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Some of you might have troubles playing the pocker pairs in microstakes cashgames/zoom games. So the first thing you've gotta think about when you approach playing a pocketpair are:

With what are the players at my table willing to stack off?

I noticed that people will stack off their full stack (100BB or somethimes more) with:

- Top pair top kicker. (somethimes 2nd best kicker also)

- Overpair

- Top pair with a flushdraw.

- Open ender straight draw.

- Open ender + overcard(s) / Gutshot with overcards

- Two pair.

- Set.

- Flopped straight or flush.

Subquestion: What do we beat & when do we get the money in the pot?

Obviously we will only try to stack someone off when we have the nuts, the 2nd nute or the third nuts. Meaning when theres no straight/flush yet possible and only higher sets could potentially beat us. Always be cautious with potential flopped straights and flushes. Don't inflate the pot that you are forced to get it in by the river.

Some tips how to notice a flopped straight/flush:

- They donk out reall small, hoping you to raise and call. They keep donking out small to try and make you bluff or just smally inflate the pot. They will come over the top on the river. So don't make a mistake to bet or raise the river. (unless you made a full house.)

- They bet the pot or over the pot every street, trying to stack you! They might also check raise or reraise very big on you! follow it up cautiously. You can call 1 street to try and get a boat. In case he's bluffing he might slow down aswell.

Don't stack off!! try to lose the minimum. (My next question math will show that even here winning the minimum will be profitable)

How do I play my big Pocket Pairs & what are big pocket pairs? When do I fold a big PP?

A big pocket pair with what I will always 3-bet! QQ KK & AA. There is no exception you want the pot a little bigger. The 3bet pot allows you to get all the money in postflop without having to reraise or bet more than the pot. It also allow you to fold out really bad hands someone opened with, so you can put him on a range of hands which will make your decisions postflop easier.

They 4bet! what now? AA & KK get it all in!!! No exceptions somethimes they 4bet light thinking you make a move.  I just always get it in. Happy to take the pot down or getting it all in with the best hand. (Somethimes you'll run in AA but that is standard and unavoidable.)  Some people might call a 4bet here. Which is an option if you opponant is very aggressive and bluffy. Trying to let him bluff the rest postflop. However I noticed that once they 3bet or 4bet bluff you with marginal hands, they are only willing to get money in the pot if they beat you! Thats why I prefer making it myself easy and standard. It also sends a message to them.. try and 4bet me again? Their only intrest is to take your 3bet down or outflop you in the 4bet pot. Which is quite profitable for them.

So QQ's. what to do with a 4bet? QQ's is hard, because you can run in KK AA AK or a bluff as explained above. But I rather lose my 3bet money ( max 10BB) than spew my chips against KK AA or flip for AK (which rarely happens.) So I lean more towards folding it. IF however the opponant has a 50BB stack. You can comfortably get it all in! The 50BB's will get their money in lighter. 1010 JJ AK AQs which you beat, somethimes even 99's.

I concider JJ's as not a 3bet hand in micro stakes, as it gets you more often in hard spots. Although 3bet folding to 4bets is fine. More than 1/2flops will contain Q K or A. Making it significantly harder postflop. So thats why I play JJ's as 1010's 99's... The only advantage is if you hit a set you will more often get action.

Now the postflop part & when to fold a big PP:

In 3bet pots:

With an overcard on the board I will C-bet it once and give up afterwards. If he is floating me, he will be capable of taking it down postflop from me. But the pot isn't that big and he won't float that often here. If he calls with a lower PP or some lower pair from the board he will check it down till the river unless he improves. If his bet on the river makes no sense, I will call it aswell. As we've shown so much weakness he might bluff stab the pot on the river often enough. If its a potsized bet, its harder and I lean towards folding. (I only bet 60% of the pot here because it will put him all in by the river! And it will spair you chips when he has the overcard)

In normal pots + bet sizing:

If 3way: overcard = check call(if board is wet.) a bet and give up. No reason to spew chips. If we have an overpair I bet 70% to get value from draws or top pairs. If I get reraises I fold, cause then at best we are flipping against a huge draw. The pot is still small and easy to get away from. We will often be up against: Sets, 2 pairs, pair + flushdraw, pair +open ender. So best case scenario we flip or we are the huge underdog. Occasionally they will reraise you with top pair good kicker to protect their hand. I just think you'll spew an awefull lot of chips if the reraise is big. If it's a minraise you can peel a card and see whether he continues aggressively or not. Mostly in these limits they aren't that aggressive with top pairs good kicker, they just want the money in on the flop if they are very strong.

