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Post Flop Play: Playing an Over Pair

An “over pair” in No Limit Hold Em is when you are holding a pair larger than the board, and usually is considered to be a pair over pocket nines. You really want them to be in that range or above to feel comfortable on a low board because your opponent’s odds of catching one over card will go down significantly on the turn and river.

 

You want to play your over pair much in the same way you would if you were holding top pair. Bet out aggressively with your hand so that you will not get called by drawing hands, or opponents holding 2 big over cards.

 

To process how to play the hand you will want to look at the board, specifically for straight and flush draws. There are a lot of situations you can get into when holding an over pair on the flop, and there are some specific guidelines you can follow to increase your chance of not getting yourself into trouble, and taking down the pot.

 

On a board that is all low rags with no straight or flush possibilities, you can be fairly certain you have the best hand, as those with small 2 pair possibilities should have folded before the flop. Here you want to be betting about half the pot.

 

If your opponent is a solid tight aggressive player, you are going to usually see either a fold, or a raise. If you get raised, you can consider that you will be facing something in the range of top pair, top kicker. His re-raise lets him know where he is at, and a re-pop by you should induce a fold. Against a more passive player in this situation, if you get called, you can expect them to be holding top pair or better. A passive player will not raise you here. You can safely bet again on the turn, however if your called or raised, you might want to check the river.

 

The other common flop you are going to see when holding an over pair is one that has a straight and/or flush draw. You need to play more aggressive in this situation, as you really do not want anyone with one card straight or flush draws hitting their hand. Here betting ¾ of the pot, and sometimes the full pot works well.

 

Against the TAG player, you are rarely going to be seeing a drawing hand being played. If you get raised here, they are probably putting you on a draw. You can make a re-raise and possibly force a fold, however if you get re-popped, you must respect their hand.

 

A passive player is also going to be calling with top pair or better and will play the hand similar to a TAG player in this situation. If you are playing an opponent with a high aggression factor, you have to be careful. An aggressive player will chase his draw to at least the turn. If the turn bricks them, bet enough to push them out of the pot.

 

If the flop is paired, all suited, or connected you must proceed with caution, as you are probably not good here with your over pair. You should be bet/folding the flop in this situation. The most important thing to do when holding an over pair is to extract maximum value when you have the winner, and to lose the minimum when you are second best.

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