When you’re holding a big pocket pair before the flop, you know that you are in a position of strength. Even if you don’t improve your hand by the river, you still have a shot to take down the hand. However, things become a lot more complicated when you have a middle pair. That’s because the middle pair is tempting enough to call with, yet not normally big enough to win hands.
But that doesn’t mean you should try to limp in, and then immediately fold if you don’t hit a set. There are just too many opportunities available for you to win with pocket pairs. So instead of folding, you should be trying to use middle pairs whenever the situation arises. After all, middle pairs might not be the best hands, but they are at least a made hand.
An example of a good time to play middle pairs arises when you’re in late position with an unraised pot (especially in Limit Hold’em). Obviously nobody has indicated any strength at this point, so it would be a great time to make a call and see the flop. Assuming your set doesn’t come on the flop, you’ll be faced with a difficult decision.
If nobody raises the pot on the turn, it would be a good decision to call once again. You should especially be making a call if there is a weak board, and nobody is showing any kind of hand strength! Make a call on the river again if nobody raises the pot because there’s a good chance you could have the best hand at this point. Sure you might not win every time with middle pair, but it’s worth showing some unpredictability with this hand if the pot isn’t too big.