Poker - Set mining
These days, low to mid limit cash games have become so competitive that it takes you deep into your bag of tricks to make money at these tables. The mentality of just throwing everything in the dirt that doesn't have at least two cards in it won't make you go far. Advanced concepts like set mining are what you need to expand and you need to use these implied ratios whenever you can.
Let me introduce you to set mining and implied odds in a simple and straightforward way. I am assuming that you know how to calculate your mathematical odds in hand (comparing the odds of the pot with the odds of making the hand that you think is the best at the table and will put you in the pot). This is very important because if you go for implied odds, you have to go against what the math tells you to do.
Setting loot is about seeing a (preferably cheap) chip on whatever pocket pair you pick up. You do this in the hope that you will land a set on the flop. If you do this, not only will you have the best hand at the table, but it will also be perfectly hidden. If you don't land the kit, just fold it.
I understand perfectly well that this does not sound like a mathematically correct move, and it is not. You will have to invest in the flops you see, and given that you are chasing 2 flops each time, you will only occasionally land a set this way. In the long run, it will cost you some serious money. So the question is, if you know you are losing money on it, why do it? The answer is simple: implied odds.
That's right, this is where implied odds come into play. While it is true that you will lose money by seeing all these failures, the few times you land your kit (because it is so well hidden), you will probably make a lot of money from them. So much money, in fact, that not only are you making up for all your losses (which you suffered in the pursuit of your sets), but you are also making some profit.
You can probably say that the profitability of a rig for mining sets depends on two variables: the amount of money you lose when you see your flops (which should be minimized) and the amount of money you win when you hit them (which should be maximized). If you don't maintain the right balance between these two variables, your set-mining operation will explode in your face.
How do you minimize your losses? Seeing cheap flops (if at all possible) or aggressively losing your little pairs and knocking pots on later streets even if you can't make your set.
Rakeback is also a way, albeit much more subtle. A rakeback deal like the Full Tilt rakeback will give you a nice rake bet on the poker rake that you generate when you see all these flops. Keep in mind that by setting the loot, you will get a lot of poker rake even in rooms where weighted rakes are collected.
How do you maximize your winnings? Making sure you have the right stack at the table that you can put to work every time you need it. A small stack will make you some money, while a large stack will make you a lot.
Make sure you know the habits of your challengers. While it is very difficult to locate the loot, some players may do it, or they are just easily intimidated and will not go all the way from one side. Against such players, the mining set can lose its profitability.