Sets, Trips and Redraws in No Limit Poker

By Adam Jacobs - Verstehen on the Low Limit Poker Forum


Set: three of a kind with a pair in the hole. Many players confuse a set with trips. A set is a far stronger hand for two reasons. First, it is much better disguised. If you hold 66 and the flop is AQ6, someone holding AK or AQ will probably go all the way against your hand. Second, you more frequently have a disguised re-draw with a set.

Trips: three of a kind with a pair on the board. This is a strong hand but vulnerable in three ways:

1) The pair on the board makes people worried, so you may not make much money
2) Your kicker may not be good, in which case you could lose a lot
3) You may make a full house but lose to a bigger one


You Hold:   And The Flop Is:
Eight of Clubs Seven of Clubs
Hole Cards
Seven of Hearts Seven of Diamonds Queen of Diamonds

This is a favorable flop for 87. Aside from dream flops like 569 or 887, this puts you ahead of majority of your opponents' holdings. Nonetheless, you need to be careful, because if you get a lot of action with this hand, it's more likely that you're beat.

At least three problematic things can happen with this hand:

1) Your opponent has QQ or Q7; in this case you are already basically drawing dead. (If he has QQ, you have 1 out, since you could make four sevens to beat queens full)

2) A queen comes on the turn; now you have a full house (sevens full of queens) but anyone with a queen has a bigger full house (queens full of sevens). You should not be calling big bets when there are two pairs on the board and you have the lower full house. Very occasionally you will be bluffed out of medium sized pot, but your hand has almost no chance of improving at this point.

3) A six comes on the turn and your opponent shoves all in; it is possible he holds either 76 or 66; even if he doesn't, you're still behind to A7-97. You are only beating 75, 74, 73, 72 and a very clueless individual who thinks that KQ is still the best hand here.

4) A big card comes on the turn, and your opponent shoves all in; in this case he may have hit a bigger full house, and you are again drawing to one or zero outs.

Of course, trips is still a strong hand. If you bet and get called in this example, it's entirely possible your opponent holds two diamonds, a queen, a pair in the hole, or a seven with a worse kicker (maybe he was in the blinds and has a junk hand like 74o).

Ideally, you want the 8 (diamond) to come on the turn. Hopefully your opponent makes a flush but is drawing dead to your full house. Or else your opponent has a queen or a big pair in the hole and just doesn't believe you have a 7.

With trips, you want to be careful calling big all-in bets when you don't have a great kicker. If someone moves all-in on the Q776 board and you're thinking about calling, consider what hands he could have. You beat any queen, any overpair, any 6 and any 7 with a worse kicker (75/74/73/72). However, you're losing to a fair number of likely hands: any 7 with a better kicker, 76, 66 and QQ. If your opponent has A7 you're going to lose a big pot most of the time, although about 18% of the time you'll split the pot when another Q or 6 comes on the river. You certainly can't fold every time, but be wary of calling big all-in bets on paired board when you have a medium kicker.

Re-draws: A re-draw occurs when you have a hand that can be drawn out on, but can hit a card on the river that wins the hand.

A common example

You Hold:   And The Flop Is:
Seven of Spades Seven of Clubs
Hole Cards
Three of Diamonds Seven of Diamonds Ace of Spades

You bet and get raised. You move all-in and your opponent calls with

Ace of Diamonds Jack of Diamonds
Hole Cards

which is not a bad play by him. He has top pair, a decent kicker, and a draw to the top flush.

The turn is

Three of Diamonds Seven of Diamonds Ace of Spades   Five of Diamonds
Flop   Turn

and he makes his flush, but you now have a re-draw.

The river is

Three of Diamonds Seven of Diamonds Ace of Spades   Five of Diamonds   Ace of Hearts
Flop   Turn   River

and your full house beats his ace-high flush.

Notice that you had ten outs on the turn; any 3, 5, or ace makes you a full house; you also have one out to four-of-a-kind (the 7 (heart)). You will still lose most of the time, but over 20 percent of the time you'll re-draw to a full house or quads.

Sets and trips have identical outs for re-draws. If you hold 87 on a Q776 board, you have 10 outs just as you would with 77 on a 37A5 board. However, if you are not all-in and there is going to be any betting on the river, the set is much stronger. In the first example, if another 6 comes and the board reads Q7766, no one is going to call a bet without at least a full house (and possibly a better one like queens full). If the board reads 37A5A, your opponent with a nut flush has a difficult decision; perhaps he thinks you are loose and you may be betting AJ on the river. He will probably call a reasonably sized bet with the nut flush, or even raise, when you make your full house.

In summary, when you redraw to a big hand with a set, you will often get action from a worse hand; when you redraw to a big hand with trips, you will much less frequently get action from a worse hand.

Flush re-draws

Another redraw possibility is a flush-over-flush redraw:

You raise with

You Hold:   And The Flop Is:
Ace of Hearts King of Clubs
Hole Cards
King of Hearts Seven of Spades Six of Hearts

You bet and your opponent raises all in. You call, thinking he might have a draw or KQ. He shows

Seven of Hearts Eight of Hearts
Hole Cards

At this point you are a very slim favorite, with about a 53% chance of winning. Your opponent can make a flush, three sevens, two pair or a runner-runner straight.

The turn is

King of Hearts Seven of Spades Six of Hearts   Two of Hearts
Flop   Turn

and he makes his flush. However, you'll still win 16% of the time here; because you hold a higher heart, you can re-draw to a higher flush. So the river is

King of Hearts Seven of Spades Six of Hearts   Two of Hearts   Queen of Hearts
Flop   Turn   River

and your A high flush beats his K high flush.

Occasionally there will also be a straight flush redraw. Example:

You hold

Nine of Diamonds Ten of Diamonds
Hole Cards

Your opponent raises and you decide to call.

The flop is

Eight of Diamonds Jack of Diamonds Three of Clubs

Your opponent bets and you raise all-in as a semi-bluff. He calls and unfortunately for you, he is also semi-bluffing: he holds

Ace of Diamonds King of Diamonds
Hole Cards

Even with your two-way draw, your opponent is about a 58% favorite; he's winning now (ace high is the best hand) and your outs are drastically reduced because he is holding two diamonds, and a diamond turn no longer makes you the best hand.

Now the


hits on the turn. You're not dead! You have two outs:

Qd and 7d

will give you a straight flush to beat his ace-high flush. It's slim but you'll still win here 4.5% of the time.

Keep in mind that even when your opponent draws out on you with an underdog hand, you may still have a decent chance of winning the hand on the river.