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  • September 25, 2020

Essential Texas Hold'em Moves: Set-Mining

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Set-Mining is calling a smallish raise pre-flop in the hopes of flopping a set, also called three-of-a-kind. It is a move that is somewhat of a passive play, however it involves taking a calculated risk. This is unusual in poker, because in general being the most aggressive pre-flop is encouraged.
In the case of Set-Mining a player’s main goal is to see the flop for the right price. Too much and you might end up losing more than you make when you do hit. Too little and you just won’t get the right value for your hand, when you do flop a set.
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The What: Set-mining is the practice of playing pocket pairs solely for the purpose of hitting a set. By calling a small raise before the flop you can win big pots from players when you flop three of a kind.
The Why: Set-mining is effective because three of a kind is usually the best hand on the flop, and stands a good chance of being the best hand at showdown. Sets are also very well disguised so you’ll win big pots against premium pocket pairs, strong stop-pair and two-pair hands.
The When: Set-mining can be used in any deep-stacked Texas Hold’em game, cash or tournament, but it’s most commonly used in cash games since stacks are generally much deeper than tournaments.
The Where: Like most poker moves, set-mining works best when you’re in position. Look for early position opening raises and just call pre-flop with your small and medium pocket pairs. By taking advantage of your position you’ll be able to make more profitable decisions post-flop.
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When to Set-Mine
Timing and position are very important factors when it comes to Set-Mining. In other words, you want to be as close to the Button as possible. This position will guarantee that you are last to act in the hand post-flop – enabling you to make profitable post-flop decisions.
You must be confident that you will get paid, if you do flop a set. It’s all well and good to hit three-of-a-kind. Give yourself a healthy pat on the back. However, if your opponent is passive or reluctant to bet, you will end up winning a small pot for all your Set-Mining efforts.
Also, you will only flop a set approximately 1 in 8 times. Therefore, if you are going to take Set-Mining seriously, you need to have a decent stack of chips to withstand the many times you won’t hit that elusive set and are forced to fold.
The single most important concept you need to understand in order to set-mine effectively is “implied odds”.
Because you’re only going to flop a set one in eight times it’s critical that when you do hit three of a kind, you get paid off. Implied odds are a way of understanding what you stand to win if you hit your hand.
An extension of pot odds, implied odds take into account money that’s not yet in the pot, but can be expected to be put in on later streets.
Let’s take a closer look at the mechanics of implied odds and how they relate to set-mining.
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