Open Raising Small Pairs.

    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      Hi, I've been wondering what the best ways to play small pairs are.

      If there is a raise before it seems very simple that you call for set value then essentially throw away if you miss. No set - no bet. Easy.

      However what if there is no raise before us? If there are no limpers either what positions do we consider an open raise best and which do we open limp? Would you ever consider an open-fold?

      How would the situation change if we had one (or more limpers) would anyone still consider a raise or is this almost always a limp?

      I have had practice playing both styles rather succesfully but am always looking to improve my game.

      Background:
      My usual game is NL25, 9 handed. I play TAG style. Usually playing on Full Tilt.
  • 7 replies
    • RyanJenkins
      RyanJenkins
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.08.2008 Posts: 2
      Usually i personally would limp with small pairs if several opponents have limped also , this gives us the odds of hitting a set and almost guarantees the hand to get payed. In the later stages of say a multi table tournament where blinds take up a bigger percentage of your stack i would push in late position and just fold them in early .
    • Hackett77
      Hackett77
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.02.2009 Posts: 372
      I will open raise with any pocket pair and usually with one limper too (sometimes 2 limpers,depending on who they are).

      The reason for this is youve then got 3 ways to win the pot.

      1) Everyone folds Pre Flop
      2) You see a flop and win the pot with a continuation bet (dont be scared of an Ace or King on the flop, that is perfect for you)
      3) you actually do hit a set and its happy days - Plus you increase your chances of getting paid as your pre-flop raise disguised your hand so that villian will not pot you on small PP.

      I used to just limp with pocket pairs but they were a huge leak in my game, now all my PP show a decent profit.


      The other great thing about this its also makes it harder for villains to put you on a range as your raising range is now wider.

      Im only referring to cash games BTW
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      Just to clarify I am talking strictly about cash games.
      Tournaments have some many other issues depending on blinds/reads/payout structure.

      Hackett would you openraise any pair from any position then?
      I certainly see the advantages but do you then give up the hand if there is a 3bet?
      Also do you still cbet an ace or king high flop into several players or is this mostly if it has gone heads up?
    • thebigheizung85
      thebigheizung85
      Silver
      Joined: 12.08.2006 Posts: 195
      giving it up to a 3bet is the usual line, but if i get reraised by a tight opponent and we are really deep (less than 8-10%) are already invested i call for set value

      against a loose opponent i might call and hope that the action ist not to heavy, because my pair (i would do this mostly with middle pairs and dump the small ones) holds up to the showdown... but that line is very read dependent and against a very aggressive player almost impossible (but then again he falls into category A where i call for set value and give it up if i miss)
    • radyan111
      radyan111
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.07.2008 Posts: 1,151
      Originally posted by Smileyphil
      However what if there is no raise before us? If there are no limpers either what positions do we consider an open raise best and which do we open limp? Would you ever consider an open-fold?

      If there are no limpers I openraise every pocketpair. Open-fold is better than an open-limp with the smallest pockets in early positions.

      How would the situation change if we had one (or more limpers) would anyone still consider a raise or is this almost always a limp?

      With one limper I would almost always try to isolate. With more than one a call might be a better option (depends on your opponents).
      If someone 3bets a fold is a standard action.
      As for c-betting it's board and opponents dependent.
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      It seems that everyone is in agreement that open-limping is a big no. However consider the situation that a villain in late position holds a premium hand (not too unlikely since there are a several villains to act behind us).

      Two possible scenarios (NL10 game):

      Stacks: $10

      Open-limp:
      Preflop: Hero is UTG with 2:spade: , 2:diamond:
      Hero calls $0.10, CO raises to $0.50, Hero calls $0.45.

      We get to see a flop with decent set odds against an opponent who ay pay us off. Even if his hand is less than premium and he opens with a middle strength hand if we hit our set we are in an excellent spot to pick up the stack.

      Open-raise:
      Preflop: Hero is UTG with 2:spade: , 2:diamond:
      Hero raises to $0.40, CO raises to $1.20, Hero folds.

      We no longer get to see a flop because the villain was given chance to 3bet and we have to often fold.

      It seems for the sake of picking up the blinds it would be better to limp/call than to raise/fold. It does have the draw back of making our hand more readable but I think many opponents will pay it off.
    • NightFrostaSS
      NightFrostaSS
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2008 Posts: 5,255
      IMHO. Depends on the villain here, but standart villain would (or at least should) raise the limpers with pretty wide range so even if you'd flop a set from time to time it doesn't mean that villain has a hand which is good enough to play for stacks so you'd just get his c-bet at best most of the time. More than that, limp/calling UTG at FR is pretty obvious play with small pocket pairs so even if villain would have TPTK or overpair, doesn't mean you'll stack him, it's pretty hard to get value OOP.. Sure if you don't find it profitable raising small pocket pairs from early position it's nothing bad to open limp such hands FR as long as games are passive enough to make such play profitable.