- Features of a Three of a Kind in Poker
- Trips in poker
- Set in poker
- The Difference between Trips and a Set
- Which Three of a Kind in Poker is Stronger – a Set or Trips?
- Strategies for Playing Three of a Kind in Poker
- What is the best way to play a set
- How to recognize a set in villain’s hand
- Playing Three of a Kind in Poker with Two Sets in the Hand
- Frequently Asked Questions about a Three of a Kind in Poker
- What to do if you make a set on the flop?
- What flops are good for a set?
- What to do with a weak hand in a small pot heads-up?

**What is it?** A three of a kind in poker is a combination of three cards of the same rank, for example, three kings, three aces, three sevens. The chance of making it in the game is quite high. Another good thing is that the combination beats the high card, pair and two pairs.

**What to consider?** Three of a kind is very strong, and the percentage of wins with it is quite high. Much depends on how you made this hand. There’s a distinction between making three of a kind with a pocket pair and with one hole cards, those are called set and trips respectively.

## Features of a Three of a Kind in Poker

In the world of poker, there is a whole spectrum of combinations, each of which has its own unique Russian name, whether it is a translation or transcription of English terms. Moreover, many of these names are informal, slang phrases.

They can indicate the same cards in different situations of the game or be their synonyms. A great example is a three of a kind, trips and a set in the context of poker, meaning the same thing – three cards of the same value, but each of these names highlights a certain way of making them.

For a beginner mastering the rules and strategy of poker, it is important to be aware of these differences, since the mention of one of these terms in articles or videos can indicate a specific situation that is important for the correct understanding of the content.

### Trips in poker

The name of a combination made up of three cards of the same rank is a three of a kind. Example: three aces, three jacks or three sixes. Three of a kind can include any cards, both common and hole cards, in any quantity.

Although the correct terminology used in poker rooms and casinos is “three of a kind”, the term “trips” has taken root among online poker players and you can now even see it in official sources and educational literature. Let’s look at an example of a trips made up of common cards. Hole cards do not play a role in this example and will not be discussed.

There are three Deuces, a King and a Seven on the board. None of the players hit the board in any ways, but one of them has an Ace.

The winner of this hand is the player who showed down the ace. The combination “three of a kind” is common here, and both players have it. However, their side cards are different. To the three deuces, both opponents have a common king, the first player has an ace, and the second player has a queen.

The first player wins thanks to the highest card, the kicker – an ace. In such a situation, players should consider the possibility of a stronger combination, such as Quads (less likely) or a full house (more likely), and also pay attention to the highest card – the kicker, since if the opponent does not have a made hand, it is what will determine the winner.

### Set in poker

This is one of the variants of making three of a kind in poker. The key thing is that you have a pocket pair and then there’s a common card of the same rank on the board. A distinctive feature of such a hand is that it is not obvious for opponents, since there is no two cards of the same rank on the table.

A set formed from mid or low pocket pair has special value, especially in a situation when a player enters the game without raising preflop. In such cases, many opponents may mistakenly assume that you have weak hand, such as connectors or cards of the same suit, and you, while keep on betting, are just trying to realize your equity (outs).

Let’s look at an example of a set in a specific case.

Board is 6h As Kh 9h 4c. There is no pair on the board, but one of the players has a pocket pair of sixes. He wins against his opponent, who has top two pairs – aces and kings. If you play this spot correctly, you may win a huge pot. For example, you can give the initiative to your opponent and call his bets, and then before the showdown raise his bet or make the first small raise if you suspect that the opponent is passively playing his hand.

Before the last card appears, the opponent may think that you are looking for a flush with two spades: in this case, he may be ready to put a lot of money into the pot to make you pay with a draw, which will lead to an increase in the pot thanks to his bets.

## The Difference between Trips and a Set

In the poker world, there are certain terms that denote combinations of three cards of the same rank. One of them is a set. An important difference between a set and trips is that to make a set, a player needs a pocket pair, while trips consists of a pair of cards of the same rank on the board.

A set and trips are of equal strength – they beat a high card, a pair, and two pairs, but lose to a straight and all combinations that are superior to them. However, a set is considered a more promising hand, mainly because it less obvious to the opponents.

The situation when equal sets or trips occur in one hand is almost impossible due to the peculiarities of the deck. However, situations often arise when a set or trips encounter a higher combination. Therefore, having collected a three of a kind, you should not immediately rejoice and thoughtlessly put all your chips into the pot. It is important to remember the possibility that your opponent will have a stronger combination.

Both sets and trips are powerful combinations in poker. Their probability of winning depends on the structure of the board. On dry, poorly coordinated flops, the probability of a successful outcome is more than 90%. For example, the equity (chance of winning) of a set of sevens against a wide range of cards on a K75 flop reaches 94.3%. If the board remains favorable by the river, the chances of winning in most cases remain on your side.

The main advantage of a set is its stealth. In most cases, the opponent will not be able to determine the strength of your hand. In the case of trips, on the contrary, he will often be able to assume that you have this combination, especially if you are playing aggressively.

Although the equity of trips on a dry flop is slightly lower – 93.5%, this is still a very strong hand.

When you find yourself in a situation with a set or trips, it is important to watch what happens at the table: in most cases, you will win the pot. However, do not relax early: develop the skill of hand analysis to see situations when even such strong combinations should be folded. This skill comes with experience, which you can gain by playing regularly and a lot. At the initial stage of your poker journey, it is worth using all the opportunities to play for play chips.

## Which Three of a Kind in Poker is Stronger – a Set or Trips?

Let’s remember that a three of a kind in poker is stronger than one pair or two pairs, which is already a lot. Even if a player has made a low set, such as, for example, three deuces, he still has a decent chance of taking down the pot.

