In passive/weak live full ring cash games, playing middle pairs for set value is usually ok. We want to make sure that we are deep enough and that our opponents are too.
We also need to understand what we are peeling for. In the following $2/5 hand, I felt that despite flopping an overpair, my hand was not likely to be best in the multi-way pot.
2/10/13 $2/5 NL $500 effective stacks, I cover.
I limp with the 77 for $5 from B3 (button +3) after two other limpers. B1 limps. The button raises to $35. The small blind (SB), big blind (BB), and both limpers call. I am the 5th person to act with 4 people already having called $35. I debated simply jamming in my stack to win sans showdown, but I elected to call. It was a close decision and it may not be optimal in the long run (neither may the limp). However during the flow of the game, both seemed appropriate. B1 calls, closing out the action and seven of us see a flop for $35.
Flop 5 32 [Pot $238 Effective Stacks $465]
SB checks. BB older gentleman bets $115. Two folds. Action is on me with B1 and button behind, along with the SB who has already checked. There is now $353 in the pot and it’s $115 to call. Despite having an overpair, I do not feel great about red sevens on this seemingly innocent board and after some thought, I fold. My limited live full-ring experience has shown me that older men typically are strong when they bet into the field in a multi-way raised pot.
After my fold, B1 flats and everyone else folds. [Pot $468 Effective Stacks $350]
The board runs out 5 3259 and they get their stacks in on the turn. Surprisingly, the BB older gentleman had the 44, having flopped a pair with an open-ended straight draw. I read him for much more strength than that and I was mistaken to fold to his bet. Had I known his exact hand, I’d have snap jammed with more than 60% equity vs his pair + draw.
However I’d have been in critical shape vs the B1, who held the A4, a 95% favorite vs my silly overpair.
There are definitely times to set mine, and there are times that we need to play overpairs fast and aggressive. But, like most things in poker, we also need to balance our play by finding folds in borderline & tricky spots. In my limited experience playing full ring, multi-way pots can be quite tricky and one pair is simply not often a strong enough hand to win, even when it’s an overpair.