Middle Pairs: What to do where and when

TheeLimperTheeLimper Red Chipper Posts: 2 ✭✭
edited March 6 in General Concepts
I've continuously had problems with middle pocket pairs (77, 88, 99) in middle/late positions. The main two problems are facing 3-bets pre-flop and getting checked to with one behind facing a board with 1 or 2 over cards. I'm not sure if I should play them like small pocket pairs (try to flop a set and fold if not), but I find it hard to see where I am in the hand with any number of players.
I would like to hear anyone's opinions and advice on how to play middle pocket pairs pre-flop and post.

Thank you!


  • Phil EbbsPhil Ebbs Red Chipper Posts: 251 ✭✭✭
    Middle pairs are pretty difficult hands to play post flop. I will tell you my strategy, which I know is objectively profitable in live games with high rake, but low rake or online games probably includes more flatting IP than what I do.

    -In late position, against middle and late position openers, I would be 3betting 77-99. Assuming no flopped set or overpair, I'd be looking to cbet small on most flops, checking turn almost always and looking to play river very passively.
    -When facing a 3bet with these hands, IP I'd be calling always. OOP I can fold 77 against a tight player for large sizing and if stacks are short, but 88 and 99 I'm calling always.
    -If openers are from EP, these hands are tough. I think you can fold 77 and sometimes 88 against a tight EP raiser if you think that the flop is likely to go heads up if you flat. If you think blinds are likely to flat and not squeeze, flatting is OK, but becomes more neutral EV in high rake games. If there is a raise from EP and a cold call in MP, I love flatting 77 and 88 here and 3betting 99. I would 3bet 99 almost always even against an EP raiser.

    I realize those are pretty convoluted bits of advice, but those pointers work very well with the rest of my 3betting range, and it becomes very difficult for opponents to take money from me post flop. Hope it helps.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,639 ✭✭✭✭✭
    One reason this type of hand is hard to play is that most advanced starting hand ranges and post flop advice tend to be geared toward heads up play (because that's the norm in higher level poker). There is actually quite a difference between 1 opponent and 2+ opponents. It's much more reasonable to assume you have the best hand with 99 heads up against a good opponent with a loose-ish range on a flop of Q63, than against 3 players.

    That might or might not dictate how you play it in your game. If you can 3-bet a loose raiser and isolate him, you're in good shape. If you can't, then you just put in too much of your stack with a hand the relies too much on set mining to win. etc.

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file