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One of the most common combinations in poker is a Pair. It is precisely because it is very common that it has the smallest value. But this article is devoted to overpair. This particular case shows us that the power of the pair can be quite significant.

We already know that a Pair’s weight directly depends on its face value. Naturally, a pair of kings that you got in your starting hand is already a good start. How it will be played in the next stages also depends on what kind of cards will be on the table.

Pairs in poker also have internal, so to speak, distributions – according to their face value. It makes sense that a pair of queens is worth more than a pair of sixes in terms of overall quality. We will focus on the concept of overpair.

What is an overpair in poker


An overpair means pocket cards of identical denomination, while their value is higher than those cards on the board (on the table) at this stage of the game.
Let’s look at a few illustrative examples to better understand the overpair and those options where this term is unacceptable, for whatever reason.

Imagine the following situation – three of the five cards are open on the board – two, four and nine (of any suit), and the player has a pocket pair of tens – this is not called a pair of tens, but an overpair, since the cards on the board are smaller than tens at their face value. The strongest of them is the nine.

In the second case – the player still has the same tens in the starting hand, but now the seven, three and jack are on the table. Here, the participant has the usual pair of tens since the jack on the board is higher than them in value. So there is no overpair here.

In the third case – on the board, there are the following cards – off-suit king, nine and seven, but the participant has pocket cards from the king and ace (of different suits). We can’t call the case of matching two kings an overpair since only the player’s pocket pairs fit into this definition, and here is one king in hand and the second on the board – a common one. These two identical cards are called Top Pair.

So, we figured out what exactly is called an overpair in poker. This knowledge will be especially useful for novice players to feel more confident during future games and make it easier to assess the situation at the table, make certain decisions and choose a bet.

Overpair advantage in poker

Let’s find out the possible advantages or pros of an overpair combination. So, this combination can be quite good for its owner, especially in cases where it consists of Broadway cards, that is, of tens, jacks, queens, kings or aces (high cards of the deck), and among them, the most successful are considered picture cards – jack, queen, king, ace.

There is a reason for this – if a player already has two, for example, kings, and there are no cards of a higher rank on the table (after all, we have an overpair), the probability that something higher will be appear in the next stages is not very high.

Another advantage of overpairs is that these are pocket cards, which means that your opponents do not see them and, accordingly, do not understand the strength of your hand. So, provided that opponents’ hands are weaker, you can play your game more aggressively or confidently.

Degree of an overpair strength


Now let’s discuss the degree of strength of an overpair hand – in poker, it has two categories: high degree and medium degree. We want to note right away that for pocket pairs of fives or sixes, the definition of an overpair is used since opponents will have too many options to beat these cards with a better combination.

A high degree of overpair power belongs to the top pairs of Broadway. These cards are considered the most successful option in terms of drawing. As we have already read above, it is optimal to make an overpair from cards with pictures, where the pocket pair of aces is the strongest. So with further opening cards on the board, opponents have less chance of strengthening their hands. Only fairly strong combinations can beat the same overpair of aces, and they do not come together very often.

Medium overpairs – pocket pairs of tens or jacks have a lower degree of strength, this is because there are small cards on the board, so to speak, and opponents can call your bet or even make a raise while waiting for more favourable community cards, and later – on the next street – get top pair, two pair, or even a straight.

To evaluate the strength of your overpair, as in any other combination in poker, you need to do more than look at your cards and the board. It is worth considering the stage of the trade and the size of the stacks, the rank of hole cards and, of course, trying to read the opponent and guess their position.

Summing up, we repeat once again that an overpair combination is only a pocket combination, made up of those cards that the player received in the starting hand. An overpair is a pair of cards of identical rank that exceeds the face value of the community cards on the board. This combination has categories of strength – an overpair of queens, kings or aces is clearly higher and stronger than an overpair of sevens, fives, etc. Of course, no successful hand can give you a guarantee of winning. So prepare carefully, read the tutorials, and practice your skills. Then you will have the opportunity to get not only pleasure from poker but also profit.

The biggest mistake


For many players, having a pocket overpair of Aces, Kings, or even Queens is a factor that precludes folding. In fact, folding even with pocket Aces is quite common, as worrying about overpairs too much can lead to unpleasant consequences.

Here, perhaps, it is about the psychological factor, since the presence of a pair of Aces or Kings is considered a nut hand on the preflop, which is very difficult to refuse to play further. However, you should pay attention to a few basic situations when folding is the best decision.

Only experience in the game will help you find the right solution. You should not succumb to the attraction of a strong overpair, but coordinate your actions depending on the behaviour of your opponents and the community cards. Every player has experienced how difficult it is to fold with an overpair of Aces or Kings and how a late fold can cause you to lose money.


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Kristaps is an expert in the field of online casinos. Since the age of 20, he has been interested in casino games; poker and blackjack are his favorites. Thanks to his studies and work experience, he has found himself a gambling critic and analyst. He likes to share his own authentic experience with the audience, so his articles are very informative. Kristaps' lifelong dream is to participate in a poker tournament in Las Vegas.



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