Playing middle pairs

pcgnome

pcgnome

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Here's a situation that I have seen many times throughout the years. Let's say you are in the middle position with pocket 8's and you have 2 limpers behind you. Would you call or raise in this situation? How much would you raise here? Why would you want to raise here?
 
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Hermus

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You probably meant that you have two limpers before you. 88 is for sure a raise. As a rule of thumb I add 1bb per limper to my open sizing so with two limpers anything between 4 and 7 bbs seems a good sizing with 5 bbs being the standard. We raise to discourage the rest of the table from calling, and we raise larger than normal because the pot is also larger than normal.

With even smaller pocket pairs, suited aces, and suited connectors, limping behind could be the best play. It's almost always incorrect to limp behind if there are aggressive players left to act though. So only limp behind if you know there are only passive players left to act and just open raise or fold your normal range if not.
 
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ROYALROAD

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It depends more on the situation.
8 is the middle number from 2 to A, so it's difficult to handle.
 
Roller

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Typically when you are not sure if you should raise or not the default answer would be raise. When in doubt raise raise raise. if your leaning one way or the other because of situational factors then go with the direction your leaning.
 
tihomir_kula

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When I have a middle pair, l usually doubt, and the final result is fold.
 
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lancabcd10

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Always raise

88 in this situation, I apply a 4bb raise punishing the 2 limpers and preventing other players from picking up with bad hands. If I get a reraise I will analyze the possible call or not, depending on the player.
 
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fundiver199

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Definitely raise. It gives you more ways to win the pot, and its much easier to get to showdown with a middling pair like 88 against one opponent rather than three or four. Lets say you make it 5BB, everyone behind you fold, original limper fold, and the other limper call. Now you are heads up against just one player, and even when the board has overcards, you are going to be able to play pretty well in position.

If the flop comes J74, maybe you bet the flop for value and protection and check back turn for potcontrol, then make a decision if he bets the river. Or if the flop is really bad like AKJ, then you just give up and dont lose any more. Or sometimes the opponent will play really passive, and it checks all the way to showdown, where you beat his 44 or his 75s.
 
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Recreationalplayer

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88 is a tough hand to play as it is too vulnerable to over cards. TT+ is a clear raise and I might raise with 88 sometimes.
 
blueskies

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Depends on your post-flop game and how the other players at the table play. I've seen and laughed at ppl who overvalue 88 and can't toss it even when it's obvious it's no good.
 
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LosJay

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Definitely a raise. I would never call a limp with a pocket pair, unless I want to trap my opponents.
 
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redmast

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You still need to follow your raising rule. Otherwise, even more players will limp.
 
najisami

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Here's a situation that I have seen many times throughout the years. Let's say you are in the middle position with pocket 8's and you have 2 limpers behind you. Would you call or raise in this situation? How much would you raise here? Why would you want to raise here?

The answer is not really that simple. The most important thing I would've liked to know is whether we are in a cash game or a tournament. That makes a huge difference and changes the way we would act.
But to answer simply, I'd opt for the raise for at least 2 reasons :
- The limpers have a hand they want to see the flop with, but not strong enough to raise with..
- Take the pot right there or have the initiative/control of the hand if called.
As to the amount, the dynamic of the table has to be considered. Generally, with 2 limpers before you, 5 BBs would do.
 
Amanda A

Amanda A

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Depends on my stack size or effective stack size, with 20 BB I may just jam, with more BB's I might just call and see a flop.
 
pcgnome

pcgnome

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I think this is a raise situation but I wouldn't play pocket eights like they are pocket aces or kings. There are a few players in front of you so how would you react if you got reraised after you put in like 4 1/2BBs? Let's say you get called and there are 2 face cards showing postflop? It's always been a difficult hand to play but I might be all-in if I had less than 15BBs in my stack.
 
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psy0nyd3

psy0nyd3

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I don't see limping in this situation as an option ever. If I'm going to play 'em, I would raise. And as others have said reevaluate on the flop, and look for those sets. I'd almost always fold to the re-raise. This is just referring to cash game play.
 
milka1605

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I will definitely raise, knowing that there are limpers in front of me, and then I will act according to the situation.
 
gambit1983

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The way I like to look at it is, 88s are a premium hand (kinda) and the two limpers didn’t raise, so they mostly likely don’t have a premium hand. Raise with it and just play the flop carefully, C-bet a comfortable amount on the flop if it looks safe. Try to know where you are at with the two limpers in terms of your read on them. Are these guys just limping in with decent hands? Or are they raising their premium hands. If one or both always raises their premium hands, than you can put them on weaker hands. It’s all about a combination of your reads, the mechanics of the game, and probability IMO. Usually in this spot if one of them call and there is two big cards on the flop, I’ll check and see the turn, then fire a bet if I feel comfortable. You also need to try to put the guy on a hand when the flop comes big cards here…is this how he usually plays when he makes a pair of A K Q etc? Or did he miss…..you gotta think about everything and combine it with your reads. Certain players will check quick sometimes if they miss…some will slow roll…some will bet when they make a good pair right away…you gotta think about how your opponent is playing their hands in this spot
 
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pwalker4201977

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I really don’t like playing pocket pairs lower than 8’s but I do n I play them safe. You really have to feel out your opponent n how n what they play. Once I get a feel of the table that’s when I start playing good n I feel like I have control of the table
 
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