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Pocket Pair

Pairs in the Hole

by Shirley Rosario
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Pocket Pair
Pocket Pair - Two pocket cards that are of the same rank.


In Texas Holdem or Stud, having two cards of the same rank in the hole when starting the hand is called having a pocket pair. Pocket pairs are often a strong holding because either they are a powerful made hand on their own like AA or KK, or because their value is hidden in a deceptive way. For example, if in Stud a player has 33 in the hole and an upcard of a Queen, but on fourth street catches another 3, the strong hand strength of three 3's is not apparent at all.

In Texas Holdem when a player holds a pocket pair, the player will flop three of a kind about 11%. If a player starts with a low pair, flopping a set turns the hand into a strong holding.

On the other hand, small pocket pairs are very vulnerable because flops will normally hold overcards. If an opponent holds an overpair or has paired an overcard on the flop, pocket under pairs are one of the weakest hands in poker because they are the hardest to improve. Unless they make an odd straight or flush, under pairs only improve after the flop by hitting one of two cards which is normally worse than a 20-1 draw depending on the type of game being played. A wired pair is similar to a pocket pair, except in five card stud it refers to a door card that pairs the hole card.

Read about playing pocket pairs in No Limit Hold'em.

Usage: Pocket Pair, Pocket Aces, Pocket Fives, Pocket Cards, Pocket Pairs

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(c) Shirley Rosario

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