Low pocket pairs - what to do?

R

renderstream

Guest
Hi,

Was just wondering what your strategy is when you are dealt a low pocket pair? (22,33,44, etc). I believe if you play it through you have a 20% chance of catching your set.

My old style, i used to play this hand extremely aggressively, betting preflop to eliminate limpers, and then betting again on the flop regardless of what comes up. I have found this to be effective at times:

- Preflop bet makes others think i have a strong hand (AK, AQ, etc) And another bet on the flop will sometimes scare them off. Furthermore, if there is anyone who calls, and i happen to catch the trips, then i have them trapped.

On the other hand however, i find this play to be devastating when either your opponent catches any decent hand and you do not catch your trips - so i dont think this is the best way to play it.

What do you think?
 
T

Toby

Play money lover
Yes i see what you mean betting high with a low pair and then on the flop regardless of what comes up, but then at the same time thats dangerous play. I have to admit i hate it when i bet loads before the flop and get nothing and then someone else bets high its like crap im just going to throw away the money i bet
But then some of the time it works, Poker is all about balls :). without them you cant win big amounts of money.
 
Grumbledook

Grumbledook

Guest
well depends if you are playing a cash game or a tournament

in a tournament they can be a great hand to just shove all in with, people are going to be less likely to call as they will want to conserve chips

danger here though is you get someone behind you with AA KK and you are somewhat trapped between a rock and a hard place, against AK or any other 2 higher unpaired cards then you are a very slight favourite

as for cash games I normally play limit so I wouldn't adivse what you suggested for limit play, its only one more bet for each caller so it will build a big pot

that does have its merits and problems though, the pot is bigger so you will win more when you do get a set, though you are giving others correct pot odds to chase with flushes and straights (though the board could still pair giving you a boat (full house))

generally if I am going to play them then I will come in late with them if there have been some callers, you are in fact only going to flop a set 11% of the time when you hold a pocket pair, not the 20% you thought, or play them from the blinds against no raise

most of the time though I would just fold them, sure you can win a lot when you flop a set but at only 11% of the time, in limit play at least its not really worth it

for no limit though you can chase people off the pot with a nice sized preflop raise and another on the flop

i'd be careful though you could end up betting off your money if you consistantly do it every time you get them
 
L

Lavitz

Guest
I suggest raising only if you are dealer or late position and noone else has. This will eliminate limpers. However, if you're early then you might want to call because someone after you might already be planning on raising with a higher pair. Also, if you raise too much then many players will go all in regardless of flop in an effort to bluff the pot. I wouldnt put yourself in this position because chances are the flop is gonna be hazardous unless you get a set. bluffing can be hard with too much pre flop raising because players will feel they dedicated too much chips/money to fold now and will call your bluff regardless. Therefore calling would be best on early position.

Reputation plays a role however. If you raise a moderate amount and only one or two people call then you might be able to bluff them out. A lot of weaker players will call your bluff up until the river in an attempt to catch a card though, so this could also be dangerous. You might have to bluff up and past the river card to get them to fold. If they reraise you at any point you might as well fold without the set.

If this seems idiotic, I'm sorry, I only play in low limit games and freeroll/ or 2 dollar tourneys. These are my experiences.
 
Chatmaster

Chatmaster

Guest
On a low pocket pair you only raise if a 3rd one fall on the flop. You cannot raise like crazy in the beginning with such a hand and you certainly do not have a 20% chance of winning the pot with a pair of deuces. The chances of someone else getting a higher hand dealt to them is to high.

I would call to see the flop and pray that there is another deuce or else I'll just fold.

What would you do with a 2,7 suited? The odds are higher that you will get a flush than take the pot with a pair of deuces.
 
T

Toby

Play money lover
I would see how much to call and if it wasn't high then i would call it, Higher the bet then there is a great risk you will lose + someone else may have a flush with a higher card than a 7.
 
