How to Play a Flopped Set
While most players look at this as a perfect slow play opportunity, the board and amount of players left is going to dictate exactly how you proceed when you flop a set. Now before we go any further, you need to realize the difference between a set and trips and yes there is one. Trips is when there are two cards matching one of your cards on the board. If you have a set, the board has a card that matches the pocket pair you are holding. You would be surprised at how many people confuse the two and what the different betting strategies are for both of these hands.
The first thing that you need to look at is the board. Is there a flush draw or straight draw on the board? Is the board loaded with over cards that you may have t deal with? The second issue is how many players are left? Are you head to head or are you dealing with 2 or players? All of these factors combines are going to dictate exactly how you play out your set.
Let’s assume you are holding 77 and the board hits 7KQ rainbow. You are looking at 2 over cards and a possible straight. This is a dangerous hand in online poker and regardless of where you are and how many people are in the pot, you are going to hammer away. If you are first, lead out with a pot sized bet and try and get isolation with someone. If they come back over top of you, come right back at them. If they are sitting on their own set, it is just bad luck and you are going to have to deal with it, but you are not getting away from this hand.
Now if you have the same flop but 2 cards are suited, you need to take away the odds of the flush draw and actually want to bet more than the pot. It is important that you observed where the action originated if there was any pre-flop raising. I say this because you are going to assume that person is going to call you and you need to make a bet that is going to be enough to take the flush draw that is out there behind that player. Put them on a decision for all their chips if you have to, but do not allow a draw to get in cheap and take this pot away from you.
While both of these scenario’s have you at risk, the ideal situation would be a flop like 2-7-Q. There is not straight draw and no flush draw here and you would only have one over set to deal with and that is unlikely. If there are multiple players in the hand, you will either lead out if you are first to act or raise your opponents bet to get isolation. Bad things happen when you go into a turn with more than one person and you want to avoid that.
If you are head to head, you are in the perfect check raise position if they made an original raise. You can even get away with a smooth call if you in position as you can lure them to bet on the turn and then come over the top at this point. Once you have them head to head, you want to milk every penny that you can out of them. This is the ONLY time that you can risk slow playing your hand.
Remember, the board and players are going to dictate how you play out your hand. Do not get caught up in all the glory and excitement of hitting your set or get greedy. There is never a bad time to take down a pot. Slow play too much and you are just asking to get beat.