Nevertheless, what is stronger: a set or trips? To answer this question, let us turn to statistics. The probability of making a set is 10.78%, while for trips it is only 1.35%. Thus, a set is a more probable combination, and because of this, a player who has two cards of the same rank in his hands already has an advantage.

Every detail of the poker game has its own importance, and one of the key ones is knowing which type of three of a kind combo is better. When a player makes a set already on the flop, it gives him confidence. He no longer has the weakest combination, but has a more solid ground.

Some players can still fold when hitting a set, being afraid that opponents have a full house or straight. However, the probability of a straight on the board is extremely small – only 1.3%, and collecting a full house from seven cards is even less likely. In the case of a pair on the board, the probability of a straight is only 0.74%, and if a three is dropped – only 0.25%.

## Strategies for Playing Three of a Kind in Poker

### What is the best way to play a set

Should you play it safe or take a more aggressive line? In poker, it is always exciting to try to guess what cards your opponents have. Each player develops their own strategy based on their own cards and experience. Sets occur quite often. Although making this type of a hand guarantees nothing. We can only estimate the probability, but not predict what happens next and whether we win or not.

Preflop, players begin to draw conclusions about the opponents’ cards based on their reactions and bets. However, do not forget that the flop can affect things a lot. It is best to make major decisions after the flop regarding further play. What to do if you have a set?

Raising the bets makes sense only in the case of a big set, starting with a queen. In the case of a small set, it is enough to just call the bet.

Let’s look at the probability of getting a full house at different stages of the game, which will beat three of a kind, if the opponent already has a set in hand:

- To make it by the turn is only 13%;
- By the river – 30%.

When three cards of the same suit or three consecutive cards appear on the board, it might be dangerous for your sets. However, if cards of different suits and ranks appear on the flop, you can take a risk and increase the pot a little. If you decide to act on the turn, your chances will decrease significantly. On the turn, the probability that one of your opponents will make a stronger combination, for example, a straight, increases.

### How to recognize a set in villain’s hand

It is important to watch how he acts preflop and, especially, on the flop. If he raises on the flop, when three different cards appear on the table, especially not very large ones, then there is a high probability that he has hit a set.

This becomes especially obvious if he hesitates for a long time with his preflop action. Trips are easier to spot and usually cause less excitement. It takes big, good kickers to beat a trips hand.

## Playing Three of a Kind in Poker with Two Sets in the Hand

To make a set in poker, you need to have a pocket pair in your hand by the time you see the flop. It is reasonable to enter the game with a strong or medium pair, but this does not guarantee success in the end. Poker is a game where each player can improve his hand to a stronger one.

It is also worth considering the possibility that several players at the table can simultaneously make a set. For example, the first player has a pair of kings, the second has a pair of aces, and the board is A K J 8 5. In this case, the first player with aces wins, since his cards have a higher rank.

Such situations in poker are referred to as coolers. This is the moment when both players have strong hands and do not see the point in folding them. In the example given, we looked at a classic cooler with top cards, when both players had sets. However, a cooler can also occur with other combinations, such as two pairs or a full house.

Often, when players have a strong pair in their hands, they prefer to go all-in preflop. Identifying a cooler can sometimes be difficult, but this is a helpful skill.

Another example. You have a low set. Your opponent made a raise on the river, you go all-in and get a call in response. At showdown, your opponent has a higher set, and the pot goes to him. How to evaluate this situation with a cooler?

Both players were confident in their win, but the all-in move was not quite right. If you had called, your losses would have lost less. When playing for your whole stack, a player often expects to get a call from weaker hands. Therefore, in order not to lose your stack, you need to calculate the range of your opponent’s hands and analyze his actions.

In order to play a set or trips in poker profitably, you need to know not only how to make those hands. You should learn to assess your chances to win. It only requires one common card to make a set, so there are decent chances of your opponents making one as well.

## Frequently Asked Questions about a Three of a Kind in Poker

### What to do if you make a set on the flop?

In this case, there is no single solution, since it is necessary to take into account many factors. If there are many players in the hand, then it is necessary to raise or bet, since by playing passively, you risk that one of the opponents will make a stronger combination. However, if you are heads-up with a top set already on the flop, then you can use a check-raise to provoke aggression from the opponent.

If two or even three cards of the same suit opened on the flop or there is a pair, then it is important to make seeing the turn card as expensive as possible for your opponents. Those who will have draws should also call when pot odds are not right, only in this case your expected value will be positive. Danger can arise only in cases when the opponent has already made a straight, flush or top three on the flop. However, this happens extremely rarely, so the risk in this case is justified.

### What flops are good for a set?

A flop with cards of different suits and low ranks or with one high card is good for your set. You don’t have to worry about your opponents having flushes or straights unless one of them has cards that can make a low straight.

If you flop a set, the ideal situation for you is when one or two opponents have a high pair or an overpair. For example, you have two sevens and the board is J K 7 5 3. This is a good board for you, especially if one of your opponents has a Jack and the other has an overpair.

If the pot is already big, it is usually worth playing your hand aggressively by betting or raising. Your hand is very strong, but a free card can always help someone make a flush or a straight, so it is important to knock those players out of the game or make them pay more.

In case you are sure that someone will bet, you can check/raise to force other players out of the fight for a big pot. However, you should be careful with this tactic if you flopped a top set – the probability that the flop helped someone is now lower, and players behind you may not bet or call.

### What to do with a weak hand in a small pot heads-up?

Even in those cases you can still bet or raise, even if villain can also hit the flop well. When you can represent a strong holding, you can use it to bluff villain out of the pot.

Thus, three of a kind, especially a set, is a very powerful hand and often brings victory. This combination is superior to trips in both unpredictability and potential, although both hands consist of three cards of the same rank. However, when playing a set, you need to consider the safety of the board and the peculiarities of the game of your opponents.