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The Two Pair Hand in Poker

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Two Pair appears in seventh place on the poker hand rankings list. It consists of one pair of same-ranked cards along with a second pair of same-ranked cards. In Hold’em, a Two Pair hand is one of the most common winning hands.

The expression “Two Pair” should immediately have you thinking about pairs of cards in the same denomination or rank. Simply put, it's two pairs of equally ranked cards.

So, if you hold 1010♣ and the board is 55♣3♠ then you would have Two Pair, Tens and Fives.

However, there are other types of Two Pair. Say you hold AK♠ and the flop is A♣K3, you would also have Two Pair.

Why?

Because you would have paired your A with the A♣ on the board for one pair and your K♠ with the K for a second pair – thereby giving you Two Pair.

In addition, say the flop comes down A♣33. You would again have Two Pair. However, this time it would be Aces and Threes.

You can also have a Two Pair by “playing the board” in Hold’em. But you’ll have to wait until the turn to make it. On a board of J♣33♥J2♦, you would have Jacks and Threes when holding AK♠,

When comparing one Two Pair hand to the next, it’s the hand rank or denomination that’s important. Therefore, the best Two Pair hand is Aces and Kings.

Kickers do come into play when players have the same two pair. However, all same-ranked pairs are considered equal regardless of suit.

We’ll discuss this in the next section.

How Does a Two Pair Hand Rank?

In a 52-card deck, there are 123,552 possible Two Pair hand combinations and 858 distinct ranks of Two Pair hands. Each Two Pair is rated first by its highest pair, then by its second-highest pair and lastly by its kicker.

Here are a few more examples of Two Pair:

A♠A♣ QQJ♠

K♠KJ♣J♥10

K♠KJ♣J10

A♠A♣ QQK♠

QQ♣1010♣A

Can you tell which Two Pair ranks highest?

Keep in mind that the suits are irrelevant and that the kickers should be used only to separate hands with the same two pair.

How Does a Two Pair Hand Match Up?

A Two Pair is the seventh best possible hand in the poker hand ranking system. Three-of-a-Kind ranks directly above it, with the best 3-of-a-Kind being a Set of Aces or Trip Aces.

There are only two hands that rank below a Two Pair. The hand that ranks directly under it is called One Pair. The best One Pair hand is Aces also known as the Pocket Rockets or American Airlines when a player has two in the hole.

Two Pair Poker Probabilities

Now, we’ll look at the pre-flop, flop, turn and river probabilities of making a Two Pair hand in both Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha.

Hold'em Probabilities          
Pre-flop: 4.7539%   (based on 5 cards randomly drawn from a full 52-card deck)    
Flop: 16.7%   (when holding a pocket pair)    
  2%   (using both of your pocket cards from two non-pair cards)    
Turn: 19.15%   (when holding a pocket pair)    
River: 19.57%   (when holding a pocket pair)  
Pot Limit Omaha Probabilities          
Pre-flop: 4.7539%   (based on 5 cards randomly drawn from a full 52-card deck)    
Flop: 16.7%   (when holding a pocket pair)    
Turn: 19.56%   (when holding a pocket pair)    
River: 20%   (when holding a pocket pair)  

Now that you’ve got Two Pair down pat, we’ll move on to the next hand on the list. It’s called One Pair.

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