Whether you enjoy playing cash games or tournaments, it is essential to have a strategy in place to take advantage of being dealt small pairs.
Anything from pocket sevens downwards can be classed as a small pair and undoubtedly come with plenty of risks attached if you decide to play them.
However, given that a small pocket pair is significantly better than many other hands, it is imperative you use them to your advantage whenever possible.
With that in mind, we take a closer look at the optimum conditions needed to play small pairs and how to ensure you get paid off with them.
Table Position is Hugely Important
Professional players always acknowledge the importance of table position in poker and it becomes even more crucial when playing small pocket pairs.
If you get involved in the action in early position, you need plenty of dots to join up if your risky decision is to be validated.
Overplaying small pairs can make a significant dent in your chip stack, particularly as you are likely to need assistance for the hand to hold up.
Only playing small pairs in late positions is an extremely sound strategy to employ if you want to maximize your chances of making them pay.
Always Keep Your Discipline
There is absolutely no point attempting to implement a poker strategy if you lack the self-discipline to follow it to the letter.
One of the biggest mistakes novice players make is becoming too attached to a small pocket pair and chasing a set when the odds are stacked against them.
If you have made it to the flop with your small pair but the cards have not been kind, do not be afraid to dodge the bullet and fold your hand.
Much like players who get too attached to premium hands such as AA or AK, if your instincts tell you your small pair is beat, listen to them.
Getting Paid with Small Pocket Pairs
Now we have established what you should not be doing with small pocket pairs, we need to consider how you are going to get paid when you do play them.
If you have limped into the pot with a small pair and the flop comes down with three low cards including one to make your set, you must tread carefully.
Make sure the size of your bet does not chase your opponents away, as a large wager is likely to immediately tell them they are up against it.
If the flop turns your small pair into a set you need to give the players who find it difficult to lay down average hands a good reason to call.