Deep stack no-limit hold em cash games are becoming more and more popular in the poker world, and one piece of information that is crucial to have for any situation in these games is your implied odds. One of the best and most profitable ways to work your implied odds is set mining.
When you are set mining you are going to be playing in a hand with a pocket pair, usually a smaller one, with the only goal being to flop a set. The logic is that when you hit your set you can play for a very large pot, but still have great ability to keep your hand strength a secret.
You are only going to flop a set about 1 out of every 8 times you see a flop with a pocket pair. This means when you are holding that medium pair against a big hand, and make that call, your only going to take the lead on the flop once out of every eight times the situation occurs. You will often not be getting great pot odds, but by picking your situation well, and set mining against the right players, you have great implied odds. If you flop top set against Aces, you are a 90% favorite to win, and against a tight player who has been waiting for those aces all night, that can mean a nice payday.
Really the only situations in which you want to be set mining is when you are holding a pretty deep stack. This means you have at least one hundred big blinds in your stack, and you really want to be around the two hundred big blind mark to be comfortable making this play.
You are a big underdog to monster pairs before the flop when holding a hand like 88 or 99. Against Aces, you are about a 4-1 dog, so it s crucial to put yourself in position so that when you do hit your set and win, you will make up for all the other times that you didn’t, and still net some profit as well. This is why in most online tournaments, set mining will bring you nothing but frustration, you just will not have a deep enough stack to be effective.
The other component of the hand that is very important to be aware of is your opponents stack. You only want to be set mining against players who have you covered, because when you hit, you want to get all the money in and double up. The flip side of this is that pre-flop, you want to be able to get in for as little money as possible. If you have to call to big a raise pre-flop, it can play a long term impact on your stack, as you don’t want to have to put in more money pre-flop to lose than you do to win.
Besides that, you still need to play your flopped set well in order to get paid off. Strong players will be well aware of this tactic, and will be looking to avoid it. A good player will recognize that you didn’t raise before the flop, so you probably aren’t holding a major pocket pair, and you holding a set is very possible. Don’t be surprised to see someone show you their Aces once in a while as they fold.
On the other hand, against a novice player, it will be quite easy to get them to dump you all of their chips to you while holding Aces against your pocket nines with a nine on the board. If your up against the guy who has been waiting all night for that big pair, then chances are that your going to get paid off no matter how you play it.
If you are in a situation where you made your set, and you are bet into with what you feel is a continuation bet, or a bluff, then you should be raising to see how strong they truly are. This does a couple things, one is it gets more money in the pot and two it shows that you may just be trying to push him off the hand. Only a hand that beats pocket Aces would flat call on a dry board, so raising will give you a little guise.
You will often get your raise called and then your opponent will check the turn. You want to keep the player committed by using value bets. Bet as if you had the same mediocre pair, but were putting him on a bluff. This will keep your bets the right size to make him want to call.
When hitting your set, take your time and analyze the situation, and work to put your opponent on a hand, and also figure out what they are putting you on. Set mining when done properly will do nothing but expand your bankroll.