This is a discussion on How to play pocket pairs?! within the online poker forums, in the Tournament Poker section; Hey guys, I was having doubts about the best way to play low and mid pocket pairs. What strategy do you use? Limp to hit
It's tempting to open limp to get a cheap multiway pot. But what if I get a raise? So I rarely open limp and only on very passive tables. I'm more likely to do so when others have limped in front of me. Raising sometimes wins blinds as well.
I would advise against limping. If you are going to play them it is better to just raise to a standard amount and play accordingly. Position and chip stack should dictate a lot of when you play them vs not and also the players left to act. For low pocket pairs 55 down I would suggest that you only play them when you are deep stacked and at a table where there is not a lot of 3 betting. Exception would be when you are short and use them as a jam hand.
66-88 can be played a little looser but still have to tread lightly with them. You dont want to get 3 bet with them and they will still be hard to play post due to the amount of overcards that can and will come. For both low and mid pocket pairs there is a stack depth (17-28BB) that I usually do not play them. This is because your implied odds are reduced since stacks are shorter and you are at a depth that you dont want to be getting into hands and having to fold post too often.
Limping is bad. You can use this (open limp) at some very low levels, let's say $3 and below. Early postions, 70bb+ stacks. You can over limp, but not open limp. Also playing always pocket pairs is a mistake, you can fold sometime.
I love medium pocket pairs) it's a great chance to play soft, but there are great chances to get a pair or collect a straight) They are also not bad for bluffing, under the straight, but be careful, not every player is ready to throw out the top pair if they got it on the flop)
About low pocket pairs, limping sounds a good decision, but it really depends how the others have played the hand until you. I don't like to limp, but in cases when there are a lot of limpers, if I am with low pocket pair I will limp too, because if I hit a set on the flop, someone will hit something else, too from the flop because of the lot of limpers and it is a fantastic way to steal their chips. I love to play low pocket pairs, because the decisions are not difficult. If you hit something on the flop, you know that your hand is very strong. If you don't hit it in most situations is an easy fold.
About middle pocket pairs, it is good the make a good raise and to see after that what will happen. But again, it really depends on the blinds, players stack and your current stack at the moment. If your stack is solid, you can start with good raise and if many people have called you, it is best to check on the flop if you do not hit a set or there are a high cards, straight draws,flush draws on the flop. Sometimes, it is the best to go all-in with middle pocket pairs.