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Playing Top Pair for Value

Push high-value top pairs

by Ed Miller |  Published: Jul 09, 2010


In my last column, I argued that top pair is a critical hold’em hand because you make it frequently and because its value can vary widely from quite strong to nearly worthless. If you systematically overvalue or undervalue the hand, you’ll end up with some bad results. I divided top-pair hands roughly into two categories: those that you play for value and those that behave like bluff catchers. Last time, I discussed the unfortunate top-pair hands that become bluff catchers. This column is about playing top pair for value. When you flop top pair, you can usually begin playing as if you likely have the best hand. Sure, if you have 9-2 in the big blind of a nine-handed pot on a 9-8-7 flop, you don’t have squat. But these sorts of top-pair hands are uncommon even in loose games. More typically, you have a hand like K-J on a ...

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