Texas Holdem Pairs

Second Pair

You might come across a lot of flops of second or third pair, for example holding AT with a flop of KT4 or holding T9 with the flop JT5. In these examples, you should fold if someone bets unless the pot is big. It is likely you don't have the best card hand and you are about a 9-1 underdog to improve. Even if you do improve it may make someone else a better hand. For example, in the AT example, an Ace on the turn could make someone a straight; in the T9 example, a nine on the turn could make someone a straight.

In hold'em, it is not only important to have the best hand but also should be confident that you have the best hand. If you are nor sure enough about your hand to bet or raise with it, then you are not likely to be able to earn any extra bets those times you are best, but you will be losing extra bets those times you are not best. This fact of avoiding situations where you won't win much if you win but might lose a lot when you lose is quite common principle in Hold'em. Always remember it.

Missing the Flop with Pocket Pairs

When you play medium-sized or small-pocket pairs, you are generally going to flop a set. You should do that always. So most of the time you will be folding pocket pairs on the flop, but there a few times that pocket pairs might be played past the flop. The time to play is when you have an overpair to the flop, when your pocket pair is higher than any card on the flop. That happens sometimes with almost small pairs like 7s but the smaller the pocket pair, the more likely the flop contains straight danger if your pair is an overpair to the flop.

Another situation where you might call a bet on the flop with an under pair is if the pot is large. An example is if you hold 44 and the flop is 983.

If the card on the turn is 4, you possibly will have the best hand, but the odds of this happening are little above 22-1. If you do get lucky and spike a 4 on the turn, then you might win few extra bets. Therefore, you need to be getting about 20-1 pot odds to make a call with this hand. If the pot is smaller than that and it generally is, then a call is not worth it.

There are also two other things which you should consider before making this call. It is important that one of your 4s be of the same suit as any flush draw on the board (in this case the 4). This is because you don't want to be in a position where the card that makes you three 4s also makes someone else a flush.

It is important that you are certain that no one is going to raise. A raise would get you in trouble. If there are still many online poker players to act behind you, then this call is not good enough.

The other situation where you might want to play a small pocket pair past the flop is when the flop has a pair. For example, you might have 44 with the flop of 883.

Only do this if the pair on the board is a middle-sized rank or smaller, decreasing the chances that another player has a card of that rank and if the odd card on the board is smaller than your pair. In the above example, your two pair of 8s and 4s will beat two pair of 8s and 3s of a rival. You shouldn't always call in this place but you should often consider calling. Sometimes you should consider raising.

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