Poker Overpair

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In this situation, in which you have a pocket pair higher than the highest card on the board, you can either be in great shape or in horrible shape. Our guy Smitty had a great drawing hand that didn’t make in the last chapter. Let’s see how some other situations are likely to play out. If you raise with Q-Q and get two callers before the flop, you can assume one or more of the following will be true:

✦ You are up against at least one overcard. Many poker players will not call a raise unless they have an Ace or a King with their other card complementing it. If this is the case, you will also know.

✦ You have two of the outs overcards would need in order to make a straight. As an added bonus, if another Queen comes, you have at least a set and maybe a full house!

✦ You could very well be up against a lower pocket pair. Heads-up, a higher pair is about a 4:1 favorite over a lower one. Of course, if you get re-raised…

✦ You could be up against A-A, K-K, or A-K. You’re a slight favorite over A-K, but a 4:1 underdog against a higher pair.

In hands in which several good hands are butting heads, there’s the possibility of big hands beating slightly less-big hands. It’s not unusual for an Ace-high flush to beat an Ace-high straight, and a full house will often show up when a flush is made.

TIP: Be very aware when a make you, make me situation comes up. For example, Doug recently made an Acehigh flush while playing in Atlantic City. What he failed to realize is that the card giving him the flush also paired the board and gave the winner a full house. Always be aware! This is a very common occurrence. That’s a horrible mistake for an (allegedly) good player to make, but make it he did.

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We’ll now turn to some statistical analysis of how big hands compete against each other. First, we’ll set the hands for your two opponents as A-T and K-J, and the flop as shown in the figure below:

Your overpair could hold up against your opponents’ hands



The pocket Queens are still in the lead as of the flop, but it is directly vulnerable to any Jack, King, or Ace, as a Jack will give an opponent trips, and a King or Ace will make someone two pair. As of the flop, however, both hands are either on a draw or are behind. If the turn is the Q, you have now made a power set of Queens but are now threatened on the river by discovered outs (outs that did not exist on the flop but appeared on the turn). Specifi cally, any diamond except the Jack or Four gives the Ace-Ten hand a flush. You’ll notice that the Jack and Four of diamonds pairs the board and gives you a full house. On the other hand, all the outs from the flop for a higher two pair are now eliminated. The Jack will make it possible for KJ to make quads on the river, but we’ll let them go for those every time. If, on the other hand, the turn is the 8, you are still in the lead, but there are several things that can go wrong on the river because K-J now has a flush draw, and A-T has an open-ended straight draw. See Below.

Hold ’Em Hand Results

Hand Percentage of Money Won
Flop (9-J-4) Turn (Q) Turn (8)
QQ 57.8% 64.3% 52.4%
A10 18.0% 28.5% 14.3%
K-J 24.2% 7.1% 33.3%