How to Play Small Pocket Pairs

Playing Texas Hold’em, you will be dealt a pair in the hole roughly 6% of the time. That means that a pocket pair will come your way about every 17 hands that you play. Many times those pairs will be of the low variety. While online gambling playing a small pocket pair correctly is highly dependent upon your table position for that particular hand.


There are times that your small pair will be the best hand at the table pre-flop. But after the flop, the odds will change substantially when overcards hit the board and you failed to hit your set on the flop. Many players wonder if its wise to be raising pre-flop with a small pair for that reason. It can be the correct play, but your position and the bets of other players will dictate whether it is or not.

Early Position

If you’re seated in early position with pocket 4′s, its advisable to give way to players in later position who may be raising with a better starting hand. You wouldn’t want to raise and see an opponent re-raise before the flop and end up risking a lot of money in a situation where you may have only two outs to take down the pot. In early position with a low pocket pair, its best to just call and see how the action plays out behind you.

Late Position

But holding those same 4′s in a late position where no other players acting before you have raised and perhaps just one or two have called, it would be a good idea to raise about three times the big blind in an effort to thin the playing field and keep the blinds from limping in. Your 4′s in the hole should be considered a stronger hand when your later position on the table can be used to your advantage. Its important to know that two overcards on the flop gives your table rivals approximately a 49% chance of hitting a draw against your pocket pair, which is what you are hoping to avoid. For that reason, in late position, your goal is to knock players out by raising to keep them from seeing the flop. (more…)