Playing the Small Pair, Mid-Stages MTT

The Shrog

The Shrog

Cardschat Elite
Dec 5, 2007
Total posts
I feel like playing small pocket pairs is one of the biggest leaks in my game. I almost always play them to set-mine. I've also just heard the rule of 50...where limping with them is fine as long the bb is 1/50 of your stack. Here are two scenarios:

full tilt poker Game #6682202927: $16,000 Guarantee (50077122), Table 12 - 100/200 - No Limit Hold'em - 19:30:22 ET - 2008/06/03
Seat 1: Honeyboney (7,910)
Seat 2: tehmaulwurf (6,660)
Seat 3: Fresh Flush (8,911)
Seat 4: bdubs12 (4,925)
Seat 5: gremista64 (9,840)
Seat 6: shalomRSA (16,120)
Seat 7: hearttaker (23,355)
Seat 8: The Shrog (9,320)
Seat 9: RVM1 (5,670)
Honeyboney posts the small blind of 100
tehmaulwurf posts the big blind of 200
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to The Shrog [4d 4s]
Fresh Flush has 15 seconds left to act
Fresh Flush folds
bdubs12 folds
gremista64 folds
shalomRSA raises to 600
hearttaker folds
The Shrog ?

Full Tilt poker game #6682125056: $16,000 Guarantee (50077122), Table 12 - 80/160 - No Limit Hold'em - 19:24:07 ET - 2008/06/03
Seat 1: Honeyboney (8,110)
Seat 2: tehmaulwurf (5,660)
Seat 3: Fresh Flush (8,911)
Seat 4: bdubs12 (5,345)
Seat 5: gremista64 (10,215)
Seat 6: shalomRSA (15,320)
Seat 7: Youngcane (1,125)
Seat 8: The Shrog (8,700)
Seat 9: RVM1 (5,970)
bdubs12 posts the small blind of 80
gremista64 posts the big blind of 160
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to The Shrog [6d 6s]
shalomRSA folds
Youngcane folds
Honeyboney has been disconnected
The Shrog has 15 seconds left to act
Honeyboney has reconnected
The Shrog ?

An input/reasoning would be great.


Mar 22, 2005
Total posts
Hand 1: Fold. Playing a small pair heads-up against a PF raiser is not what we want to do. Depending on reads, you could re-raise this in certain situations and take it down PF.

Hand 2: This decision is based on the feel of the table. Sometimes I like a limp if I feel I'm getting people to follow me in, but other times I like to show some strength with the open raise.


Rock Star
Apr 16, 2008
Total posts
Humm, some sort of read, and/or betting styles should be part of this equation.

Announced makes some good points, btw. The book claims to play small/middle prs for cheap and hope to flop a set, and get paid, blah, blah, blah..

Hand 1. Fold is good, but, I would call here, you in CO, and hope there is no reraise. Hope for another caller or 2. Wait.... Ok, the blinds are decently stacked. Fold to a reraise, no reason to get stupid here. That would actually be seeing a semi-cheap flop, which occasionally could be a killer flop for you. Miss the flop, see what happens in position.

Hand 2. I think this is the trickery play, but wait.... Ok, the SS has already folded. Personally, I make standard raise, find out some info, go from there. You can limp, but, if you do, you have to call a min/standard raise. If you can't do that, just fold.

This isn't easy, but if you want to set-mine(as you call it), you need to realize you are only gonna flop a set every 20 or so hands, and make one by showdown, methinks 12% of the time. Meaning, if you don't see a flop with small/middle prs, you are decreasing you set odds. Not that sets are all that and a bag of chips, but they can be killers, or crushers. But, you need to give a little action, to get some action.


Stacks & Stacks
Feb 7, 2008
Total posts
Hand 1, fold, I want a few more callers and unless you have a read that says those behind will call if you call, you don't want to play HU against a raiser.

Hand 2, make standard raise. You don't want to call/call here as that narrows your hand range and if you would call a 4xBB raise (assuming LP player raises 3xBB + 1BB for you limping) why not raise it yourself.


Mar 31, 2008
Total posts
Hand 1 I fold, stacks arent high enough to set mine on a raise. Harrington suggests at least 20 times the amount of chips to mine. While you will hit on the flop about 1 out of 8 (not 1 out of 20?) many other things need to go right for you to stack so 1/20 seems about right. There is also the chance of winning without the set but unless you are looking to get tricky that probably wont happen against a big stack cheaply and 44 isnt really a hand you want to be too tricky with at this point.

Hand 2 I probably fold. You will be out of position if you even get to the flop, too many people behind you to act. If the table is very tight, then a raise can be mixed in.


Apr 6, 2008
Total posts
Hand 1: I fold, because there is not going to be enough opportunity for action without others in the hand. If all others fold your looking at a pot of 1400 and you need to make 4800 to make it a profitable play. Even if you hit a set and Shalom fires a nice CB of 1400, your still along ways from 4800. If you slow play your set, and villain bets the pot again your up to 5600. But, you really need over the 1:8 or 4800 to make it profitable longterm. So if the moons and the stars align, you hit your set and villain makes two huge bets, and villain doesn't actually beat you by hitting a flush or whatever, then your good. It's just not worth it.

Hand 2: I'm minraising and dumping to a reraise. I'm assuming an average table, not overly aggressive. I minraise because I have 66 and I either want multi-way action or I want position. I find limping makes it way too easy for the late positions to make a move with lesser hands, bumping to 4-5xBB with KTs just to play position. Minraising slows most people down and you get calls or folds. Not very many reraises except at aggressive tables.


Rock Star
Jan 21, 2008
Total posts
Hand 1: Fold. You'll probably end up HU, and unless you hit a miracle flop (you hit set, plus he also hits) you're unlikely to get action. Of course, it's most likely you'll miss. In a multiway pot we're happier to call because when we do hit our set there's more chance of someone hitting something on the flop that they're willing to call you with.

Hand 2: Fold or Raise. Calling in EP/MP then calling a raise makes it quite easy to put you on a PP, which makes it harder to get action when you hit a set. Calling in LP is fine as you now might be calling for pot odds or position, making it harder to put you on a PP. A standard raise is ok, but I'm not a fan because if you miss you'll be most likely out of position. A cbet might take it down but if it doesn't then you've invested a lot with little chance of winning.