How do you play small pocket pairs?

roundcat

roundcat

Creature of leisure
These are some of my least favorite starting hands. I know you're supposed to plunk in a good raise with a pocket pair and you have a statistical advantage over most unpaired starting hands, but this really kills me. Almost invariably, when I raise with a small pair overcards will come on the flop and I'll end up throwing the hand away.

Of course, it's great to flop a set and you can gain a lot of chips that way because your hand's strength is better-disguised than if you hold high cards with more high cards on the board, but that doesn't happen often enough for me to feel comfortable with playing small pairs aggressively. It's very tempting to just limp in with them.

So, I'm curious how others here play small pairs. Do you go whole hog with them, or stay on the cautious side?
 
t1riel

t1riel

Legend
Depends what the flop is. If you see more than one overcard or three of the same suit, I say be cautious. If ther is only one overcard, make a big raise. Pocket pair is usually a popular hand to play aggressive.
 
Gizzi315

Gizzi315

Guest
For me it depends on position, blind level, other bets and my gut. I will usually at least call to see the flop, but I may also fold or perhaps even raise pre-flop depending on the circumstances. I think I get trips with a low pair less than 10% of the time so I don't count on them very much.
 
twizzybop

twizzybop

Legend
Low pockets.. normally limp in cause they hit a set 1:8 times.. medium pairs I usually pre-flop raise but that depends on where in the game I'm at. Early on I always get some donk calling with Paint card rag and they usually hit that paint card. Position wise even on the button I only limp with small pair.. especially when the blinds especially for me have this certain donkness to defend it with rags.
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
Depends on a lot of factors. A few examples...

In early position on table where there's been a lot of preflop raising - Fold
In early position on a table where a lot of hands are being limped multiway - Call
In late position after a raise - Fold
In late position after a couple of limpers - Call
In late position and folded around to me - Raise

These are very general and not set in stone, but are a rough guideline.
 
roundcat

roundcat

Creature of leisure
Thanks for the replies! I guess I'm not crazy, then, not to go overboard with them preflop. Dorkus, I like your guidelines. That's pretty much what I've been doing, expect perhaps at a short-handed table when I might play them more aggressively.
 
L

Luske

Guest
For me, any PP below face cards with more than 6 players at the table, is a drawing hand. I need to get a set or for them to be an overpair to play them postflop.
When they hit 1:8 they get huge value - better if more players see the flop - thats why ill limp or call a fairly big raise with them from any position, trying to keep as many people in as possible, so the guy whose rags hit 2 pair, top pair decent kicker and other inferior hands will surrender his chips.
I dont see the point of raising with 44 any time, except to steal in a shorthanded game. And thats just dangerous business with a hand that has 1:8 of improving.
My $ .02....
 
C

crustyjack

Guest
I prefer a softer approach. Late pos only. Any raizes fold. You gotta flop a set or get out!!!! If you do flop a set,check. Take em to the cleaners on the turn.
 
Dennis C

Dennis C

Guest
Dorkus Malorkus said:
Depends on a lot of factors. A few examples...

In early position on table where there's been a lot of preflop raising - Fold
In early position on a table where a lot of hands are being limped multiway - Call
In late position after a raise - Fold
In late position after a couple of limpers - Call
In late position and folded around to me - Raise

These are very general and not set in stone, but are a rough guideline.
These are some damn good answers, but for me if I can't limp in in the BB I'm folding every time. Some would say that is dumb, but to each his own.
 
Ima6T4

Ima6T4

Guest
Dorkus Malorkus said:
Depends on a lot of factors. A few examples...

In early position on table where there's been a lot of preflop raising - Fold
In early position on a table where a lot of hands are being limped multiway - Call
In late position after a raise - Fold
In late position after a couple of limpers - Call
In late position and folded around to me - Raise

These are very general and not set in stone, but are a rough guideline.


These guidelines follow most of the books on the market. the biggest variance is small pair/middle pair or any thing under 10-10 being a small pair. Also good advice to say they are "general" guidelines. After following the action at your table there could be other advantages to the small pair depending on the tendencies of the other players.
 
