Once you have mastered the basics of when to raise pocket pairs, pre-flop, you need to consider how you should play them when someone raises in front of you.
The first thing to consider is where on the poker table the raise has come from. Is the player in early or late position? After that, you need to assess what type of player the raiser is: are they loose, aggressive, or are they tight?
If you are facing a bet from an early position raiser who has not played a hand for an hour, then it is very likely they have a premium hand. Thus, in this situation, your pair of sevens probably will not fare too well, post-flop.
Indeed, if you call and see anything other than a seven on the flop, you will have very little option but to fold. Conversely, if the raise comes from late position, and the raiser is a loose player, then it is much more likely that your pocket sevens will be in good shape, even if the flop contains some over cards.
Once you have assessed these factors, you need to consider the relative stack sizes. This means the amount of money each of you will be playing for.
For example, you are sitting at the poker table with $50 and your opponent has $35. In this case, the effective stacks are $35 because that is the most that can be won in the hand. Whenever you are sizing up someone’s stack, you are doing so for the purposes of set mining (hitting a set on the flop).
The odds of hitting a set on the flop when you hold a pocket pair is around 7-1 against, so this means that, in order to make a mathematically correct call pre-flop, your opponent needs to have stack of 70 big blinds or more.
When this dynamic is in place, you will be able to make enough money from your opponent when you make a set to compensate for all the times you call and miss – in theory, at least.
Playing pocket pairs in poker can be a tricky proposition but, if you remember to watch the position, player, and stack sizes, you will soon see your profits increase. Pocket pairs are often a risky, but lucrative move in the WSOP 2012 Satellites.
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