Set mining in NL Hold'em can be extremely profit, if done correctly. First off, what do we mean by the term, set mining?
This basically refers to a style of play where you try to see the flop, whenever reasonable, when you are holding a pocket pair. The idea being, that when you do flop a set, you will get paid off big, big enough to make up for all of the times when you called a preflop raise and didn't hit the flop. The key with set mining though, is that you need to make sure that you see a flop at a reasonable price everytime.
For instance, let's take a look at a favorable scenario. You are BB, and you are dealt 33 in a 6 handed 2/4 No Limit Game. There is a raise up to $14, and there are three callers of this raise. In this scenario, assuming everyone has $400 in chips, a call is appropriate here. Why? First off, it is only costing you $10 more to have a chance at a $60+ post. Pot odds demand a call to start with. Secondly, assuming someone has a hand like AA or KK, if the flop comes 3 J Q, you are probably going to win at least $200 in the pot, with all of these players. If you hit the flop every one out of 7 times, you can see that a $10 call when you are BB is a profitable move over time. Of course you will have situations where you lose to a flush or another set, but over time, it's a profitable move.
You just need to make sure that you aren't paying too much to see a flop. If you can, limp in, and if you must, then call a standard raise. But if you get a situation where you are dealt say, 22 in the BB, and someone in front of you raises to $12, followed by a re-raise to $44, then a call here is too expensive and not warranted. Over time, this will be a money-losing proposition.
People throw away low pairs in ring games most of the time if they are faced with a raise. If you are getting pot odds, don't throw it away! When you hit, you will get paid off big by someone holding a big pair or something like AK. If you are holding 22 and the flop comes 2 K 7 and your opponent has AK, you are going to take all of their money 90% of the time. People at the $2/$4 level just can not get away from a hand like that.
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