2 pair

J

joeeagles

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Mar 24, 2007
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Tournaments in the first 2 levels, when blinds are low, often put you in awkward situations. This is one that I was in the other day and I'd like to know how you would handle it, or what your strategy in general is when you flop 2 pair with the second card being a small one.

Here's the scenario: you're in the BB and are dealt J2s, blinds at 15/30, and stacks are just about the same 1500 that you started with, 100 more or less, and the tourney is a 45 seat turbo. First player in minraises to 60 and gets 2 callers, the SB folds. So now you have a suited hand with 225 in the pot, 30 to call. You decide its worth a try at 7.5 to 1 odds (ok, I'll concede its a questionable decision, nevertheless you called). Flop comes J62 rainbow, an almost drawless board, and you hit 2 pair. You're first to act and throw in a bet of 90. Minraiser calls the 90, next player folds. The 4th player in the pot raises another 250. Now, I know you have to be worried about a set but for the sake of this lets assume you're sure he doesn't have one because you know this player and in this circumstance you know he'd smooth call the flop bet and raise you on the turn. So, you're sure that you're ahead right now and most likely he's raising you with an overpair that he smooth called PF trying to trap, or he has a hand like AJ, or he's just trying to steal this nice pot that was up to 435 when action came to him. The other player, the minraiser, you also put in the same hand range.

What is your strategy at this point? There is a the double danger of either getting outdrawn and losing to a better 2 pair, or the board counterfeiting your duece. Do you think its better to smooth call trying to get the other player involved, hoping the turn is an innocent card and then lead out strong or shove, or reraise to isolate the 3rd player now hoping the next 2 cards don't give him a better hand than yours?

In order to isolate you need to reraise another 250 at least, and assuming he flat calls and doesn't reraise you've put 650 into this pot and still can fold if the turn is ugly, you're left with about 850. But there is also the chance he shoves to your reraise (remember, he might be trapping with an overpair) in which case you have to call because you just can't fold this on the flop knowing that you're ahead for now.

Smooth calling gives a chance to 1st player to get involved and pot is about the same amount you'd have with the reraise but risking less chips, with the danger being that now 2 players can outdraw you. But it gives you the chance to look at the turn at a cheaper price and then take it from there based on what that card is.

There is a 3rd option, which is the shove.

Now, besides the fact some of you might say fold PF which wouldn't put you in this mess to begin with, which way would you go in this situation? Call, reraise to isolate or shove? What is your strategy in general when you have 2 pair and one of them is a rag, giving you many ways to lose, and you get reraised by a player who acts after you?
 
J

jeffred1111

Visionary
Joined
Apr 16, 2007
Total posts
792
With a raise to your bet, I think it's time to go into small pot mode and just call the raise: our objective is to get to the river as cheaply as possible and then jam the pot if our deuce is not counterfeited or if we now there's no set or funky straight lurking. No need to get crazy and risk your tournmanet life on such a hand since the smoothcall of the miniraise can be ATC (I know I'll play ATC when minraised in the big blind). If the turn comes a blank, continue to bet, if the turn produces overcards or counterfeits the 2, this hand goes into the muck pretty much everytime to a bet.

Folding here can also be an option, but since this is a turbo, you need to get chips fast before the blinds get you and you have a pitiful hand that has hit hard. Reraising, to me, seems to be the worst option, since an overpair will probably push on such a board (this is a turbo remember) and we then have to commit our stack. We don't have a lot of fold equity and thus don't want to reopen the betting.

And sorry to say this to you, but folding preflop would've saved you the trouble of playing this hand (and the relatively high risks). But like I said, I would've played this anyhow, but maybe with a reraise to define my opponents hand a bit more (know if I'm facing overcards) and go heads-up.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
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13,642
Just shove and expect to get a call from any top pair. A set is possible, but not likely - especially with you making it even less likely with your 2-pair.

This is exactly the type of action you want with your hand. Stick em in, and expect to get paid off with any overpair, and probably any top pair. People are nuts in these turbos.

Folding should not even be considered here - if you're calling raises (albeit small ones) with J2s and are considering folding, then please come play me HU :)

This is the danger of playing hands like J2, though. If you hit two pair, you're often sitting on top and bottom, or middle and bottom - both of which are very vulnerable. If you hit a flush, you can very well be drawing dead against an even bigger one. Players will shove their entire stack in with the nut draw without a moment's thought, and you could also get outdrawn. I know the PF action isn't the issue here, but I fold.
 
NineLions

NineLions

Advanced beginner
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
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4,979
I'm with Chuck on this.

I get myself into similar situations often just because I complete from the SB in limped pots with almost anything if there's one or more preflop limpers. Top and bottom pair you have to play fast because of the dangers of being counterfeited. A set is a possible holding out there, but AJ/KJ is much more likely statistically will repop here as well trying to tell you he's got a better kicker.
 
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