Two pair with a pair on the board

This situation is far less desirable than a split two pair. For instance, you have raised with

and the flop comes

àAà m ««oí

▼ ▼ àV

Unfortunately, in low-limit games, many players are willing to play almost any two cards, so it's hard to figure the probability of somebody having an eight. There is one obvious consideration — the more opponents you have, the more likely it is that one of them has flopped trips. If the entire table takes the flop, and there's lots of action, you must get out. While you may have the best hand, you can't play it with any degree of certainty, and somebody with an eight may just wait and then check-raise you on the river.

In the above situation, it's worthwhile for you to bet on the flop, hoping to win the pot right there. However, if you get called, you have to slow down. You could be up against somebody with a ten, which is fine, but you also may have run into an eight. You should now check on the turn, but be prepared to call a bet on the river. Somebody may represent an eight and you can catch the bluff, but don't give somebody who really does have an eight the opportunity to raise you on the expensive bets.2 Note that betting on the turn and river is a lose-lose situation for you. If you have the best hand, nobody can call you (for fear of the third eight). If you don't have the best hand, you'll get called or raised. If you bet the flop, and check the turn, you should be prepared to call a bet on the river if you don't have a lot of opponents and no over-cards to your pair have fallen. If they check to you again on the river after you've checked the turn, you should bet.

One final thought about this situation: many players would never raise with an eight on the flop — they would wait until the turn to raise. If that's the sort of player you're up against and he raises on the flop, then you can treat your queens as the best hand and keep betting.

Obviously, if the board is paired overyour pocket pair, you can fold at the first opportunity. In this case, you might not win even if you catch your miracle card.

The situation is similar if you pair one of your cards, and the other two cards are a pair. For instance, you have A4-J* and the flop comes J A-6 v-64. You can play it as you would the first example. However, note that if you catch your miracle card (another jack), you will now terrify somebody with a six, and he will just check and call, if that. Furthermore, you have to split the pot with the case jack if somebody has it. Therefore, this hand is even weaker than the first example and should be treated as such.

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