time, but plan to fold 2 pair, then you're folding too often, and anyone can simply raise anytime you bet, forcing you to fold far too many hands.
If you know that you're against the rockiest of rocks, then by all means, make an extremely tight fold. But if your default strategy in NLHE is to fold such a strong hand as 2 pair, especially one boards where your opponents can be semi-bluffing or value betting worse hands, then you're going to be losing A LOT of money trying to avoid the unavoidable.
Try not to avoid stacking off with 2 pair, or fearing it, so much as you worry about creating a game plan around stacking off with 2 pair. Instead of cultivating thoughts like "oh man, I never bet here and now that he's raising my rare bet, he has to have it", try more for "yes! I've continuation bet against this guy and won the last 3 hands in a row, so now he's either value raising me with worse or bluffing to fight back. Two pair is an awesome hand to have here!".
Do you see the difference?