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How to Play a Flopped Set

January 20, 2023
by PokerStars Learn

In this episode of Learn with Lex, PokerStars Team Pro teaches essential poker tournament strategy, include how to alter your play with flopped sets and other strong hands. Focused on building large chip stacks and navigating short stack situations, using these techniques will help refine your poker play.

Focus on Ranges, Not Just Hands

To win in poker tournaments, focus on opponent ranges rather than just the specific hands. Determine ranges based on position, actions, stats, and make decisions accordingly. Ranges encompass all possible hands and thinking in these terms is key to advanced play. It’s about focusing on what your opponents’ cards are as well as your own.

Use a Timer to Learn Patience

Lex uses a timer in the video to demonstrate how much time can pass between decisions. Learning patience is critical to poker success as it prevents rash decisions and tilt. Take your time and don’t feel rushed into poor actions. Rushing to bet when you have flopped a strong hand such as three of kind can deter your opponents, use the time you have wisely.

Tighten Up Against Larger Raises

Against minimum raises, a wide range of hands can be played. But as raise sizes increase, tighten your range to avoid bloated pots with marginal holdings. Only continue with premium hands that can stand up to 3- and 4-bet pots.

Slow Playing Sets is Often Wrong

While slow playing big hands seems tempting, don’t do it without good reason. On dry boards, betting sets, quads, and flushes allows building big pots by getting action from draws and lesser hands. Check only if the board clearly favours your opponent’s range.  Betting is the best way to get maximum value, so trust your hand strength. In the example, Lex highlights that you don’t increase your stacks by checking to the river. Playing tactically and trying to get double or triple your stack per strong hand is key.

Use Small Bets When Multi-Way

Contrary to popular belief, small bets are often most effective in multi-way pots. They appear less threatening so opponents will call with many hands that would otherwise fold to a large bet. As more people call, this will build up the pot. If you’ve landed a set on the flop, minimum betting can keep more people in and help you increase your chip stack, allowing the pot to build. Small bets also allow more affordable bluffing as they encourage action in a way big bets do not.

Adjust Constantly According to Stack Depth

Constantly adjust your strategy based on increasing blind levels and your stack size. With around 10 big blinds or less, you should loosen up and look for spots to get your stack in with any reasonable hand like Ace-9 or King-Queen. But with around 15-20 big blinds, remain patient and wait for premium spots. Make changes level by level and don’t feel committed to any one style of play.

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