When to Play Pocket Pairs
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Starting with a pocket pair in a game of online poker can be a good thing as it already guarantees that you have a better hand than many players. However, by the river, an opponent could gain the upper hand with a straight or a flush. Not every pocket pair is worth playing, so when you receive one, you should figure out if you should stay in the hand or if it is better to fold.
Pocket Pairs You Should Play
When you are dealt a strong pocket pair, the decision to play with it is usually an easy one as there is a greater chance of success. However, it might not always be a wise choice to play with lower pocket pairs. The pocket pairs you should play are the ones you feel have enough merit to beat your opponent, either by having the better hand or by bluffing him into a fold. However, keep in mind that both you and your opponent will be dealt several more cards and he might be holding out for a stronger hand like a straight. The bonus, however, is that your small pair could become a full house, three of a kind or four of a kind by the river, so it might be worth it to wait and see if nobody else at the table is raising.
Reading Your Opponent
Getting a read on your opponent at an Internet poker site can be difficult when playing poker online, but it is necessary if you want to know what to do with a pocket pair. Even with a pair of aces, your opponent might have a better hand, and how he plays will clue you in to this. If several players at the table have folded, you might as well play your pocket pair because you have a better chance of winning. Likewise, if your opponents are simply calling the bet and not raising, it is safe to continue to play with your pocket pair.
If you are skilled enough and you think your opponents will fall for it, you might be able to get away with playing on a small pocket pair and bluffing them into a fold. If your opponents are only calling, you might be able to scare them away by making a raise, especially on the river. If your opponents start playing more aggressively, especially after the river, you might consider backing off if your pair is too low.