The Quick Guide to Playing Small Pairs

It can be tricky when your dealt a small pair pre-flop in Texas Holdem. By small pair I mean from pocket 2s up to pocket 6s. These aren't easy cards to fold but if you don't hit a set on the flop, they're very difficult to win with.

Here's a guide to maximising your pre-flop small pairs and I've found this is a decent strategy when playing Texas Holdem poker to maximise the potential of the cards whilst retaining a folding strategy to minimise any losses that small pairs can invariably lead to.

Fold pre-flop when there are more than 5 players left to act in the betting round. This includes the small and big blinds.

If you have less than 30 times the big blind left in your chip stack, fold. The odds aren't in your favour enough to play and put yourself short-stacked.

If you're in the last 3 positions, nobody has raised the pot and have less than 10 times the big blind value left to play with then you should go all in.

If you have more than 30 times the big blind then you shouldn't be putting in large raises. Depending on the players round the table, ie., if they're fairly loose, you may find a small raise in order but really in this case you should be trying to get to the flop for a little cost as possible and keeping as many players in the pot as possible. If you hit a set on the flop then you can maximise the pots value, if not, fold.

Remember, with a small pair, you have to hit a set on the flop or the odds are firmly stacked against you and folding is order of the day. However, if you make a set on the flop, don't slow play the betting round. Probably betting the value of the pot is about right. Slow playing at this stage will give you a smaller pot and will keep more players in the hand who will be trying to better your hand.

As with all Texas Holdem strategies, you must also take into account the players at the table. Hitting the set on the flop with a low pair might be ok but if the rock on the table is suddenly betting big, you'd better weight up what they might have and what you choices are in order to keep your chips!

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