Five Quick Tips—How to Play Three of a Kind

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FIVE QUICK TIPS

HOW TO PLAY THREE OF A KIND IN POKER

Three of a kind is one of the middle-ranked hands and can win a lot of pots, but it can still result in heavy losses if played recklessly. In a perfect world, after getting three of a kind, you would hit another pair as well, making a full house. However, this doesn't always happen. Most of the time, you’ll be left trying to play three of a kind, and that can be a very tricky prospect if you don't approach the task with a lot of aggression and a small amount of caution. Here are five quick tips for playing three of a kind.

1. WATCH OUT FOR AN OBVIOUS STRAIGHT OR FLUSH

A sneaky straight or flush is the bane of people playing three of a kind; they are the most common higher ranked hand you will encounter. There is nothing more demoralizing than heading to the river with three of a kind, only to realize that there are four cards making up a straight or flush on the board during the showdown. So, if the round progresses past the flop, check for any obvious higher combinations on the board before you commit too much of your stack. It may just save your chips, and your sanity.

2. TRY TO AVOID SLOW PLAYING

Slow playing can keep your opponents guessing about the strength of your cards, but it also carries a severe risk of another player getting a better hand as the round continues. Three of a kind is a good hand, but you should avoid slow playing as a general rule of thumb. Obviously, there may come a time when you think the reward outweighs the risk, just be aware of the potential consequences.

3. PLAY AGGRESSIVELY

You don’t want the game to progress much further past the turn when you hit a three of a kind. The longer the round continues, the greater the odds someone else will get a better hand. Make a large bet, at least six times the big blind, plus an extra blind for every other player already in the hand, don’t be afraid to re-raise. If your bet fails to make everyone fold, then your secondary objective should be to scare away as many players as possible, the fewer people in the hand, the better. Ideally, you want to be up against only one other person on the river.

4. DON'T STAY IN A HAND JUST BECAUSE YOU FEEL POT COMMITTED

Just because you have already committed chips to a pot, doesn't mean you are locked into the hand. If you suspect an opponent has a winning hand, don't feel obligated to continue the round; folding and living to play another day is still an option. The chips already in the pot are gone, and you won't get them back by playing a losing hand until the bitter end.

5. BEWARE OF OVERCONFIDENCE

Three of a kind is a good hand and can win you lots of pots, but it's not invincible. Don't forget, it's only slightly better than two pair. Don't be caught in the trap of thinking your three of a kind is unbeatable and overcommit to the hand; it will only end in tears, and a significant loss of chips.