Playing Pocket Pairs like a Pro

Poker is a very competitive game that combines strategy with luck. Players who are dealt pocket pairs often become excited and feel as if a win is guaranteed, but this is not always the case. Players should learn how to play pocket pairs like a pro in order to come out on top.

Think Objectively

When players are dealt pocket pairs, they often assume that they are in a better position than their competition from the start. Though this may be true if the player has a pair of Aces or Kings, a pocket pair of threes or sixes is likely not going to cut it. Players should look at these cards objectively and decide whether or not the pair is enough to win the game. Low pairs may be better off exchanged for a shot at a flush or straight, in some cases.

Consider All Scenarios

As an example, let's imagine a player who is dealt a six of Hearts, a six of Diamonds, an eight of Diamonds, a nine of Hearts and a 10 of Hearts. Though this player has a pocket pair of sixes, this is not likely to win the hand. Now, consider the fact that the player is only one card away from a straight; a seven of would complete the deal. This player would probably be better off discarding one of the sixes in an attempt to gain a seven.

Play Aggressively

New and amateur players will usually play poker conservatively, choosing to place small bets and raising only slightly on hands that have a good chance of winning. Pros often choose to play aggressively instead, thereby improving their chances of winning big and perhaps even intimidating their opponents in the process. This scenario is one in which the proverbial poker face is invaluable.

Pocket pairs can be a blessing or a curse depending upon how the player chooses to proceed. If the hand is one that cannot be built upon, bet on the pair wisely. Otherwise, trading a low-valued pair for a shot at creating a higher-ranked hand may be the best course of action.