Down the set mine

often, you’ll miss your set on the flop, but only have to pay a min raise to get a shot at hitting the set on the turn. then, another min raise gets you a shot at the river.

is this wise?

granted, the odds drop off when you’re only seeing one card, instead of three, and you have less streets to work with, when you do hit, but sets rarely get cracked, and are hard to spot. If the board pairs, and you get someone betting trips, it can be a game changer. (talking tournaments)

Is it as simple as stick on a dry board, bail on a wet board?

Generally, yes. Min bets you can call with almost any pair. If the board texture is really against you, then you can maybe fold pocket pairs. But you can also raise, if you want to, and see what your opponent really has. Min bets are weak looking, and sometimes they are, other times that’s what your opponent wants you to think.

In all my year of playing holdem, I’ve only lost to a bigger set, once*. The board had paired, and I was sure he had trips. lot of chips went marching that hand, never to return.

*that i remember.

When one player has trips, and another player has a set, the player with the set has a boat, and beats the trips.

It’s actually kinda fun, isn’t it. the trick is not tipping em off.

With top trips, they often don’t see it coming. Sets are well hidden and this makes them powerful. Particularly with lower-ranked sets, where a player who hits a high top pair is often confident that they have the best hand, and wants to close the hand without a showdown before draws can catch up and overtake them.

Definitely consider the board texture and your hole cards.

Pocket pairs do have some showdown value on some river boards if against 1 or 2 players. Hero can beat missed draws or missed AK, AT etc.

Generally in MTTs ill try n see a cheap flop with pocket pairs & if I miss I fold. If I call ill consider whether or not I can bluff at some point or if I need to bluff and if I can get to showdown and if my hand has any showdown value. In MTTs I tend to play very tight. A min raise in a MTT can still be for a large chunk of your stack & very costly. In ring ill play more loose.

On a flop suited with a flush draw & paired say: 7c7hQc I would prefer not to have a club pocket pair. Example: 4h4d or 4h4s or 4d4s is best because if the turn or river is 4c then there is a chance someone hits a flush. This means your full house has a better chance of getting paid by someone with a flush as well as possibly trip 777 or a Q.

With the same above flop I would be more inclined to fold holding 4c4o

Similarly say the flop is 7cAh9c holding the 4c of clubs is safer than not holding it. Say that we have either 4h4d or 4s4d or 4h4s and the turn or river is 4c. Now you have a set of 444 a great hand but there is the possibility that Villain has a flush too. This could be disastrous for your MTT. Can you fold a set because your possibly up against a flush? Its better to avoid setting your self up for failure & fold the flop and avoid the pain.

Also I would seriously consider folding or maybe bluffing some dangerous straight boards. I don’t bluff much in MTTs though.

99 is fairly strong on a flop of Tc8h7s OR 66 on 7c5h4s

Holding 99 & 66 on the above respective boards I would deff draw cheaply or raise. Both hands can have good showdown value & block Villains possible straight draws


There’s quite a few factors to consider when calling with a low pocket pair.

Were you the pre-flop raiser, or the pre-flop caller?

Are you in position, or out of position?

However, trying to hit a set is rarely going to be one of them.

The main things you need to consider are:

  1. What is the bet size as a proportion of the pot?

You’ve mentioned min raise in your example. i.e. 1BB. But is it 1BB into a 2BB pot, or 1BB into a 10BB pot? That makes a massive difference. If your opponent is betting 1BB to win 2BB, you need to defend at least 2/3rds (66.7%) or the time, otherwise they are profiting simply by making you fold. If it’s 1BB into 10BB you need to defend 10/11ths (90.9%) of your hands.

  1. Where does your pocket pair lie in your range?

If you have called pre-flop with 22, and your opponent C-bets into you on a flop of AKT, you’re going to have to fold all but the tiniest of bets because it is so far down in your range. You’d obviously rather call with any random Kx or Tx hand.

If you raised pre-flop with 66, then checked the flop and are now facing a bet on a board of T53, you’re going to have to call that. 2nd pair is a reasonable hand. So even in a 1BB into 2BB situation, it’s going to be in your defence range (top 66.7% of the hands you could have in the situation).

I these situations it’s important to note that you’re calling for the intrinsic showdown value of your hand compared to the pot odds. You’re not calling on the off chance that you might hit a set.

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Tks for the comments. Lots of insights.

Now that you mention it, I do see a lot of OESDs with pocket pairs. At that point, turning the set puts the the board four to a straight, and hard to call any decent sized bet. Depending on how many hands are still in, I gotta think about folding the set.

This touches on a huge hole in my game.
Even after a year and a half, playing holdem, I still struggle to put pot odds at the forefront of things i consider, when making a call. Since the math doesn’t come as quickly, these days, I try to develop, instincts from teaching based on the math.
In the example, as sweet as it would be to hit the deuce, and beat his As and Ks, I know calling the raise I’d most likely see is gonna lose me a LOT more than it wins.

Agreed. I wish I were better at determining both. I know I picked up the term, set mining, somewhere, tho. I’m off to visit Mr. Google.

Jonathan Little (YouTube) specifically mentioned how to play low pairs in MTTs 2 a few days ago. Its free content that can help build & improve your poker skills. He talks more in-depth with an emphasis on an overall strategy not just these ridiculous RP scenarios we regularly find ourselves in.

Ridiculous RP Scenarios: Hand 653715333
I played this hand recently in a 9MAX SnG. I have 66 in the lojack mid position. Its the very first hand so I have no information on the players. I min raise to 2BB & Highjack calls & the small blind blind raises to 3BB, and the big blind calls…

With four to the flop I’m looking to flop a set or give up & fold. Flop comes & I miss SB bets 1BB & the big blind calls & I call with some showdown value. I can get lucky & I do have a very small amount of showdown value.

On the flop with 4 players looking to see the turn realistically 66 should have nearly ZERO showdown value, but its a different story on RP. Small blind bets the turn & BB folds. I call & we all check down the river 3 way with 66 being the best hand.

The board was reasonable to try & defend with 66. I know nothing about the players so I’m never looking to bluff with this hand. I got pretty darn lucky against bad play.