The Game Stud

Poker Play

Positive Attitude

Poker Intimidated

Check Other Games

Betting Styles

Poker Bluff


Third Street

Poker Big Pairs

Middle Pairs

Low Pairs

Flush Draws

Straight Draws

Best of the Rest


Fourth Street

Force Out Hands

Poker Two Pair

Poker Big Pairs

Middle Small Pairs

Four Flushes

Ended Straight


Fifth Street

Playing Full House

Flushes Straights

Poker Trips

Poker Two Pair

Drawing Hands


Learning to play poker

Big Pairs

While it’s rare to be dealt rolled up trips, you will often find yourself with a good pair (10s better) at the start.  A good pair is always a great starting hand, particularly if your pair is hidden, because that prevents your opponents from knowing the real strength of your opponents from knowing the real strength of your hand right away.  A hidden pair can also help you as the betting rounds progress.

When I first started playing, I automatically assumed that when I had a good pair on third street, raising was the right move.  If it was a dollar to me, I’d make it two without a second thought; if two to me, I’d make it four.  Many times this is exactly the right move, but not always.  Let’s take moment to look at some examples.

Banging Away vs. Proceeding Cautiously

When should you bang away and when should you play more cautiously?  When you have been dealt a pair of 10s or better, the first thing you must do, as with any hand, is look out across the board to see what else is out there.  You big pair may look great, but it’s worthless if the other two cards you need have already been dealt.  If one of your cards has been dealt, you’ll want to limp in if your pair is split and raise if your pair is in the hole.  You can raise with a split pair at times, even if a card you need to improve is gone, but you must have a good kicker.

For example, suppose you have a pair of 10s in the hole and an ace on the board.  You see another ten but no other aces.  In this case, raise-make those drawing and marginal hands think twice about sticking around.  You have a great kicker here so you can be a bit more loose.  Most of your opponents will probably figure you for a pair of aces.

If all your cards are live, that’s great.  It’s often the case that the decision to raise or limp in will come down to live cards.  If you had the same pair of 10s and ace kicker and both another ten and another ace were on the board, you should just limp in, not raise.  This situation shows the importance of live cards and the need to be aware of which cards are live and which ones are not.

Another thing to do when you’re deciding whether to raise or just limp in with your big pair is to look to your left to see who has yet to bet.  You may be feeling great about your pocket 10s, but before you raise, check to see what the other players have who have yet to bet.  If you see two or more cards that are bigger than yours, just limp in.  If it is raised from the bring-in of a dollar to two dollars, go ahead and call.  If it’s re-raised, think carefully about calling.  The only time you should call a re-raise in this situation is when you have a large kicker and all of your cards are live.

The Importance of Position

Position can never be underestimated.  The later you are to act, the better.  For example, suppose you are holding JJ 4 and you’re the second-to-last player to bet.  The low card brought in the betting for a dollar, the next three players called, and the next two folded.  You look to your left and see a 10, and out on the board among those who have bet are two queens and a king.

Earlier on, I stated that if these players had not yet bet, limping in was the proper move.  Here, you can go ahead and complete the bring-in to two dollars.  The 10 to your left will probably fold, and because there was no raising by the larger cards on the board, it’s likely those players do not have split pairs.

Your raise will get at least one or two of the remaining players out, which is what you want to happen.  Against any drawing hand heads up, you’ll be a favorite with a big pair.  If there are a lot of hands in the pot, though, you’ve gone from a favorite to an underdog.  Odds are, with all players sticking around (and they will if you do not make them pay) you will get outdrawn by somebody.

While later position is usually best, at times early position can be advantageous.  When you’re in early position, you won’t know what Poker players to your left will do.  If, however, you have a big pair that is higher than pairs that could be represented by the rest of the board, you should raise.  By raising the bring in from a dollar to two dollars, you’ll probably cause more players behind you to fold.

One thing that I have found playing the lower limits is that while late position is ideal, if I raise with a strong pair in early position, more of Poker players yet act will fold than if I raised in late position with the same hand.  Why?  Because at the lower limits, people’s thinking goes, “I’ve already got a buck in the pot, and it’s only one more chip to see another card.”  Players foolishly put another chip in even after having been raised, because they don’t want you to “steal” their money.

Even though most of the poker players might stay in with a late position raise because they have some money in the pot, you still should never, ever let them get away with sticking around cheaply with a drawing hand.  Yes, many may stay in, but if even one or two drop, it’s of benefit to you.  You are cutting the field, and with a starting big pair, that’s exactly what you want to do.

Quick Guide….
….To Big Pairs Third Street:

  • RAISE most (about 99%) of the time, unless you find a reason not to play them fast (e.g. if both of your other cards for trips are dead).
  • CALL only if your game is so loose that you know without a doubt that other players will stay in despite your raise.


Sixth Street

Completed Solid Hands

Trips & Poker Two Pairs



Seventh Street

Calling Seventh Street

Quick Quiz

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Keep Records

the Shaking Hand