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Poker - Set mining

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Low to medium limit online poker cash games have become so competitive these days one needs to reach really deep into his/her bag of tricks to make money on these tables. The mentality of just tossing everything that doesn’t have at least two cards in it, into the muck won’t get you far here. Advanced concepts like set mining is what you need to deploy, and you need to exploit those implied odds every time you can.

Let me introduce you to set mining and to the notion of implied odds in a simple and straightforward manner. I’ll assume that you know how to calculate your mathematical odds in a hand (by comparing the pot odds with the odds of you making a hand that you reckon is the best at the table and will land you the pot). That is kind of important, because if you go after the implied odds, you’re going to have to go against what mathematics tells you to do.

Set mining consists in seeing (a preferably cheap) flop on any pocket pair that you pick up. You do this in the hope that you’ll land a set on the flop. If you do, then you won’t just have the best hand at the table, you’ll have it perfectly concealed as well. If you don’t land a set, just fold it.

I’m perfectly aware that this doesn’t look like a mathematically correct move, and it isn’t. You’ll have to invest money into those flops that you see, and given that you’re chasing a 2-outer every time, you’ll only seldom land a set this way. In the long-run, this is going to cost you serious money. So, the question is: if you know you’re losing money on it, why do it? The answer’s simple: implied odds.

That’s right, this is where the implied odds kick in. While it is true that you’ll lose money seeing all those flops, the few times that you do land your set (because of the fact that it is so well concealed) you’re likely to make a lot of money on them. So much money in fact, that you won’t just make up for all your losses (that you incurred chasing your sets) but you’ll have some profit left over too.

As you can probably tell, the profitability of the set mining setup hinges on two variables: the amount of money you lose while seeing your flops (which has to be minimized) and the amount of money you win when you do hit them (which has to be maximized). If you fail to maintain the right balance between these two variables, your set-mining operation will blow up in your face.

How do you minimize your losses? By seeing cheap flops (if that’s possible at all) or by playing your small pairs aggressively and taking down pots on them on later streets, even if you fail to make your set.
<a href="">Rakeback</a> is also a way, albeit a much more subtly-acting one. A rakeback deal like the <a href="">Full Tilt rakeback</a> will give you a nice rake rebate on the poker rake that you’ll generate by seeing all those flops. Mind you that by set mining, you’re bound to generate lots of <a href="">poker rake</a> even in rooms which collect weighted contributed rake.

How do you maximize your winnings? By making sure you have a proper stack at the table which you can put to work every time you need to. A small stack will earn you little money while a large stack will earn you a lot.

Make sure you know the calling habits of your opponents. While set mining is very difficult to spot, some players can do it, or they’re just easily intimidated and won’t go all the way on any one hand. Against such players, set mining may lose its profitability.

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