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  24-Feb-15, 22:21   #1
How to play low pocket pairs? 0 
mhj07 
Joined: Feb '15
Location: Sweden
Age: 23 (M)
Posts: 24
I find it really hard to know how to play low to mid pocket pairs. For example if I have anything from 88 and down in early/mid position I usually try to raise 3bb and re-raise if someone bet in front of me. In late position I always raise if no bets in front of me, otherwise call.

Lets say I have 55 now and flop comes 4 7 J rainbow. How should I play my hand in early/mid and late position? Should I just lay it down unless I hit a set on the flop? If there are any straight/flush draws or high broadways I usually only check and fold to any bet, unless I hit a set on the flop.


So how should I play these hands in tournaments and 9-man ring games? I find it so difficult to know when I should continute betting or calling and when I should lay it down and realize my hand is beaten.

(sorry if there's a post for this already, I searched the forum without finding anything except the guide to which hands to play)

     
  24-Feb-15, 22:32   #2
  0 
RoninHarper 

Joined: Nov '12
Location: Canada
Age: 48 (M)
Posts: 4440
sorry mate i general always fold those hands preflop.
In the long run it has proven more profitable for me.
wishing you all the best.
be cool

Ronin Cool

     
  24-Feb-15, 23:06   #3
  0 
arsenej1 

Joined: Mar '09
Location: Canada
Age: 28 (M)
Posts: 3016
In early position anything 99 or lower i ussually fold. Sometimes i may call a small raise but am never the aggressor early position with those hands. I categorize them as trouble hands like q8...just really easy to lose chips and get yourself in spots u cant get out of.

     
  24-Feb-15, 23:16   #4
  0 
DirkSchering 

Joined: Oct '14
Location: Germany
Age: 26 (M)
Posts: 29
Preflop I call a raise. Fold by 3-bet. Just try to get a set. When I dont hit the flop I check/fold. When I hit value bet look if the opponent is strong, mostly play it to the showdown, or the board needs to be real hot.

In a late stage of a tournement ( with low BB, 10 or less ) I push .

     
  24-Feb-15, 23:21   #5
  0 
bowie1984 

Joined: Apr '12
Location: Hungary
Age: 32 (M)
Posts: 4685
From early to mid positions try only raise the minimum or 2.5 BB and fold if you get a reraise, from late positions you could call up to 3-4 BBs or try to steal blinds with them, they are very good for that.
Heres the thing - a lot of the times you will not be able to continue setmining with them even if you are in position after the flop come 'cuz it will be expensive too 4 you, but a lot of the times if your table is passive you could play them out with great success regardless of your position.
It's really up to your opponents range - try not to fold them too much they are valuable IMO especially in late stages of tournaments where the blinds are high and everybodys tightened up.

     
  25-Feb-15, 00:02   #6
  0 
Tony_MON7ANA 

Joined: Mar '14
Location: Japan
Age: 42 (M)
Posts: 4091
According to Mike Caro, a genius, a master of poker strategy and statistical analysis, pocket Deuces will make you miserable – 88.24% miserable in fact.

Caro has developed an index that he calls the misery index. This statistic shows you how often your hand won't improve on the flop and you'll see at least one overcard. With pocket twos, that will happen 88.24% of the time. Those are miserable odds.

Caro ranks pocket twos around 119 to 125 out of 169 hands depending on how many players are in the hand. However, that doesn't mean that Caro recommends you fold your pocket twos.

One thing pocket twos has that some higher ranking hands don't is the ability to make a set about 1 time in 8; and when you do make a set, it will be well disguised and likely to win a big pot. The strength of pocket twos is in their implied odds.

Caro recommends limping with ducks in early position in the hopes of seeing a large multi-way pot cheap. In late position, however, he advocates using your position to steal with your twos if no one is showing any aggression.

Just for the records, I hate Duck.

Edited by Tony_MON7ANA (Wednesday, February 25, 2015 @ 00:20 GMT)


     
  25-Feb-15, 00:26   #7
  0 
watoba 
Joined: May '08
Location: Germany
Age: 44 (M)
Posts: 546
When no raise you can limp.When many player's in the pot you can call a small raise,you can make good money in cashgame when you hit a set or not over cards are in the flop,versus a big raise fold.Versus only one player you got a 50:50 chance against over cards you are a few % in front.In tournaments and you are in late position you can raise or reraise to get one player in the pot.When I have a good feeling I play the pocket pair,but many times I fold it.

