Playing Pocket Pairs in Online Poker


Ok, so you’re playing Texas Hold’em and you’re not playing it poorly. You have a look at your next hand and find you’ve got a small to medium pair. How strong are your pocket pairs? 

Let’s take for example a starting hand of a pocket pair of eights. Most people’s reaction to getting these pocket cards would be happy. But if you look at it logically with an isolated emotional eye, this actually isn’t such a good hand after all. 

Statistically, out of all winning hands in Texas Hold’em poker, a pair wins roughly about 55% of the time. A high card wins about 45% of the time. A pair of eights without improving by getting a set on the flop, turn or river will only beat a high card or a lower pair. The lower down the pair scale you go, the worse it gets. 

The drawbacks of holding pocket eights are that the only card that can perk up your hand is another eight. While your challengers may have two over cards, which could end up pairing the board for them. And make them be ahead of your eights. Also they could have a flush or straight draw possibility. And with your pair this means you cannot unless you get very lucky. 

So what is the best way to play poker with pocket pairs? 

Playing Pocket Pairs – The Strategies 

There are two different strategies you can use with a medium to low pocket pair. The first is to raise the pot and try and force most of your challengers out of the hand. The less competition you have going into the flop the better and if you manage to get rid of all the challengers but one the better chance you have of winning the hand and taking down the pot in the online poker game. 

Normally this only works in late position. If you raise in early position and get re-raised or get two or three callers. You could be in a lot of trouble and your middle pair is unlikely to come out on top. 

The second strategy is probably the best way to play middle to small pocket pairs. What you do is to try and limp in and hope to hit a set (3 of a kind) on the flop. 

Hitting three eights is a very strong hand and it offers the option of slow playing if the situations are right, i.e. if the pot has been raised by someone else. The great thing about this hand is that it’s disguised, you challengers are unlikely to put you on triples and there is even a possibility of a pair on the board, which will give you an almost invincible full house. 

So the conclusion is to step carefully with your small and medium pocket pairs. Keep in mind the lower the pair the less chance it has of holding up and winning you the hand and remember always be ready to fold your pair if needed. 

Have a happy poker time!