How To Play Your Low Pocket Pairs

Alex | April 12, 2010

One of the hardest concepts to grasp while you are on an all out attack on the poker scene is how you should consider playing low or small pocket pairs, obviously they carry some strength but although they have strength in them, a player with over cards would not be too frightened to see them.

Small and low pocket pair strategy can be hard to master, allowing the fact that you have a pocket pair over rule your head and how you think is best to play the hand.

So many players think that with low pocket pairs, they should be looking to raise the pot in order to scare opponents out of the hand and to take the pot down early but should you get a caller, you can be pretty sure that you’re heading into a hand where you’re likely to be behind if the whole five community cards are seen.

The best strategy that you could exercise would be to limp into a hand, allowing other players to set the pace of the pre flop betting.

You simply call the bet, unless it is an all in, seeing the flop as cheaply as you possibly can.

Now that the bets are equal and there are a number of players simply watching this hand, you need to hope that you catch a card on the flop to further increase the strength of your hand, without that you run the risk of being behind to any player that is holding an over card that is displayed on the board.

If you find that you miss on the flop and the three cards placed onto the community board are of a higher value to the ones that you are currently holding, you need to be very willing to fold to any bet that is placed, failure to have that self control could well see you heading into a large pot with a hand that should have been folded at the round of betting that followed the flop, increasing the number of chips that you have lost in the process.

Reality is, pocket pairs are only considered to be playable if they meet the standard required to be within the premium poker starter hands that so many plays stand by and execute so firmly.

A player should always be aware of the risk that they are taking when they are playing low or small pocket pairs and be willing to fold their cards after the flop has been shown if they were to miss the cards that would empower their hand further.

That being said, should you hit a card on the flop you would be instantly find yourself heading into the lead of the hand, with a hand value that would be so hard for even an experienced poker player to decipher and escape from.

Being in this situation would be profitable for a player should they keep their thoughts about them and let others continue to play the game, allowing someone to make a top pair would further increase your pot value potential, as would a player who was to make two pair.

A player who is able to look into their hand and see that they have made two pair from the cards within their hand, not due to a pair on the community board, is very likely to be willing to bet their entire stack into the pot, play your hand right and you could see a handsome return.

So what tips can we offer you when you’re faced with how to play those low or small pocket pairs?

1. Simply call pre flop

  • Betting into a pot at this stage will increase your chances of losing a higher number of chips than you needed to, after all damage limitation is key within smaller hands.

2. If you miss on the flop its time to fold to any bet

  • If you are unable to increase the strength of your hand on the flop, meaning that you create a set or three of a kind, you need to stop your betting and simply try to see the next cards for free.
  • If a player bets into the pot after you failed to increase your hand, they have you beaten, simple.

3. If you hit your set on the flop, you open the betting where possible

  • You need to be willing to make the first move in this situation as allowing a player the possibility to see another card for free could well reverse the outcome of the hand, so running the risk of check-raising and opponent is simply not the best form of play here as they might not choose to bet and simply check the hand.

The 3 rules that have been outlined above are easy to remember and will guide you through the times that you’re in a low or small pocket pair hand situation, remember those and you will be able to either avoid getting into a hand too far or increase the potential winning value of a hand that you’re holding.