     
  25-Feb-15, 01:04   #8
  0 
Darkist 
Joined: Mar '14
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 43 (M)
Posts: 3
I seem to do quite well with snowmen 88 for some reason, i find lower pairs a good way to loose money, but saying that i won a monster hand with trip 2's (started with a pair) earlier but in general i play low pairs tight.

     
  25-Feb-15, 03:07   #9
  0 
TheMachineQC 

Joined: Apr '10
Location: Canada
Age: 27 (M)
Posts: 2090
In my mind there's 2 ways to play small pockets in a 9 seat ring game.

1. Set mine. That's what most people do. Try to see a flop and/or a turn for cheap and fold if you don't hit anything strong.

2. Try to squeeze as many people out of the hand as possible by raising so basically decide what is and what is not in your raising range depending on positions. If you have to play a small pocket pair post flop, you're probably better in a heads-up situation, with pot control and position. It'll make the hand easy to play in general. C-bet and if the guy calls and your hand doesn't improve, it's pretty easy to know you're beat.

Obviously I prefer option 2 as I like to be in control of the pots I decide to play. But sometimes I set mine too. Important part of NLHE is to be able to mix up your game and not being predictable. Early position though these hands are trickier because if you get called you most likely won't have position on the vilains. (except if SB or BB only call you)

Edited by TheMachineQC (Wednesday, February 25, 2015 @ 03:15 GMT)


     
  25-Feb-15, 03:24   #10
  0 
demodawggy 

Joined: Feb '12
Location: Canada
Age: 56 (M)
Posts: 5680

....I've been realizing just how easy it is to hit trips relative to other possibilities,....so what I usually do with a low pair is call any min bets,...or even a low raise,...but if I don't hit on the flop,...I won't chase things to the river. That can get very expensive, and in the long run doesn't pay off...!

JJ and less I usually just play like a mid pair,... QQ and KK i shove every time whenever and where ever,...

AA I like to slow play,...so I will start off with a substantial raise to clear off the table except for a few daring folks from whom I can make some profit...! Smile Heart Dollar Thumbs Up

     
  25-Feb-15, 12:08   #11
  0 
mhj07 
Joined: Feb '15
Location: Sweden
Age: 23 (M)
Posts: 24
Cheers guys! I think I've been valuing my low pocket pairs (22, 33, 44) too high, and I'll have to try to keep that in mind for the future.

Posted by TheMachineQC:
2. Try to squeeze as many people out of the hand as possible by raising so basically decide what is and what is not in your raising range depending on positions. If you have to play a small pocket pair post flop, you're probably better in a heads-up situation, with pot control and position. It'll make the hand easy to play in general. C-bet and if the guy calls and your hand doesn't improve, it's pretty easy to know you're beat.


Just one question regarding this. If you have pocket pairs and hit a set on the flop, wouldn't you want there to be a lot of people involved in the hand, since your hand would be well disguised compared to what the others probably have? Especially if the flop contains like an Ace or a King or a Queen.

     
  25-Feb-15, 12:29   #12
  0 
klash23 
Joined: Mar '12
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 38 (F)
Posts: 2243
I recently read a blog from someone saying at small stakes cash,if you are not an aggro player,it is profitable to limp with small to medium pairs.Some of what he wrote sounded reasonable but it did sound a very exploitable way to play.
It was on another poker forum so can't link it to here. Smile

     
  25-Feb-15, 13:00   #13
  0 
raymonvdhaak 
Joined: Jun '13
Location: Netherlands
Age: 36 (M)
Posts: 257
when i play lower pocket pair like 22 33 44 than i have to hit my 2 3 0r 4 on the flop when i dont hit it then i hope to see a free turn mostly there are morons that goes all in than i fold directly, a lot of the time i see my 2 3 or 4 on the turn Aww crap! Aww crap! Aww crap!

that is what makes me sick

so i hope my trips will come on the flop i will try to make a trap Smile



     
  25-Feb-15, 15:42   #14
  0 
StheP 

Joined: Oct '14
Location: Serbia
Age: 26 (M)
Posts: 3112
I usualy limp with small pair, and call 3BB raise preflop, and see what flop have to offer... In the situation you mentioned, as you said you have pocket fives, I would limp or call 3BB preflop, not more, and if flop comes out like you said 47J rainbow, I would act same like I got A4... If someone raise again more than 3BB I would fold, if someone raise 1BB I would call, but I would think about calling 2BB or 3BB on that flop... it depends a lot against what type of player I am playing...

