Small pocket pairs are a range of hands that include pairs from 22 to 66, the rest of the pocket pairs will already be considered medium or high. A small pocket pair preflop will be ahead of most of all starting hands except for higher pocket pairs. Well, let’s find out why it is important to play small pocket pairs correctly.
Potential Pot Odds and Sets
If our opponent has a short stack, then our potential pot odds will drop significantly, since your potential winnings in this case will be much lower when we hit the set. Conversely, if your opponents have deep stacks, then you will have huge potential to set odds.
The shorter our opponent’s stack, the lower our potential odds. The deeper your opponent’s stack, the better our potential odds. This means that you have to create favourable conditions for yourselves even preflop. If the opponent has a short stack, you should avoid calling big raises and try to enter the pot as cheaply as possible, or not enter it at all. Whereas deep effective stacks allow calling slightly larger preflop raises.
Set Strategy and Small Pocket Pairs
It is the potential pot odds that make small pocket pairs profitable. There are such features of their drawing:
- Playing against opponents with deep stacks. The deeper your opponent’s stack, the better. This is because you do not expect to get into a set very often, but if you get into it, then we want to receive a decent payment for it. If our opponent has a short stack, then the reward that you get for the set will not cover all costs for calling raises.
- Call preflop raises. The potential pot odds are very high when hitting a set, so you can afford to call slightly larger raise sizes. This may seem like a lot of money to you, but your reward for hitting a set should cover those costs.
- Advanced strategy for playing small pocket pairs. If you have strong enough post-flop play, raising pocket pairs preflop can be even more profitable for you. This will give you the initiative in the hand, which allows you to sometimes pick up additional unnecessary pots, as well as win huge ones when you hit a set.
The conventional wisdom is that only about 5% of all regular poker players generate income from the game in the long run. It’s important to use your tactics. The above-explained strategy is tied to the concept of potential pot odds. Don’t be afraid to call big preflop raises, but be prepared to lose them if you miss a set. This is a simple but very effective strategy.