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Why 55 and not 22?

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  • Why 55 and not 22?

    I really have never understood why 55 would be playable in late position with 3 callers? Wouldn't it be better to play 55 against either one or many callers (and not in between)? How is 55 fundamentally any different than 22 besides the fact that 22 has less straight capabilities and increases the chance to lose set over set. Are these two differences enough to warrant the difference in playability?

  • #2
    Well, 55 is three better than 22, now isn't it.


    • #3
      If you're in a game where you frequently find yourself in late position and already have three callers, call me and I will come.

      Oh, you mean LIMIT poker. Don't bother calling me then.


      • #4
        small pocket pairs are playable with 3 or 4 callers because of the implied odds.
        1 time in 7 your going to flop a set when you do flop your set you need to be able to make it pay for the times you miss.
        so with 1 caller your implied odds are not there.
        with 3 or 4 callers the chances of getting a good pay day with your set is there.

        thats my view on small pocket pairs and the same thing applies to suited connectors if your not getting the implied odds in the long run the play is costing you money.


        • #5
          Originally posted by geezer
          If you're in a game where you frequently find yourself in late position and already have three callers, call me and I will come.

          Oh, you mean LIMIT poker. Don't bother calling me then.
          You have seen how ridiculous those online games are that we've been playing in, haven't you? Those are, of course, PL and NL. The limit games aren't any better. Just sit in the .5/1. I would venture to say that you could make almost $5 an hour playing two tables.


          • #6
            55 and 22

            Not claiming to be a pro but from my table expearience I can tell you this. One of the most powerful weapons a poker player has is his table image. This is an explaination of why the same players are winning tournaments often. Whenever someone wins even a big pot with 22 they almost always look stupid, too much of a gambler. This is exactly what you want to avoid. Even though 55 may only be slightly better, when someone takes down a pot with them, they often look tricky and cleaver. They will look lose and get more action but maybe not too much. 55 can often be played faster to build a bigger pot when you do flop a set,you can very rarely do that with a set of two's. Handyman123 :idea:


            • #7
              Actually, in general I don't like fives any more than I like deuces. Fives do have two slight advantages over deuces, though:
              1) with a flop K43 rainbow and your opponents checking to you, you will probably bet from late positon holding fives. Now, when someone thinks you might be stealing or are playing position, and stubbornly holds onto a hand like A4, K4 or A3, you will now win when you would have lost with the deuces (which you probably would not have bet against this flop to begin with). Also, with flops like 643. 764, 663, 774 etc. you might win small pots holding the fives but get nothing when holding the deuces.
              2) with the fives, you have a small (outside) chance to flop set over set, which will almost always create a HUGE pot. If the flop comes Q52 rainbow and an opponent holds deuces, you are going to win a LOT of bets off him. Now, if YOU are the one playing deuces here in the same set-over-set situation, this will cost you bigtime. Even though set-over-set does not happen often, when it does you don't want to be the one holding the lower set.

              However, it is important to mention that in late position even the deuces are not necessarily all that bad, especially with a few limpers in front of you. They have one big advantage over the bigger pairs (say 55 till 99), and it is this. If you flop BOTTOM SET (which would always be the case holding deuces) you might get action from opponents holding top pair, but also from opponents holding MIDDLE PAIR. (Let's say the flop comes Q72, you might get action from any queen, but also from hands like K7 or A7, and you have them all practically drawing dead). When you flop MIDDLE SET (as you probably would with pairs 55-99) you will only get action from someone holding TOP PAIR. With the same Q72 flop, and you holding sevens, there is only one seven left in the deck so the only ones who will probably play with you are the ones with a queen. So, in this situation you would actually make more money with bottom set than with middle set.

              Having said all this, in general it is true that the higher the pair, the better. If you try to steal the blinds in late position holding wired fives and the big blind defends holding A3, he now has only one overcard to your pair, whereas if you held deuces he would have had two. So that's why I recommend playing fives in late position but not deuces- even though there are equally valid arguments to only play sevens or higher (some optimists might even recommend ANY pair here). Anyway, that's about it for the small pairs. Take care, and good luck,


              • #8
                Thanks Rolf. You brought up some interesting points that I hadn't thought of....You're especially right about that when you are on the button with 55 and get checked to....with deuces I would rarely bet against a bunch of calling stations knowing that one of them probably had a higher pair and I wouldn't be able to take it down right there anyway. That reminded me of another type of flop where it comes down something like 777. At that point, the pocket pairs start to bet their boat a lot of the time. Of course, you have to be somewhat concerned about a 7 against a large field, but you don't want to be holding 22 there either, even though you are full because any other pocket pair or 7 has you beat already and you're going to be drawing dead because you hold an underpair on board, so you don't even get two outs to a bigger boat.


                • #9
                  Out of interest, knowing that the odds of being dealt a pair are about 16-1 and then of flopping a set with them 7-1, if we assume 10 people in a game and that if they get dealt a pair they stay to see the flop, what are the chances (prior to the hand even being dealt) that the flop will have 2 sets?


                  • #10
                    Mmmm, and what's the chance, GIVEN that u've flopped a set and the boards got 3 different valued cards, that someone else has a set? (not taking into account clues you might have from someone's betting behaviour that they have a pair)

                    These may seem pointless questions but my reason for asking is that when you say 2 sets don't occur often, what does that mean? 1% of flops, 5%?


                    • #11
                      You will be dealt a pair on 5.88% of your flops. At a 10 player table at least one pair will be dealt 45.6% of the time. At least two pairs will be dealt 19.1% of the time. At least 3 pairs will be dealt 7.34% of the time.

                      When you are holding a pair, 42.0%% of the time another player will have one also.

                      You will hold a pair and flop a set on 0.692% of your hands dealt (7 out of every 1000 hands dealt to you).

                      An opponent will have a pair 42.0% of the time you flop a set or 0.290% (29 out of 10,000 hands dealt).

                      That oppenents pair will make a set on 11.8% of those deals or 0.0343% of the hands dealt (34 out of 100,000 deals). At 50 hands per hour you should be involved in a set over set match every 59 hours of play. If you played 10 hours a day every day that is roughly once a week. Using a B&M rate of 25 hands per hour and it comes out to once every two weeks for the full-time player.

                      I haven't done a rigourous check of my math but the numbers seem to be reasonable. (Rechecked and edited)

                      The moral is: "Play enough poker and you WILL see everthing."


                      • #12
                        Thank you, very thorough


                        • #13
                          In reviewing my derivation I question the way I arrived at the % of time an opponent has a pair when you do. It may be that an opponent (at a 10 player table) has a pair 42% of the time when you have one. That will double the percentages I gave for you to be involved in a set over set battle.

                          When I decide which is correct I shall edit my post above.


                          • #14
                            I was in error and I edited my original response.

                            19.1% of deals will have 2 or more pair dealt at a 10 handed table.

                            If you are dealt a pair, you will be facing at least one other pair 42.0% of the time.

                            Since at least 2 pair is dealt 19.1% of the time. At least one set will flop 2.25% of the hands dealt. 0.267% of the deals will then have set over set. This is roughly 27 times in 10,000 hands. At 50 hands per hour, you will see set over set about every 8 hours if all pairs are played to flop.

                            This is for set over set at your table. My previous post was having a one specific player involved in a set over set match-up.

                            Sorry about the mix-up on the previous post.