     
  25-Feb-15, 17:13   #15
  0 
Heskor 
Joined: May '13
Location: Mauritius
Age: 25 (M)
Posts: 2659
Nah low pairs can make your day or break it, if you have low pairs call set mine , that is call in the hope of getting a set and then getting paid, sometimes you will be on the receiving end of a higher set but you can not play them , i do that with 22-55 i dont play them till Mp +2, play them at Mp+1 to late position and blinds, in early position you risk to get kicked by higher set by not playing them you make the odds ok for this one not happening!

     
  25-Feb-15, 17:27   #16
  0 
StS5 
Joined: Aug '14
Location: Germany
Age: 36 (M)
Posts: 766
First of all I would reconsider my preflop play with small pairs. You do not always have to raise them from middle position and definitely you should not reraise before the flop. Instead just fold them if you are getting a big raise before you.

     
  25-Feb-15, 19:55   #17
  0 
TheMachineQC 

Joined: Apr '10
Location: Canada
Age: 27 (M)
Posts: 2090
Posted by mhj07:
Cheers guys! I think I've been valuing my low pocket pairs (22, 33, 44) too high, and I'll have to try to keep that in mind for the future.

Posted by TheMachineQC:
2. Try to squeeze as many people out of the hand as possible by raising so basically decide what is and what is not in your raising range depending on positions. If you have to play a small pocket pair post flop, you're probably better in a heads-up situation, with pot control and position. It'll make the hand easy to play in general. C-bet and if the guy calls and your hand doesn't improve, it's pretty easy to know you're beat.


Just one question regarding this. If you have pocket pairs and hit a set on the flop, wouldn't you want there to be a lot of people involved in the hand, since your hand would be well disguised compared to what the others probably have? Especially if the flop contains like an Ace or a King or a Queen.


Good question! Thing is, when I raise, I'm not set mining, I'm fishing for info and hoping for folds. That means I'm probably gonna c-bet 100% of flops if I'm in position and the guy checks to me. But I'm probably gonna fold a lot to lead out bets because they're generally strong. (that's the main reason why I like being in position) Of course I want to hit my set but that only happens once every 7-8 times so I'd rather not depend on it. Also, If I get only 1 caller, the fact that it's a heads-up situation should make vilain play looser than if he was in a multi-way pot. So if he hits the flop (like top pair or better) when you hit your set, there's a good chance you're gonna double up on him or atleast get good value out of him on the flop & turn. And even if he doesn't hit when you hit your set, he could think you're bluffing with ace high and try a move with 2 overcards or draws which means more value for you.

Obviously when you hit a set it's nice to have a lot of people in the hand to get value out of (hopefully not with draws that can beat you though which will be common in multi-way pots). I'd rather be against a made hand than a draw when I got a set obviously. But most people won't play top pair very agressive in a multi way pot because it's too risky to build up the pot early in the hand. Unlike heads up Blink

Hope that answers your question!

     
  25-Feb-15, 20:01   #18
  0 
toronto_r_us 

Joined: Nov '14
Location: Canada
Age: 46 (M)
Posts: 189
Posted by Heskor:
Nah low pairs can make your day or break it, if you have low pairs call set mine , that is call in the hope of getting a set and then getting paid, sometimes you will be on the receiving end of a higher set but you can not play them , i do that with 22-55 i dont play them till Mp +2, play them at Mp+1 to late position and blinds, in early position you risk to get kicked by higher set by not playing them you make the odds ok for this one not happening!



What means Mp +1 and 2

     
  25-Feb-15, 21:21   #19
  0 
teddybears73 
Joined: Nov '11
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 59 (M)
Posts: 3175
If i get low pairs in EP i usually fold them,anywhere else i try and see the flop with them,if i hit then great (sometimes Smile ) if not then i fold to a decent sized bet,it all depends on the table you are playing, i think.. Smile

     
  25-Feb-15, 22:58   #20
  0 
mhj07 
Joined: Feb '15
Location: Sweden
Age: 23 (M)
Posts: 24
Posted by TheMachineQC:
Good question! Thing is, when I raise, I'm not set mining, I'm fishing for info and hoping for folds. That means I'm probably gonna c-bet 100% of flops if I'm in position and the guy checks to me. But I'm probably gonna fold a lot to lead out bets because they're generally strong. (that's the main reason why I like being in position) Of course I want to hit my set but that only happens once every 7-8 times so I'd rather not depend...


Awesome reply, thank you for explaining your thought process to me!

My new strategy for low-mid pocket pairs is going to be trying to see a cheap flop and only continue playing the hand if I hit a set or if the flop is complete shite and there only are a few other players involved in the hand besides myself.

Again, thank you for taking your time and answering my questions! Smile

     
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