How to Play Pocket Pairs

Pocket Pair Poker Strategy

Pairs are always good hole cards, but you should play them wisely. Everyone loves to see a pair in the hole. One of the most anticipated pocket pairs are the pocket Aces which tend to cause amateurs to bet the whole farm thinking they cannot loose. If you do not comprehend anything else in this guide, comprehend this, pocket Aces are not always a winner. Yes, they are indeed the best starting hand you can theoretically be dealt, but I have seen way too many players lose all of their chips with the "all-in" pocket Aces.

Having said that, let’s start with the idea of "slow playing" your pocket Aces. There are a few things that you should consider before doing so. If you choose to slow play the Aces you should be at a table that has players who are unlikely to call a pre-flop raise from an early position, very loose players, or one or more players who are frequently stealing the blinds. Keep in mind that slow playing with any hand should not become a dominating strategy but rather a technique used sparingly. Now suppose that you come out strong with your betting and you get multiple callers or even a raise. If it comes to the turn or river card and you do not improve your hand you should typically lay down. More often than not, you will lose a substantial amount of chips – especially if there is a possible straight or flush hand showing on the board. Remember, it is better to save your stack and live to play another hand than to foolishly take chances.

Other pocket pairs such as the Deuce/Deuce is not as strong as many would think at ANY point during the game. I would recommend never holding this small pair (unless you are a blind and can check through to the next card). All it takes is someone holding a single Three card and then seeing another Three show up on the flop or turn to win the hand. In general, the Five to Nine pair are usually not good pocket pairs to bet on – but can be a good hand to see the flop on if the betting is not beyond your comfort level or if you are a blind and have the option to check. If you don’t hit at least three of a kind on the flop, it is best not to hold these low pairs unless you can continue to check the hand. The best advice I can give for playing pocket pairs on the Internet is to watch which pairs have recently won, and which ones have recently lost. Keep a mental record of the wins verses losses. I say this for the simple fact that if King/King in the hole has won three times during the tournament, odds become favorable that they will not win the fourth time before at least one bad beat. This one observation alone can save you a lot of money – especially in large multiplayer tournaments. Many online casinos state that they use random number generators when dealing or determining cards (I’m not saying they don’t) but after countless hours of real game time, one will begin to wonder just how random anything can be.

Always be aware that when any pair is showing on the board, a full house is possible. A full house Threes full of Twos will beat Ace/Ace or trip Aces every time. Whenever you see someone betting hard on board pairs, you should at the very least be holding an Ace or King with the pair, and it is recommended not to play against a high wager unless you already have trips with the possibility of hitting the full boat yourself.


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