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Digging for Big Pots: How and When to Set Mine in Texas Hold'em

10 February 2016, By: compncards
Set mining used to be considered more of an intermediate skill set in poker.

With the evolution of Texas Holdem in the last decade, though, even beginner players need to look for opportunities to set mine.

For those unfamiliar with the term, set mining is playing a small to medium pocket pair with the sole intention of catching a set on the flop in the hopes of winning a huge pot.

Today we'll talk about set mining, when do to it and how to protect your hand in certain spots.

When to Set Mine

The purpose of set mining is to create a situation that will potentially win you a huge pot. So you need to pick the right situation.

Obviously, if you have a small- to mid-pair in late position or on the button, this is a solid time to set mine as you will be last to act. But it's not the only time you should do so.

I like to set mine in what is known as family pots. These are pots where you have more two or more limpers ahead of you or someone makes a raise and gets a bunch of callers.

The key to playing a family pot is to get in as cheap as possible. If you get in a crazy game where multiple people are calling big raises or three-bets, just wait for a better spot.

I also like to set mine against hyper-aggressive players provided that you're not playing for more than 15% of your stack pre-flop. In most cases you don’t want to risk more than 10 to 15% of your stack pre-flop in a set mining attempt.

Also, keep in mind that you're only going to hit your set about 12% of the time so you may want to consider limiting your set mining to days you happen to keep catching low pair.

Protecting Your Hand When You Actually Hit

You were dealt pocket sevens in a three-way pot and actually caught your third seven on the flop.

Great! How you proceed will determine how much you win or if you’re about to set yourself up to get stacked.

Check out the board texture. Are there any potential straight or flush draws on the board?

If there are no draws on the board, then you have the option of slow playing your hand and hopefully have your opponents bet into you.
If you can slow play on the flop, your best bet is to check-call bets from your opponent to set them up for the turn.

When the turn hits, reevaluate the board again. If a draw has begun to develop it's time for you to make them pay to chase that draw. Bet enough to force a fold or chase with the worst of it.

If you still believe your set is best, you can either continue to slow play to the river or try to pull off a check-raise. Keep in mind that if you check-raise here your opponent may decide to abandon the hand.

It basically boils down to whether you believe you can get his entire stack on the river. When the river hits, now's the time to make your move provided that a draw didn’t complete.

If a draw completed you need to evaluate whether your opponent indeed filled that draw or if was chasing with something else. Should you believe that your set is good, your action should be based on how you believe your opponent will act.

If you think he'll check, go ahead and make a bet and size it to invite a call. A big bet on the river may force him out of the hand.

If your opponent has been pushing the action the whole hand, go ahead and check and see if he'll continue to do so. Should he push the action, spring the trap and make him pay.

No Risk – No Reward

Remember, you'll only hit a set about 12% of the time on the flop so you want to manage the risk versus the reward when set mining.

If you're in a loose game or against a hyper-aggressive opponent that will likely pay you off, then you may want to set mine a little more.

Set mining is also a solid strategy against a rockier player whom you are certain is only coming into the pot with a certain range.

You will have to play a bit more cautiously but when you hit your set against his big pair he'll likely pay you off.

Set mining is an intermediate tool that all beginners need to incorporate. It's a bit risky, but you have to take some risk in poker in order to reap the rewards.

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