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pocket pairs in hold'em - sets vs. PFR or field?

reedmylipsreedmylips Posts: 1,146Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
Good evening,

As I replied to SanHouser's thread about 15/25/35, I started reflecting (unscientifically, mind you) about my experience with pocket pairs and set mining. Bart preaches rules about the required implied odds, and how pocket pairs, and all implied odds-type hands should be compared against the PFR, not field players. However, in my game, usually pots are multi-way, even if raised, and it seems like I'm going to more often realize my equity from a flopped set against a field player, rather than the PFR.

A simple example like what Bart preaches would be:

$2/$5, $500 effective, UTG+1 raises to $15 with KK, folds to hero in CO who calls with 55, everyone else folds. Heads up, pot is $32. Flop T52hh, villain c-bets to $25, hero raises to $75, villain re-raises to $225, hero shoves, villain snaps and gets felted. Hero gets implied odds from villain who thinks KK is the nutz on a T-high board.

However, a more typical scenario in my games would be:

$2/$5, $500 effective, UTG+1 raises to $15 with whatever (broadway cards, premium hands, medium pocket pairs, a suited A), two callers, hero in CO calls with 55, button and BB call, pot is 6 ways, $87. Flop comes T52hh, PFR checks, callers check, I bet $55, button folds, BB calls with flush draw (donkey), PFR folds, caller in the middle calls with a T (another donkey). Pot is $197. Turn is offsuit 3. Field player checks, I bet $125, BB calls, field player calls. Pot is $572. River is an offsuit K, field player checks, hero bets $225, BB mucks, field better hems and haws and either calls or folds.

In my games, sets don't usually pay me off in heads-up pots vs. the PFR. They usually pay me off in multi-way pots with other donkeys that are chasing their draws or hit top pair.

Is this how it is in your games? Am I just playing in super donkey games? Are most pots in your world at the $5 blind or lower levels heads up vs. a PFR? They aren't in my games - I have many gambol gambol types in my games, loosey-goosey, pay-off wizards. Laugh

Please comment, agree, disagree, etc. Cheers!Cool


  • Obviously, this situation always depends. The point that I make in my material, however, is that the chances that you are going to win a large pot vs a field cold caller when you flop a set or two pair plus hand is slim. We shouldn't throw out the fundamentals of the preflop math rules just because we have a couple of bad players in between. In the end we are still trying to stack a strong range from the pf raiser.

  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    I have actually been playing rather tight oop and have been folding small pocket pairs and especially suited connectors. against almost any lp raiser unless they are very very tight.. I am finding playing out of position even with a pair still doesnt really get you much. And since I am playing games where the avg stack is shorter I have less implied odds to win.

    One thing I have been doing much much better is when the pf raiser is someone a big more laggy.. I have been doing a better job of letting them barrel when I flop a big hand on a wet board.. these players see everyone else in the player pool fast play on wet boards so I now fast play on drier boards and slowdown on wet boards.. They can't help themselves keep betting because they think I am on a draw when I sitting with the nuts..

    It does take some stomach because some not so good turn and river cards can come but with my tight image its a great way to get a more aggressive player to keep putting money in the pot! Another option..

  • TomBayes Posts: 81Subscriber
    I think my games are similar to Reed's. I play in the midwest & South and my games are full of "good ole' boys" thatc an't fold draws, no matter how poor of a price they are being offered. Sometimes in the afternoon if the game is mostly tight OMC types, most pots are HU, but on weekend evenings it's very rare to see pots get HU before the flop without substantial action (i.e. a 3- or 4-bet). Almost no one in my player pool folds to a 3-bet pre-flop if they came in for a raise, no matter how thin their initial raise was. I think lots of players actually like to call players they perceive as "nits", as they think they'll stack us if they outflop AA/KK. Very few players 3-bet light, and those that do are gamblers that don't like to fold. Bart's "bet-fold" line is not a part of the typical player's arsenal. I've been mocked for using it-"IF YOU CANT STAND A RAISE, WHY'D YOU BET?".

    So I lean towards being liberal with the 15/25/35 guideline, especially for pocket pairs/suited aces/suited broadway type of hands. I'm not as fond of smaller suited connectors.
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