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Strategy for Beginners – Set Mining

Strategy for Beginners – Set Mining

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Set mining is easily one of the simplest and most straightforward ways to simplify one’s post-flop decisions and to make solid money at the NL Holdem tables. As a matter of fact, the move represents such an efficient short-cut for most rookies that it alone can turn a player profitable, provided it’s used in a proper and efficient manner. Grasping the math behind set mining can be a bit challenging for a rookie, because it’s based on the implied odds, but it’s definitely not rocket science.

What exactly is set mining though? A player who set-mines is basically including small and medium pocket pairs into his starting hand selection, with one thing in mind: to make a set on the flop. The decision that set mining has players faced with is an extremely simple one: if he hits his set on the flop, he will do whatever it takes to make the pot as large as possible. If he misses, he simply folds it. It’s really nothing but ABC poker.

Now then, you’ll tell me that this is a pretty risky path to follow, because against aggressive opponents, it will cost quite a bit to see the flop every time you pick up a pocket pair. On top of that, you’ll often find that when you do make a set, it’s extremely easy to build the pot against players who have straights and flushes, and much more difficult against players with top pairs or two pairs. The bottom line: it’s not as easy to make set mining pay as it’s often made up to be, but it is a viable strategy and it does indeed yield handsome dividends for those skilled enough to properly apply it. For such players, the implied odds kick in making the proposition a profitable one in the long-run. They may lose money seeing all those flops and dropping all those massive pots to straights and flushes, but at the end of the day, they’ll make all that back plus a bit on the side by making those top pair and two pair guys pay.

The reasoning behind why set mining is profitable is a rather straightforward one: sets are usually the best hands on the flop, and they do in fact stand a more than decent chance to maintain that status past the flop too.

When is it best to go set-mining? While set-mining can be used in cash games and tournaments alike, one has to make sure that one all-important prerequisite is met: deep stacks. Set mining should only be employed in deep-stack games, which is pretty much the reason why it’s most often preferred by cash game players, seeing how in tournaments, stacks are seldom ever deep enough.

It’s almost needless to say that set mining works best from position. Being in position simplifies all decisions and it offers the player much better control over the size of the pot as well.

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