What Is a Set in Poker?

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A set is also known as three-of-a-kind in poker and occurs when this hand is made with a pocket pair in games of Omaha or Texas Hold ‘em. If the pocket pair is absent, the hand is then referred to as making trips. A set is considered one of the strongest hands when it comes to most poker variants. 

How to Determine if your Hand is a Set or a Trip 

A hand is only considered a set when two hole cards are involved. If you’re dealt a pair of pocket Twos, for example, and call a preflop after a player in an early position raises and the flop comes out as 2-5-9 - you will have gained a set of Twos. Making a trip, on the other hand, happens when a pair is drawn from the flop. If a player has a hand consisting of k-2, for example, and the flop comes out as 2-2-4, you will have gained what is referred to as trip twos. 

How Strong is a Set in Poker? 

Flopping a set represents one of the best situations a player can have in poker. This disguised hand is capable of defeating players with two-pair hands or large overpairs in connection with the board. Although it can’t rival hands such as a straight or flush, it’s rare for players to flop such major hands, and a set can defeat a wide range of alternative hands. Initiating a fast play with this hand is recommended in cases where you’re facing a draw-heavy board or if another player shows the potential for a strong hand. 

Set Mining 

Set mining refers to when a player calls with a hand that features a small or average pocket pair in the hope that they will hit a set and win big. It should be noted that the odds of attaining a successful flop are not huge. In most cases, players have about a 20% chance of success when it comes to making a set. When successful, it can represent a major win. However, if you miss your chance with the pre-flop, you will need to fold your hand as soon as another player raises the bet. 

Timing your chances for a set is also crucial when targeting success. If you have a lot of players behind you, for instance, you will need a very strong pocket pair to raise your bet. If the players behind you have a potentially weak hand, a call can be justified with pocket pairs down to 22. Otherwise, if you have a small pocket pair, you will likely have to fold. Strong pairs can include 88+, 99+, or TT+.

In cases where you’re on the button, you might be able to win with pocket pairs as weak as 55. If the pot odds involved are greater than the chances you have of getting a winning card, opting for a call can be justified. Targeting a set, however, can't be defined as a successful strategy in most cases, as the odds of getting a winning card are low. 

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