L

Lavitz

Guest
The odds that someone else has a flush that is higher are extremely slim. Seven high flush isnt as bad as you might think. There are still four lower cards (not counting your 2) and although the possibility of a lower flush is unlikely, it is even more unlikely that the person will be holding the same suited hand considering there are only 13 cards of each suit. You holding two with at least 3 being on the board leaves only 8. Meanwhile (not counting the last two different suited cards on the board) there are 37 other cards that are not the same suit. Chances are he has one of them in his hand. However, if four cards of the same suit come up, your 7 high flush becomes a lot weaker because the opponent need only have one card of that suit to have you beat.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
like i said before, im new at poker

but i usually just play min bets until i reach the flop and obviously if anyone is betting big on preflop, i just fold.

^^^i agree with betting big if your dealer or to the right of the dealer to eliminate
but im a pu$$y so i usually take it easy with that:D
 
D

danglingchad

Guest
i only raise based on position...always just call if others can raise you
 
Chatmaster

Chatmaster

Guest
Just remember that with a low pair you have almost no chance of winning the pot. Just fold and forget about it. The whole thing of playing poker is to get the discipline not to bet on what could have been!
 
bigjace

bigjace

Guest
dilemma

i would normally call out of position.if im on the button or big blind make a raise to clear out the limpers.as was said before this is not good strategy in limit games where i would just call regardless and hope to make trips on the flop.as a general rule if i dont make my hand on the flop i am out of there,but depends on the people i am playing against.trust your instincts and you wont go far wrong
 
mikester47

mikester47

Freeroll #8 Winner
in tournament play i recommend a raise two or three times to eliminate most people and then hope you can get only one or two callers. Also this way if you don't catch a set you can get out of the hand and not have crippled your stack.
 
C

CUBSWIN

Guest
Just call the blind or any small raise, and If you don't get it on the flop fold. If you do hit it, try doubling or tripling up. If you're short stacked and you can get a one on one throw 'er all in before the flop.
 
L

Lavitz

Guest
Chatmaster said:
Just remember that with a low pair you have almost no chance of winning the pot. Just fold and forget about it. The whole thing of playing poker is to get the discipline not to bet on what could have been!
Actually, if youre head to head, raise. Folding any pair whatsoever in head to head is a bad move. A pair of 2's holds about a 49 percent chance to win in head to head. Even a pair of modest 8's holds about a 69 percent chance to win the pot,a steady favorite. Pocket pairs are a force with only you and someone else in the pot.

Things change considerably with more people, although it would still be a mistake to fold if noone has raised.
 
Last edited:
J

jokerpoker2000

Guest
I always seem to have trouble with low pairs and seem like I miss play them... the info here sure helps... can't wait to put it to use.
 
Chatmaster

Chatmaster

Guest
The only time I will sit with a low pair is when I posted blind. But as soon as someone raise I am out. I also don't know where you get your stats Lavitz but there is no way that you will convince me that a pair of deuces is worth that much even in a game where the odds is 50/50, I will think twice before playing that low a pair. What you say about the more players is true and there is different play involved with tournement play especialy where you have bunch of tight players together. It helps to bully them into folding even if you have absolutely nothing in hand. So I agree the play changes with the amount of players. At a 10 seat table my lowest hand I am willing to play with, is a suited A;10 unless I posted blind I will look at the flop and decide if I go on. I also prefer NL as I must be able to make big money when I do get a good hand. I do not play crappy hands as that only gets you into trouble at the river. But that's me... and it works for me, I am earning good money this way.
 
C

creeative

Guest
i would raise or call a raise with a small pocket pairs
if i dont hit it on the flop then just check and fold
and if i hit the flop i like betting it hard hopefully it stands up at the on
the river
 
K

kenkbf

Guest
i dont play low pair unless i am in the big blind or small blind then i see the flop
 
