Flopping A Set

Flopping a Set

When you play small to middle pocket pairs pre-flop like 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, the aim is flopping a set. While the odds of flopping a set when your holding a pair is 1 in 9.5 or 11.76% unless you make a flopped set your hand is quite vulnerable especially if there is high cards on the board. If you are in a big multi-way pot then there is a big chance someone else has a better hand, so get away from your hand if your opponents are letting you know they have a better hand.

If you do hit a flopped set then you want to make sure you play the hand in an optimal way to extract maximum value. There can be certain situations where playing a flopped set is tricky, for example, flopping a set on a draw heavy board. It can be tempting to slowplay your set to fake weakness, but in most cases you should never slowplay, especially on dangerous boards when it contains three to a straight or three to a flush.

If you are first to act because you were the original pre-flop raise, make a strong continuation bet if its a scary board. The sizing should be two thirds the size of the pot. If your opponent is going to call to chase their strong draw, they will call regardless if it’s a small or big bet, so it makes sense to get them to pay more to see the next card. If you don’t bet on the flop when you make a set, you will not protect your hand from suck-outs on the turn or river.

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If one of your opponents raises your two thirds pot size bet or pot-sized bet on the flop, then you have a tough decision to make. Knowing your opponents is crucial when making a big decision like this. If you think your opponent is a loose aggressive player who is capable of playing nut flush draws like this, as well as top pair or two pair type hands, then you should call the raise with the intention of shipping it on the turn if its a brick card, or possibly go all-in on the flop. If you think your opponent is a tight and straight forward player who could only make this play for value with a better made hand such as a straight or flush, then you should fold. If you are readless, then a three bet on the flop is rarely a bad play in this spot, and if you run into the nuts or a better hand, there isn’t much you can do, just consider it a cooler.

If you are last to act and your opponents check to you, then make the same size bet on a dangerous board. The only time you may consider a slowplay is when its not a draw heavy board and you want your opponents to catch up, to extract more value. If someone bets into you, make a pot-sized raise. If they have nothing and were attempting to steal the pot, they will fold and you wouldn’t have extracted more value in any case, but if they were betting a strong draw, you definitely want to raise them to get them to pay more for their draws.

Flopped sets are how you make money in poker, so it is crucial that you know how to read the board texture and your opponent’s range of hands so you can extract as many chips as possible from your opponents at the poker table. It is rare that your opponent has made a better hand, so when flopping a set its optimal to play it like you have the nuts in most cases.

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