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How to Play Two Pairs in Draw

The most perplexing holding in draw poker is two pairs. Playing other holdings is almost always a cut-and-dried matter compared with the problems faced by the man with two pairs. When holding two pairs, if the man on your right opens, by all means bump.

You will have to do your raising before the draw, because, holding two pairs, it is important to drive everyone out as quickly as possible.

The reason for this is that your chances of improving with the draw are very slim. There is only one possible holding you can _ improve to-a full house--and the chances of your filling up on a draw to two pairs are about the same as your chances of catching to an inside straight, roughly 11 to 1.

For this reason, you should bet heavily before the draw, and, if you fail to improve, check after the draw.

Much will depend on where you are sitting. If a man on your right opens, an immediate raise may force those who have not already bet out of the hand. Thus, the number of those who will be drawing to a pair and, perhaps, outdrawing you, is reduced.

If you open the betting and catch a raise from a man on your left, call when it comes around to you, unless you are holding a strong two pair (e.g., aces up). If you open and a man on your right raises when it gets around to him, raise back with two pairs.

This will make it pretty expensive for the others, and while they are in for something already, some will fold rather than throw in twice as much to protect their original call.

If you opened and everyone stays, but no one raises, check, after the draw, unless you fill up or have aces up. This is simply protection for your hand.

If you open and draw one card, the other players know you hold either two pairs or three of a kind, and if any of them catches three of a kind, he may bump you and will certainly win. You have little to gain by betting, and will often lose.

Tim McGovern is a racing fan, owner and trainer for over 30 years. Thoroughbred racing partnerships and real estate partnerships are now the focus of his energy. This article and many more are available at 99To1.com.

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