If we get heads up I will keep betting 80% until I get reraised. If top pair would make trips I'd proceed with great caution and would probably check to call the river. As he might bet there lower pocketpairs, missed draws.

If the pot starts Headsup I will open with 80% bets from the start and won't stop betting like that untill I get reraised. If you get reraised, you are beat and you can better just fold. Theres only a small chance they'd reraise you with worse. If on the river all draws came in! Make sure to check! You were so aggressive he will check often enough to you with the nuts. Make a safe check behind and you'll be glad. Getting check raised on the river is hatefull. You only miss value from top pair, which he might even fold as the board got so bad! better safe than sorry!

Looking at this from outside the box or as an outsider. You'd say wow this is easely exploidable! And yes it is! But then again you'll notice the players fast enough who caught this news and change your play against them. The good part is We'd also do this with the nuts! And he will get caught with his pants down once and from then on we add a simple note 'capable of bluffing postflop' 'Aggressive player' 'floater' Making it easier for you.

Does the math allow me to call here to Setmine?

Here will come a piece, which is not by the books I pressume but how I approach the smaller PP's (from 22 to JJ's.) Only info you need to know is that I'd play 99 1010 JJ as a flopped top pair if it's top pair. So I'll never overlpay them and fold them often enough in trouble spots.

So here's the math we all know or should know!

On avg. we will hit a set on the flop 0.125 times or 1ce every 8 flops. So we will have direct pot odds to call if our call is 1/8th of the pot size. But how often will that happen? Maybe when everyon limps or calls the open raise. So we've got to approach PP's more as increased postflop value.

Example: UTG raises to 3BB. Everyone folds to you in the BB. It costs you 2BB's to call. Into a pot of then 7.5BB's.  2/7.5 = 0.266666   So if we would win that pot 26% of the time if theres no more betting involved. The call will be break even. (Rake not included) But as postflop play is harded and alot more money will come in the pot, that is the reason why we call tighter. Because technically we should call nearly every hand there because of the great % we get. For pocket pairs we give ourselves only 12% chance of winning. so technically the call is bad. But as mentioned what happens postflop is more important!

We made the call for 2BB's. So no average to make this profitable we have to make 8times those 2BB's. Which makes 16BB's (2times because you also still have to post it postflop.) So the total pot should be of 32BB on avegerage when you hit the set. Then if you exclude straights, flushes and higher sets. We play it break even. Now if you think of it 32BB pot. This is an average of 2bets. Which will happen a decent amount of the times and not to forget the pot could still get way bigger! and multiways, the 32BB is way easier to reach. Somethimes they will fold after the Cbet. somethimes they won't and you get his full stack. The pot can go up to 200BB hu.  Which is 6times as much as you need from him to play it break even.

But in this approach we left out the higher sets and the flushes/straights. I don't know the exact maths on how to calculate this all preflop and so on. So I can only make wider assumptions and show you a little approach of why its more profitable to call than to fold. I rule out straights and flushes, because thats postflop play and you'd play that as if you play an overpair. Meaning you should be able to fold a set! For same reason 2pairs and top pairs overpairs will occure alot more. So you'll make more profit from those than the flushes and straights. Besides if you get it in on the flop you'd still be ahead and drawing to fullhouses.

