THE ODDS ONE SHOULD THINK ABOUT BEFORE PLAYING POKER
You pick up a couple of 2s in your pocket and your opponent, who has a couple of Ks fires a preflop raise into you. You make the call despite the fact that every mathematical factor tells you not to. Your pot odds are ruined by the raise, and the odds of making your hand (which is a set on the flop) are about 8-1 against, which basically means that out of every 9 such calls, you’ll make your set only once. Bad move huh? Not so much. This is where the implied odds come into the equation. Let’s suppose you do miss your set 8 times and you finally flop a set of 2s against the other guy’s K,K on a board of 2,3,10. The situation couldn’t possibly be better for you now.
You know you are going to win the pot and you set about building it as big as you possibly can. Your opponent could still beat you by hitting a set himself, but the odds of that happening are roughly 1-100. You manage to get your opponent all-in and when showdown comes, you take down a pot which will not only make up for the losses you sustained on the previous 8 hands, but will also bring in some money on top of that.
These are the implied odds. You play a few hands contrary to what mathematics tells you to, because you know you’ll be able to more than make up for them later. Which are the factors you need to keep an eye on when you go set mining? First of all, your primary mission is to minimize your loses on the hands in which the flop misses you. This can be achieved through limping if the table allows you to, but at tables with aggressive players, limping is likely to cost you more than raising from the get-go.
In such cases, don’t be shy to raise. Then, if the flop hits you, you’ll have already started building the pot, and if it misses you you’ll still have the option of a c-bet open for you, depending on your position. It may seem a bit radical to go on raising on your low pair, but the fact is, such a course of action offers you more opportunities to win the pot later on than any other, considering the aggressive nature of your table.
The other factor is to maximize your winnings on the hands when the sets do land. For that, you’ll need to be able to disguise your hand, and you’ll have to have enough chips at your disposal to make your opponent pay. This is one of the reasons why keeping your stack size close to the maximum allowed buy-in makes perfect sense.
You’ll need money to generate more money when set-mining. Being deep-stacked means that you should have a minimum of 100 BBs in your stack, but edging closer to 200 would be even better. You’ll also need a large bankroll, just in case your opponents draws to a set over your set and felts you.