Poker Strategy - Playing Small Pairs

A lot of players often see what they want to see when playing with cards and it usually results in players that may be a little more conservative than they need be.  A huge difference for players that are experienced and those that may be lacking is the cards that they perceive as good cards.  Extremely new players often only want to play when they have only the best cards and usually that means face cards Jack through Ace.  However this completely removes those combinations of cards that can win big a lot of the time; like suited cards for flushes and low connectors for straights and perhaps the most neglected and hardest to play properly the low pairs. 

For a lot of players low pairs are anything below a pair of nines, some say seven but nine is a more common standard.  Most players will find it very hard to play these cards and against some opponents and in some situations it may not be safe or smart to play them.  There is however a sever amount of money that can be lost out on if a poker player completely writes off small pairs and never plays them.  In a lot of situations it can be argued that if dealt pocket pairs it is almost irresponsible to not go in and at least see the flop.  There is always that chance your opponent will not hit what he needs and there is also that chance you will hit a third and have trips.  Certainly the first is most likely than the second but low trips is a great chance to usually make a significant money if someone else is playing what they think may be a solid hand of pairs.  Basically what it comes down is to if you can rationalize going into the flop.  If you are playing a high stakes game then perhaps you can not rationalize the call but in a lot of normal poker cash table top games it isn’t that ridiculous to call and see and that can pay off well.

Playing small pairs is probably for the average player going to be not that hard to play comfortably in table top poker games but those same players may find it hard to allow themselves to play them in poker tournaments.  In tournaments playing low pairs really shouldn’t have any more fear associated with it than table top games; but for most players it is simply the way they feel.  In response to this fear a player can play low pairs only in middle or late positions depending on how comfortable they feel playing small pairs or even just how the table’s attitude is.  This will allow players to shy away from playing their small pairs if the table seems to be representing good hands and may help save them from those larger buy ins.

However a player decides to play small pairs they should recognize them as viable cards and very playable in tournaments and in poker cash games.  Players should learn to see small pairs as playable cards and not fear the repercussions of using them as long as they play them with some thought.

Written by Christine Davies

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