Texas Holdem Limit - Playing Middle or Bottom Pair on the Flop

Texas Holdem Limit Strategies and Advice for Low Pairs

When you hit a pair on the flop using one of your hole cards, if it is not a top pair, you have flopped a middle or bottom pair. Let's say you hold As-4s and the flop is #Qh-#4c-#2h or #Qh-#7s-#4c. These two pairs can be played in similar ways. Beginning and even intermediate players frequently misplay the middle or bottom pair hand but it is an easy situation to play effectively since your decisions can all be simply based on mathematics.

In the situations discussed below, the assumption that at least one of the opponents holds a bigger or better pair and the pot is a multi-way is made.

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General Guidelines

First, you must understand that after the flop there are five outs for improving your hand, at the very best. This means 8 to 1 against improving at the turn and you are drawing to two pairs or trips. Most often, you need better odds than that to draw. This draw can be compared to a gut-shot straight draw which has only four outs but this is a draw to a much ber hand. You need some very good pot odds to play middle or bottom pairs on the flop if you are in a multi-way pot.

Here are the factors to keep in mind:

1. Another play could hold a set or two pairs and you could be drawing dead or very, very close to it.

2. Other players may be holding hands that 'counterfiet' your cards, perhaps straight or flush cards.

3. If you do make the two pairs or trips at the turn, you still have the possibility of losing at the river to bigger double pairs or three of a kind, straights or flushes.

When to consider drawing/raising:

1. When you have a kicker card that is higher than the highest card revealed at the flop, if the rest of the flop looks favorable, and pot odds are good, calling is justified.

2. When the pot is really large, perhaps offering you a 12-to-1 or more on your call.

3. When your call will close all betting so that no one can raise behind you and change the pot odds. This makes the late position so important when you can grab it!

4. When you truly believe your hand is the best or when you think other players will fold better hands, combined with the probability of outdrawing other players, then you should raise.

When not to draw/raise:

1. When the flop holds three cards of the same suit, unless you hold an ace or king-high flush draw to go with the pair. In this situation, you are drawing almost dead because it is so likely that someone else already holds the flush. Plus, there is a b possibility of losing the pot even if you hit yoru draw.

2. When the flop is three-connected, such as J-T-9, or 9-8-7, you should consider folding because of the same reasons as in #1 above. If the flop is high cards, you do not have an open-ended straight draw to play. For example, if you hold A-10 and the flop shows Q-J-10 in a multi-way pot, you really only have four outs to a possible split pot if a king does hit and only two outs to a very, very uncertain win if another 10 hits. While it is truly there are six outs, they are not very b and shouldn't be counted on to win.

How you should be thinking:

Here's how you want to be thinking when trying to determine how many outs your middle or bottom pair really holds for you. For this exapmle, there are three or more other players and the flop revealed is #Qh-#8c-#2h.

1. If you hold the #Ah-#2s, there are only five outs, at best, and a possible back-door nut-flush draw.

2. If you hold As-#2s, you have only four outs since the #Ah is counterfeited and there is just no chance you'll make a flush.

3. If you hold the As-#8d, you have three outs, at best, because the #Ah and #8h are counterfeited and you have no possibility of hitting the flush.

4. If you hold the As-#8h, another player holds the #Ac-#Qc, and yet another holds a flush draw, you have only t wo outs since the aces are counterfeited.

5. If you hold the As-#8s, one opponent has the #Ac-#Qs, and yet another has a flush draw, you only have one out since all aces plus the #8h is counterfeited.

Limit Poker Strategy Guide:

Strategy Article 1. Limit Holdem - Flush Draws

Strategy Article 2. Limit Holdem Starting Hands

Strategy Article 3. Limit Holdem - Straight Draws

Strategy Article 4. Limit Holdem Playing Flops

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