Rockbuster

Rockbuster

Rock Star
Very good posts. Like Gizzi says position is important as well as are you on the final table with 2 or 3 players left. Position is one of my 5 p rules. I have read some things on stats one thing I read was you will flop a set 2 out of 17 pp's you are dealt. So if I have had say 10 or 12 pp's and no set yet I play em more aggresively since the odds get better in your favor. Then there are days when I hit pp's alot more. Good luck all.............Rock
 
Osmann

Osmann

Guest
Rockbuster said:
Very good posts. Like Gizzi says position is important as well as are you on the final table with 2 or 3 players left. Position is one of my 5 p rules. I have read some things on stats one thing I read was you will flop a set 2 out of 17 pp's you are dealt. So if I have had say 10 or 12 pp's and no set yet I play em more aggresively since the odds get better in your favor. Then there are days when I hit pp's alot more. Good luck all.............Rock

That is simply not correct! The odds of flopping a set does not improve, even if you didn't flop it the last 100 times. It will always be the same.
 
CACADETORO

CACADETORO

Rising Star
small pocket pairs 10 and below i usually limp in.. when u hit your flop it's so hard to spot the low set. I find i lose mostly to pck 2's flop comes A J 2 and I am all in with my two pair aces and jacks and buddy is glad to call with his set of 2's ! ughh! I like to limp in with the low pocket's as i am sure everyone else does too
 
R

rolledup

Guest
busting a big hand

sometimes early in a sit and go or a tourny i am able to read that a plsyer who has just raied preflop has a strong hand. This is because he is either very tight and does not raISE WITH ANYTHING like QJs or 88 or i just have a hunch a player has a big hand by his betting. If my stack will not be harmed to bad by the pre flop call i will make the call because if i hit i know i can take the player for most of thier money.

example: 20 doller pokerstars sit and go. me 33, opponent AA.
starting chips 1500 blinds 15 30
my chips 2200 my opponent 2000
one player make it 70 to go
AA 200 to go
me call from bb 33
flop: 3 7 K rainbow

Initial raiser checks
AA bet 400

I raise to 800

Player folds

AA moves all in
 
Tammy

Tammy

Moderator
Moderator
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You make a good point, but how often do you flop a set? I'm willing to wager not often enough to make such a call like that all the time, and still be able to survive in an MTT (or even a SNG). Especially when playing in an MTT your goal is to stay alive, not throw your chips away on a gut feeling.
 
beardyian

beardyian

Scary Clown
Awards
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I would only ever play a small pocket pair if the position or situation called for it.

Cash game - late position if all have folded
Tourney - if a move was needed to be made

As for raising with them -
All depends again with the table (tight players etc) and in a late position

Remember the saying - dont play any cards that you arent prepared to raise with.

IanT

ps.Of course "The Killer 2's" are a different subject altogether ;)
 
tenbob

tenbob

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Small pocket pairs were a big pain for me for a long time. I agree if you are shortstacked and need to make a move they have to be pushed. Otherwise, in late position with lots of limpers ill call and see if i hit my set, if you dont its an easy fold.

Now the one thing with small pocket pairs and bottom sets is that if they do hit they are VERY vunerable. Not that often but be careful if you have a set on a cordinated board, the posibility of a bigger set than yours also exists. (it happened to me TWICE over the Christmas in the late stages of a tourney)
 
IrishDave

IrishDave

A Member
My rule of thumb with small pockets is to see the flop as cheap as possible. If I do not hit a set - lay them down. Raising with small pockets is a good way to exit a game early as you're rarely better than a coinflip...
 
C

colin_147

Guest
I agree with Dave. Its always nice to see a cheap flop with low PP's but that isnt to say you should always make this play. For instance, in late position this is definitely a hand to push, particularly when the blinda are getting a bit higher. Early position dont even consider raising unless you are willing to commit some of your chips to the pot, as the possibilty of A) getting no callers and B) seeing no overcards/hitting a set are remote

A small PP can also be a great hand when hitting a set on an Aced board, as with a few callers you are almost certain to see some action.

As with most hands, low pockets can be played in a variety of ways and a lot is to do with timing, luck, position, chips stack - all things to consider when making a move
 
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