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Set-Mining

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Tips for Set-Mining in NL Holdem

Set-Mining = Playing pocket pairs pre-flop hoping to catch a set on the flop.

Set mining is a favourite past-time for a lot of players in NL Holdem and its very obvious why. It’s extremely exciting waiting to catch that set on the flop, and to the unsuspected opponents these hands can be very rewarding when you successfully hit your set.

However there are a few problems and limits to set-mining that new players need to be aware off.  So much of the value from set-mining comes from implied odds and in this article I’ll cover all of these.

Conditions for Set-Mining

First of all the odds of you hitting a set on the flop are about 9%.  This means you need pot odds of 8:1 minimum to call.

However we can also look at other conditions for playing pocket pairs.  The more short-stack players in the hand the better your implied odds will be.  This is when you catch your set small stack opponents are far more likely to become pot-committed and call you all-in.  On contrast big stacks are bad players to set mine against because they will fold far more hands post-flop and not call you off as big.

You also need to know the range of hands you opponents are playing and subsequently how loose or tight they are.  It’s far more profitable set-mining against tight-opponents because they’ll pay you off better with premium hands post-flop, for example a player with AK who catches his Ace is more likely to pay you.  You’ll find it harder getting loose players limping lightly calling you off post-flop because unless they hit their monsters they’re nearly always folding, for example someone with 6h-7h isn’t going to call raises on a As-Jh-4d board.

Calling Raises Pre-Flop

You always want to limp into pots cheaply (unless you’re stealing from late position), however you can still afford to call pre-flop raises when set-mining, even more so when in position.  For example if someone raises 3xBBs pre-flop and there’s already 3 callers behind me then I’m definitely flat-calling too.  What’s more I actually think it’s better having more players in a raised pre-flop pot because this ensures a higher quality of cards e.g. QJ AJ 1010 etc.  These will pay you off better post-flop.

Calling 3Bets Pre-Flop

You can’t afford to call 3bets out of position with low-mid pocket pairs.  You can only call 3bets in position and with two or more players in the pot.  Along with this you need to have a stack above 100BBs and multiple opponents with big stacks to get paid off properly.

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