Sets are my favourite type of poker hand. They are the easy hands to play and also one of the most profitable. For the most part all you have to do is bet and raise with them and try to get as much money into the pot as possible. Simple!
Set Mining is a poker term used for calling a raise preflop with a pocket pair to try and hit a set on the flop and win a large pot from your opponents. There are various considerations one needs to make before calling a preflop raise or preflop re-raise. I will outline them in the following article.
You need to be aware that with any pocket pair going to the flop, the odds of flopping a set are roughly 7.5/1. IE for every 7 and a half times you call a raise preflop, you are going to make a set one of those times. And even when you make a set, you will most likely have a very strong hand but its no guarantee you will win the pot or win a large pot from your opponent. So because you so rarely flop a set, you need to have something called implied odds.
Implied odds are a fictitious value poker players try to figure out. People talk about having implied odds or not having implied odds. When you have implied odds its like saying, “I had odds to draw at my hand because I would have got paid off huge when I hit it.” Or, when you don’t have implied odds its like saying, “I folded my hand because I didn’t have the implied odds to get paid when I hit my draw.”
Your implied odds are a combination of how strong your opponents hand range is. IE how likely will you get paid when you hit your hand and how much money is left behind for postflop.
If your opponents hand range has many marginal hands in it, your opponent will not have a strong hand very often and will fold a lot to your bets and raises when you make a set. Therefore, when set mining its more beneficial that your opponent has a strong hand range which will pay you off when you make your set.
The other big variable in figuring out your implied odds is, how much money is left behind for postflop. The more money there is left behind for postflop, the less often you have to stack your opponent for it to be profitable. For example, if your opponent has 75 big blinds one hand, and 150 big blinds another hand, assuming the spot is exactly the same, you only have to stack your opponent half as many times playing 150 big blinds deep compared to playing 75 big blinds deep. In layman’s terms, the more money left behind for postflop, the more profitable it will be to set mine.
Other factors that influence your implied odds include:
Your image: The looser and more bluffy your image, the less implied odds you need to profitably set mine. This is because when you hit your hand, your much more likely to get paid off than a tight, nitty player who is less likely to bluff.
Your opponents image: Calling stations and fish will pay you off more often than solid winning players. Postflop nits and tight players will pay you off least often, especially if you have a tight image yourself. The less likely your opponent are to believe your bets and raises, the more profitable it will be for you to set mine.
Your position: Position makes all hands more profitable. The reason why making sets in position is more profitable is because you know that at least one bet will go in on every street if you want. When out of position and you flop a set, you will usually want to go for the check raise, if your opponent elects to check behind in position, the chances of you winning a huge pot greatly diminishes.
Your opponents range: As previously talked about. The wider your opponents range the worse it is to set mine. Ideally you want your opponent to have a strong range so that they will fold to your bets and raises less often.
As you can tell by now, very few things in poker is black and white and the answer, “It depends”, will be thrown up a lot. That being said I have outlined the following guidelines for the implied odds you need in order to profitably set mine.
What I mean by this is, if you raise to $3 preflop, and your opponent 3-bets to $10. To absolutely call profitably in any situation you need 20x$7=$140 left behind to make the call preflop. If you can pin point your opponents range to being tight and will pay you off very often when you make a set, you can reduce this amount to maybe 15-1 IE $105 left behind. Remember, everything is in a flux and is dependent on the factors mentioned above in this article.
Again, it depends on a whole lot of factors. If the pot is multi-way you need to make a set less often for it to be profitable. If your opponent is tight preflop, they will have a stronger hand range and you will probably get paid off more often, if your opponent is a fish or a calling station, you will get paid off more often. Ideally I wouldn’t try to set mine if my opponent has less than 75 big blinds but there are certain occasions, for example against a poor opponent, when its perfectly acceptable.