In today’s poker world, especially online, playing a traditional tight-aggressive style will rarely be enough to win.
Pre-flop action is far more aggressive than it once was, and today’s winning poker player has to get creative to win big pots.
One way to wina big pot off an aggressive opponent is to “set mine“, or to play medium and small pocket pairs mode often then traditional poker strategy would dictate.
We’ve all been there. You’re dealt a pair of fives and someone makes a big raise in front of you.
You know that calling a big raise and chasing two outs is not exactly a mathematically sound play, and you find yourself mucking your small pair to wait for a more favorable situation.
The next thing you know your third five comes on the flop and you’ve missed a set and a potential big pot.
The concept of set mining is essentially deciding to stay in a hand with your pocket pair in the hopes that you do hit that set.
The initial pot odds may not be the best to call a big raise, but when you do hit your set (roughtly one cut of eight times you hold a pocket pair) the payoff is usually huge.
When to set mine still requires some thought and strategy, it’s not going to be your best play all the time.
The best time to set mine and risk some of your chips chasing two outs is when you have a big stack compared to most players in the game.
The more chips you have, the more you can afford to gamble, and when you call a big raise and hit your set your opponents will not see it coming… especially if they have an over pair or they’ve hit top pair with two big cards.
Some of you may play so tight that you fold smaller pairs in the early positions because you don’t want to have to deal any raise that another player may put in there after you.
Raising the action with your smaller pocket pair will often allow you to control the pre-flop action, and will even win you the odd uncontested pot.
If you limp in with your pocket pair and face late-position raise, you have to option of calling or three-betting if you think that the late-position raise is just a real-estate bluff.
The thing to keep in mind about set mining is that if you do miss hitting your set, your mentality should be that you’re going to be willing to get out of the hand… especially if any aces or kings come on the flop and an opponent bets into you.