Small Pairs Pre Flop
Small pocket pairs may not seem like much, but do not be fooled, they can win the pot more than once before you know it. We are not saying to play the small pocket pairs all the time however, but we are saying they have potential depending on the situation. Keep reading while we cover some simple basics on small pocket pairs, such as when to play them. For reference, we consider small pocket pairs from 2-2 to 6-6; anything else is middle to high pairs.
There is a general rule or strategy (however you wish to call it) that we recommend following: If you are a beginner holding a pair of 6 or lower and do not make a ‘set’ on the ‘flop’, then fold.
A set is formed with a pocket pair plus a card of the same rank number on the table (as a community card).
However, more experienced players might actually keep playing or ‘bluffing’ as if it were a strong pair, which is what others will most likely think, especially if you have kept a slow game throughout.
Experienced players might also be able to keep a better poker face (for offline), or at least might be able to read their opponents better, which comes with time and practice.
If you have noticed your opponents playing a tight game (or in other words their chips are covered with dust) and they raise pre-flop, then odds are they have a good hand, and not worth calling.
These slow ‘call-stations’ are a good opportunity to play your small pocket pairs though, as they do not tend to raise pre-flop, making it a cheap risk to chip-in for the flop. Playing these hands should allow you to learn more about your opponents’ play, and allow you to mix-up your game from time to time.
Aggressive players and aggressive games on the other hand, are not worth continuing for beginners, as it would require a great deal of chip investment to see the flop. It is best to wait for a stronger starting hand.
In terms of a more physical positioning on the table, being closer to the beginning of the betting round (closer to the left of the button but not in the blinds) leaves you with a disadvantage, and you should fold, as you do not have enough information from your opponents to invest chips for the flop. The best position is basically closer to the end of the betting round, as you will be able to know how much you will need to call; moreover, you will see if players will raise pre-flop and see how aggressive they are playing. You should be quite familiar with your opponents’ game by now though.
Reviewing the above, small pocket pairs are basically played for the potential profits by getting a set on the flop, unless you are good at bluffing, or have a deep stack to afford the risk here and there.
If you or your opponents have deep stacks, then odds are they will be playing weaker hands and care less about a few chips, which should be a good time to play your small pocket pairs if it looks like it will not cost you much. Remember though, that getting a pair of 2’s or 3’s even with a set on the flop is still risky for beginners, considering all card-ranks on the table will most likely cover yours.
In regards to small stacks, it will most likely cause for smarter play and means stronger hands too. In your case, it is not worth it to play these pairs; you are best to wait for a better starting hand once again – folding is the best option on this occasion.
Finally, if close to the money bubble… with a tight game at hand, then playing small pocket pairs will most likely be the case by all players left – in other words the juice is worth the squeeze.
We hope this helps you get a basic understanding of Small Pocket Pairs. With this extra knowledge at hand, you should go right ahead and starting playing with confidence.