Set mining

Set mining

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Dear Tom,

In a cash game I will seldom throw away a pocket pair to a single raise because set-mining so often gets all the chips, but should I be paying more attention to implied odds? What are the conditions to make set-mining profitable and when is it unprofitable in the long run?

Leo, London

Dear Leo,

Set mining can strike gold but you can expend a constant drip of resources in the search. You remember getting all the chips better than you remember getting raised off it before the flop. So you want a low chance of a further raise behind you – that’s number one profitable condition. Number two is implied odds, so, yes, you need to be deep. The earlier your position the deeper you need to be. Calling on the button with 20-25BB will eke out a bit of value if you’re sure coming over the top wont take down the pot. In early position, calling a raise and then getting squeezed behind can leave you in a no-win situation if you aren’t deep – either calling without enough implied odds or relinquishing the chips you’ve invested and looking like a woopsy to boot.

As for unprofitable set mining, when sets lose, it’s often unavoidable because of the inherent difficulty of distinguishing between a made flush or straight and a draw, although obviously knowledge of your opponent helps and if you are literally incapable of folding a set then you have a problem. However it’s likely the drip of expensive calls without long implied odds that makes set mining unprofitable. Check your Poker Tracker stats for the profitability of small and medium pairs. In NLH and PLH there’s no excuse for them not to be positive, but don’t expect them to be massive.


Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy, set-mining