Playing Wisely with Two Pairs

One of the hardest hands to play in Texas Holdem is the two pair, which amateurs make the common mistake of either overestimating or undervaluing. Such confusion is caused by the fact that two hands can be either powerful or vulnerable, and numerous cases have illustrated this point.


In a common yet risky scenario, you could be holding TJ when a TJQ flop occurs. It would be dangerous to make any attempts at forcing out the competing draws in the hopes of raising a check. Here, you should stick to the small pots since you will likely be dominating certain holdings already.


If you have the top two cards in a no limit game, you might be tempted to play things slow, but this is actually an opportune time to make a raise. Your opponent might try moving in on you with something slightly lower, which will give you the chance to win all of their chips. Making a flat call, on the other hand, could put you at risk if a spade hits the flop, especially if your rival holds a stronger hand.


A situation that calls for extreme caution is when you hold either a top/bottom pair or a bottom two pair, especially if these are high cards. If you hold the top two aces, you may opt for a slower play if others have a hard time competing. Aggression might be called for, however, if bigger draws are placed against you. In the worst possible scenario, you might flop a two pair while your rival flops a set, in which case you値l go broke.

Poker will always be a game of win or lose. Learn the risks involved and develop strategies for handling these situations before you step into the game.

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