The only thing we worry about is the top set as that also can be put in the preflop calculations. 22 against KK. 1/8times we flop a set and get royally paid out from the KK. But we'll also spew our chips as 1/5times he'll have a set by the river. So lets do the maths. 1/40 times he will get higher set than us by the river. BUT that would suggest he always keep playing post flop. Lower pocket pairs to higher board he will fold and won't see the river. So the actual flopping chance of a set for him also is 1/8 so  1ce every 64 times we flop a set, he also. We will take the royal midway. Because he will get all chips in with overpair, and fold faster with overcards. So to make it easy we can say 1/50 times he'll beat is for our whole stack. (For same reason somethimes he will have a lower set than us, but those chances are significantly lower as we are the caller. This should also get calculated in but those maths are really complex and I'm only a man. So I can make a red line for what works for me and has shown great profits over time.)

So lets analyse an example from earlier. All we know is on avg we extract 32BB from the pot. (invest 16BB's ourselve, win 16 BB from him.) 1ce in 50 flopped sets we will lose 100BB's. We can safely say the play is not profitable, but we can still analyse whether its more profitable to call preflop or fold. As in fact we will be folding 1BB every time we fold a PP.

We will analyse it over 400examples:

1/8th time we will flop a set which is 50 times. 1time of those he will stack us. 350times we will lose 3BB's (1BB is dead money but as we are comparing it with folding it we have to add it in our calculations.).

42*16BB (we only calculate actual profit.) = 672

1*100BB = -100

350*2 = -1050

Which is a total loss of 478BB if we only have 16BB (pots of 32BB) profit on avg. How much do we lose if we fold? Well we'll fold 400 times 1BB. So make a loss of 400BB's.

We can see if we on avg win 16BB's when we hit a set we make a loss of 78BB's by playing it in the BB headsup. I must say 16BB's is really easy to get on avg, certainly because you'll often play multiways or against UTG which will often enough have a strong hand. Easy to say is if you extract 17BB's its already more profitable to call in the BB than to fold!

Conclusion of the math: When I have to call with a pocket pair i look how much it is to call. for example 15cents. I have my calculator open at all times and do 15*10 which is 1.50$  Will i make 1.50$ from him, so a pot of 3$? If I call the pot will at least be 0.39$. If it's bet 3streets by him the avg pot will be at least 5$. If it's multiways more action is garanteed and the pot will reach 3$ by 2 streets of betting and more often action. And if you get that on avg (10times.) your profit is already significant playing the PP. Later on you'll be capable of folding pp's in certain spots and calling when you know he has a higher chance of having a strong hand. For example if the cutoff raises 3BB and you call with 22 on button. That will be harder to get value as he might have been trying to steal the blinds. If an UTG raised it up, the chances are higher he has AA KK QQ AK QK and so on. He will pay you of way easier his full stack.

You opened early with low PP and if you are HU/ or threeway what to do? First of all you have alot of chance they fold to take down the blinds. If they call you HU a C-bet is in place of 60% should take it down often enough. (You gotta know when to c-bet on certain boards and when not.) 3-way never C-bet if you didn't hit. You'd just spew chips.

If you hit a set! Bet it for maximum value I always bet it 80% without stopping unless the board gets tooo ugly. Theres  a big tell with my bet sizing. But I do somethimes mix it up, so its not as easy abusable as you might think.

Then all we got to cover is you get 3bet and you hold a low PP. First you've got to asses, is the player 3betting me so light or is he strong. If he's 3betting light, fold get yourself out of spots with low postflop value. If he's strong there's alot of chips to win postflop. He will then most of the time decide to stack off. AA KK QQ AK JJ will be a holding there alot because you either have the light 3betters, which you'll know in no time and the tight 3betters.

Here I use the math: I got to call 0.30cents multiply it by 8 (as I'm bound to get alot more action postflop and there is already alot of dead money.) So if the pot is 4.8$ on avg (very very often it'll be 10$) I see it profitable to call and setmine. If I call the 3bet the pot will be a minimum of 0.90$ which means 2 streets of bets. There will nearly always always be a Cbet meaning only 1more street and if he doesn't. You will take it down with a bet very very very often! (then he might've been a light 3better only giving action when he hit.)

PS: If you do the multiply math of your calls don't ever forget to check how many chips he has! If he doesn't have that many chips. Don't concider calling.

