Home / Community / Forum / Poker Education / Poker Education & Beginners Questions /

Value of pocket pairs

Value of pocket pairs - Wed Feb 06, 2013, 01:00 PM
andymac89's Avatar
Since: Dec 2009
Posts: 8

In yesterdays training there was a didgy question as to at what point 10bb deep we shove pocket pairs utg. My answer intrigued Chris "ChewMe1" and he asked me to put it in the forum to see what the general census was about it.


I posted it in my blog. I would welcome as much feedback about it as possible, especially if you think it is too tight (I doubt you'd call it too loose but that's an option...). Please bear in mind that this is a simple strategy to build from based on opponents etc and not a strict rule i keep to 24/7.

Seriously though feedback would be much appreciated.


Thu Feb 07, 2013, 09:37 AM
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,503
Interesting idea. It looks like a useful guideline at first, but the thing about creating shoving ranges on a positional basis is that the relationship between "unexploitable" shoves and number of potential callers is not linear, it's exponential. Removing one potential caller if you're UTG might not make a big difference to your shoving range, but the difference between your shoving range on the button and your shoving range in the small blind should be huge.

Since each pocket pair only makes up 0.45% of all possible holecard combinations, if you arbitrarily decided that 99 is the worst hand you'd shove UTG, and would just add another pair with each step closer to the small blind, then your shoving range would start off pretty tight, but wouldn't get significantly looser when it should. Your positional push chart would look like this:
UTG 99+
UTG+1 88+
UTG+2 77+
MP1 66+
MP2 55+
CO 44+
BUT 33+
SB 22+

The range for the small blind is way too tight. Under many circumstances, it's profitable to shove any two cards in that seat. 22+ is less than 6% of hands!

A more profitable chart would be one in which the number of hands you push grows exponentially as your position improves.
i.e. If you would shove 4% of hands UTG, you might shove 5% UTG+1, then 7% UTG+2, 10% in the next seat, 14% in the next... etc.
(Notice how the range increased by 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% etc.)
I can't tell you exactly what ranges will work best for your particular game, but you can search google for push charts, or play about with Pokerstove/Equilab to see just how good/bad certain hands fare against standard calling/shoving ranges. You might be surprised to find out how little difference in equity hands like 88 and 77 have against typical calling ranges, for example.

Getting PokerStars is easy: download and install the PokerStars game software, create your free player account, and validate your email address. Clicking on the download poker button will lead to the installation of compatible poker software on your PC of 51.7 MB, which will enable you to register and play poker on the PokerStars platform. To uninstall PokerStars use the Windows uninstaller: click Start > Control Panel and then select Add or Remove programs > Select PokerStars and click Uninstall or Remove.

Copyright (c) PokerSchoolOnline.com. All rights reserved, Rational Group, Douglas Bay Complex, King Edward Road, Onchan, Isle of Man, IM3 1DZ. You can email us on support@pokerschoolonline.com