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Chances of flopping a Set

2011-10-23 19:59 by Olsdog

Seeing as how a set, or three-of-a-kind, is such a valuable hand in online poker, many players ask what's their chances of flopping a set. And the quick answer to this question is that you have about an 11.8% chance of flopping a set.

That being said, it's not usually profitable to play small pocket pairs (22-66) on bigger tables because you're most likely going to need a set to win the hand. And this is where the concept of "set mining" comes into play.

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Seeing as how your chances of flopping a set are a little under 12%, you need to have the right conditions to play your small pocket pair on bigger tables. In most cases, you won't be getting proper pot odds to make the call, so many set mining situations come down to implied odds.

Implied odds are different from pot odds because they consider total (and future) winnings from a hand, rather than just whether or not it's correct to make a call in the specific situation you're in. That said, you have to look at a couple of factors closely to determine whether or not you're getting the right implied odds to set mine.

Perhaps the biggest factor to look at is if you'll get paid off once you do hit a set; this relies heavily on your opponent(s). If everybody in the pot is a good, tight player, then it's more unlikely that you're going to get paid off once you hit a set. However, if you're up against a bunch of loose fish, there's a much better chance that you'll get paid off by players who over-bet with top pair and two pair when you've got a set.

Another thing to look at here is your reverse implied odds, or the chance that you hit your set, but somebody else has a better hand. In most cases, you can tell if somebody has a better hand because of the board texture - a.k.a. the board showing a flush or straight opportunity, coupled with your opponent betting like crazy.

However, there will also be the rare occurrences where your small pair turns into a set, but another player also flops a set. And while this may be hard to swallow, you have to chalk these instances up to bad variance, and keep set mining when you're playing against people who will pay you off.


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