L

Lavitz

Guest
Chatmaster said:
The only time I will sit with a low pair is when I posted blind. But as soon as someone raise I am out. I also don't know where you get your stats Lavitz but there is no way that you will convince me that a pair of deuces is worth that much even in a game where the odds is 50/50, I will think twice before playing that low a pair. What you say about the more players is true and there is different play involved with tournement play especialy where you have bunch of tight players together. It helps to bully them into folding even if you have absolutely nothing in hand. So I agree the play changes with the amount of players. At a 10 seat table my lowest hand I am willing to play with, is a suited A;10 unless I posted blind I will look at the flop and decide if I go on. I also prefer NL as I must be able to make big money when I do get a good hand. I do not play crappy hands as that only gets you into trouble at the river. But that's me... and it works for me, I am earning good money this way.
You WILL make good money if you call with low pocket pairs. If you pull a low set on the flop you can bet that you will probably make up to 10/15 times the blind (at least)in low limit (2 cent/4 cent)games with a set, well worth the risk of a blind. People will bet based on high pair or draws. Two hands in a row i pulled a set with pocket 7's then pocket 5's in 2 cent 4 cent games. So i paid 8 cents in blinds and I ended up winning over 5 dollars.Thats enough to limp in on about 125 more blinds. People will bet strong with high pair/high kicker and/or two pair. When they bet strong you can slow play your set, assuming there's no straight or flush draw on the table.It's well worth the low risk. The only time I might fold preflop is either if someone makes a decent sized raise or if I am in a tourney and blinds are raising and there are many callers before me. Odds are, if I raise, I will have multiple callers unless I raise a large amount or move all in, which I would not do with a low pair unless we are late in a tourney

Also, as of my stats. Go here and look for yourself. www.wizardofodds.com
With a pair of 2's and another random hand in the pot, a pair of 2's has a 50 percent chance to win. This would not be fitting with multiple people of course because the caller will most likely have a good hand, not a random hand. However, when a tourney is down to its final stages this would be a good strategy. Pocket pairs are a great tourney hand in the final stages.
 
P

ph_il

...
low pocket pairs are only worth a call and somtimes a small bet if there can be no reraise after you. i wouldnt call a raise bigger then 2x the big blind [the normal raise minimum] because A: its possible your pockets are beat at the moment 2: any of the other players could have hit a pair on the flop to beat you and you might be tempted to call small bets to chase your set.

calling a small bet at the least is a good option because you can hit that set. and if you dont its any easy fold with very few chips at risk. its also better to fold when you know your pockets are beat and not even put your chips at risk.
 
S

slickster

Guest
renderstream said:
Hi,

Was just wondering what your strategy is when you are dealt a low pocket pair? (22,33,44, etc). I believe if you play it through you have a 20% chance of catching your set.

My old style, i used to play this hand extremely aggressively, betting preflop to eliminate limpers, and then betting again on the flop regardless of what comes up. I have found this to be effective at times:

- Preflop bet makes others think i have a strong hand (AK, AQ, etc) And another bet on the flop will sometimes scare them off. Furthermore, if there is anyone who calls, and i happen to catch the trips, then i have them trapped.

On the other hand however, i find this play to be devastating when either your opponent catches any decent hand and you do not catch your trips - so i dont think this is the best way to play it.

What do you think?
only play them if you can see the flop for cheap, and hop to hit a set. You definately cant fall in love with them
 
R

renderstream

Guest
Actually Lavits is correct.

In a head to head match, a pocket pair vs 2 over cards (non-paired) is approximatly 50/50 - with a small advantage for the player holding pocket pair.

So for example:

2-2 vs A-K

- The 2-2 is slightly favored, but it is almost a flip of a coin.
 
H

Hashash

Guest
Low pocket pair i usually go for the all-in depending on my position on the table.
Hi pair i try to milk it and draw in a player or two and then go all-in as soon as i feel i may be in trouble if i allow the next community card out. Most of the time i raise pot size with hi pair. and low pair go way over pot size to throw everyone in a folding situation. But either way i usually am hoping on 1 caller and not 3 or 4 or else its not turning out in my favor majority of times. I like 1 on 1 with pocket pair i guess is the best way to explain my game when i am in that situation.
 
D

DarkDingo

Guest
im normaly slow playing my low pocket pairs and then go more aggressivly after ive hit the trips if i do if i dont im folding
 
Top