Pocket pairs can be great hands in Texas Hold’em. High pairs like AA and KK can win pots without improving. Lower pairs like 22 and 33 often need help but when it arrives the hand can be dominant. For example if you hold 22 then the odds of flopping a set are about 10 to 1. When that 2 does come on the flop you can often win the pot with 3 of a kind. Even better, the 3 of a kind can easily turn into a full house. However, players often get into trouble with low pairs by not getting away from the hand when they don’t flop the set.
The chart below shows the odds of one or more over cards coming by the flop, turn or river. Specifically looking at Jacks as an example, the chart shows that when you hold Jacks, the odds of at least one Queen, King or Ace flopping are about 57 percent. (No wonder everyone hates JJ!) Note how things change as the pairs get lower. By the time you get down to 77, the chart shows that it is almost certain that one or more over cards will come on board if the hand plays out to the river.
Looking at the below chart, you can easily see how many overcards are possible and the odds that there will be no overs (abbreviated N/O.) You can see how this formula works by looking at JJ on the flop. There are 12 possible cards of a higher value (queens, kings and aces) which means there are 38 under cards. The no overcard value of JJ for the first card on the flop would be 38/50, or 76% chance of it not being an overcard. Then the next card has a 37/49 chance, and third board card, 36/48. Then, take these numbers and run it through this formula: 1 – (N/O Formula 1)*(N/O Formula 2)*(N/O Formula 3) or in this case 1-(38/50)*(37/49)*(36/48) which equals .0.57 or 57%. See the below chart for pairs 77 – KK. You can right click and save the chart onto your computer if you prefer.