Group 3: Small Pairs and a Big Blind Call

Part 3. If You Have Small Pairs and Someone Called the Big Blind

88, 77, 66

These hands are evidently weaker than the previous group and they should be played properly.

You will play these hands in early position anyway but more carefully. You’ll prefer to enter bargaining with these middle-small pairs by limping but you need to add a few raises to cheat your opponents. I use the combination of 20% of raises and 80% of calls.

In middle position everything is a little trickier. I play in third position like in early position. In fourth position I begin to raise with eights but keep on limping with two weaker pairs. In fifth position with all the three pairs I switch to a different strategy based mostly on raises. In late position all these hands become raising. I make 75% of raises and 25% of calls.

55, 44, 33, 22

Small pairs are undoubtedly dangerous cards by two reasons. Of course high pair beats small pair. But besides that small pairs can be substituted when high pairs appear on the board. Assume you have 3♦ 3♥ in your hands and 9♣ 9♦ 5♠ come on the board.

Now you have two pairs – nines and threes. But if five comes on the turn you won’t get points for three pairs! The pair in your hands will disappear (this is what we call substitution) and your hand turns simply in the combination board plus three as a kicker. You must play these hands very carefully.

In early position generally fold these hands.

In middle position consider limping with fives and fours but fold threes and twos.

In late position in most cases raise with either fives or fours and call with threes and twos. If the players contributing blinds seem weak to you, raise with all these hands.