PS2: I know some of you math wizzards might look at this as wow what a bad math and strange thinking and stuff.. As I said It is how I approach the tables with my easy math tricks in zoom, which work for me. And will keep using it until proven otherwise. This might come when I go up stakes or maybe not. But then I will find a new way of approaching it. All I know it works on microstakes which I play.

How can I best approach to stack my opponant?

If you are the aggressor preflop. Just bet it for max value 80% of the pot I use. If it's a limped pot I even donk bet with over the size of the pot. They often think I'm stealing and stack off light if they improve or have to pair good kicker. In limped pots that really profitable. So ye and for the rest just bet as much as possible. They might call you with draws and such and they'll let you know by reraising or donking whether they improved. For the rest just keep betting as big as possible for value. They call down so light and maybe only fold on river if their draws missed or if they have 2nd pair or something. You miss out alot of value by betting smaller and giving them better odds to call with draws.

If you aren't the aggressor. I always ALWAYS check when the aggressor is in position. The fish even know they have to C-bet. So that only already shows you getting closer to that 20/30BB mark.  On really wet board I will check raise trying to get it in on the flop. If the card comes for the flush, I will check to him and give up. He might somethimes bluff that he has the flush but I don't think its really profitable to call in microstakes as he will most likely check back if he has showdown value without the flush. If he's known to bluff you can peel a card. All other times on the flop I will only call.

Then it depends on what I think he has or how strong I think he is. If you think he had top pair and an overcard comes on the board you have to lead out as he will check 2nd pair there, but will call a bet for sure. If you think he improved or was bluffing, let him bluff at it again! Let him take a stab or if he improved he will stab again. Then you have to asses do i raise here and now? You got to do it like this all depends on your position and his eledged strength.

If he is in position, it is better to reraise the turn so you can donk the river. If he has something strong on the turn or from the flop he will call you down. and you stack him mostly or nearly stack him. Don't make the raise too big. Try and calculate it out that a river bet stacks him or nearly stacks him. If you feel he isn't that strong on the river make a smaller bet. Give him better odds to call with top pair bad kicker. If he has 2pair he might even reraise you again or bluff reraise you again thinking you got fold equity.

If you call the turn and he's in position always always always donk the river. Never give him the chance to check behind. If you would check you'd still raise the river. So if he's raising you its the same situation only now you can still get away from it if needed.

When you are in position I elect to always call and not raise only on really wet boards. He will be a draw on the turn again and on the river if he hits he will suddenly bet alot alot bigger to justify his turn bet. Meaning you can still get away. If he has a missed draw he's also bet out. and with top pair also. and you can still raise him there for more value. He might check because he was bluffing, means you extracted so much value already.  Depending on how strong you think he is your reraise should change in size. If he bets as if he has top pair good kicker, 2pairs. make a bigger raise, even a shove is possible. The faster you decide it the fishier it looks.  Also if you spot weakness in him on river as he checks. Try to bet half pot or something instead of 80%. Let him try and justify a call with 2nd pair there. or reraise bluff you.  (never reraise a reraise). You've shown alot of weakness thats the power to get chips in position and get bad calls from him.

A special example to end this blog:

You flopped a set in or not in position. the flop is QQ2 rainbow or not doesn't matter. I will check it to him if i'm not the aggressor (if aggressor I'd play it as before 80% bets non stop. If you feel he hit flush or has Q make sure everything gets in the middle theres no way he folds.) make sure you check to him. He will C-bet that with any PP any A any Q, even with 2 high cards. So basicly with any cards. Reraising there would scream i got a Q but we got better! So don't scare him just call. It's like saying I have A high or a pocker pair. Which will nearly always make him stab again at the pot trying to represent that Q. And if he happens to hit his highcard on the turn he will never fold! So on turn you check to him, if an highcard comes I reraise trying to say hey I got that card. He will shove on you alot with Q or that highcard there. Fold any weak holdings. But this is the only way to stack him. He might even shove a gutshot or call with a gutshot.

Maximum value at its best imo.

Hope you had a very nice read and don't hesitate to correct me, give me your insights and so on.

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