Set Mining in Poker
There is no better feeling in Poker Cash Games than flopping a set. Your mind instantly turns to greed and gluttony, and you peer across at your opponents’ stack almost beckoning the chips to walk over to their new home.
It is one of the easiest ways to make money in poker and it is known in the game as set mining. So, grab hold of your pickaxe and put that helmet on because we are going to go mining.
Set mining is the strategy of playing pocket pairs with the sole intention of flopping a set. The theory is that by calling a small raise you can earn a lot of chips when you do strike gold.
The reason set mining is so effective is because it is so deceiving and such a small part of your overall calling range. You can also set up a war that your opponent is not likely to win, as the following example explains perfectly.
Example: There is a raise from the cutoff, a call on the button, and you overcall in the big blind with pocket fours. The flop is [Ac] [4d] [6h] and the action checks to the player in the cutoff, who is holding [Ad] [Kc].
Can you see how easy it is going to be to extract the other player’s chip in this situation?
The most important principle in set mining is implied odds. You are only going to flop a set once every eight attempts and so you are very unlikely to get the direct pot odds to enable you to make the call.
This means you need to consider stack size in order to give you the implied odds to make the call. Equally, this means that set mining is a strategy best deployed in deep-stacked cash games or deep stacked tournament play.