What Is Two Pair in Poker?
In games like Hold’em, two pair describes a hand that contains two cards of an identical rank plus another two cards of the identical (but different from the first two cards) rank.
So, for example, a hand like 7 7 9 9 J is a two pair hand.
The fifth card in a two pair poker hand is the kicker, and it is only used when two or more players have identical two pair. In that case, the player with the higher kicker wins.
In all other situations, the player with the highest single pair will win the pot. For example, someone holding 2 2 K K 3 wins against someone with J J Q Q A.
Although the latter hand seems stronger, the first player has the highest pair (a pair of kings), hence they have the winning hand.
Odds of Flopping Two Pair
Generally speaking, this is a fairly common hand in Hold’em, so your odds of flopping 2 pair are quite good. Here are some numbers and probabilities you should know:
- Odds of exactly two pair on the flop with any unpaired two cards: 2.02%
- Flopping two pair or better with AKo: 3.8%
- Odds of two pair or better on the flop with any two unpaired cards: 4.1%
Hands like suited connectors, i.e. 8h9h or 6s7s, have the best odds of making two pair or better on the flop. With these hands, your odds of making 2 pair or higher are over 5.5%.
When you have just one pair on the flop, your overall odds of improving to two pair or three of a kind by the river are roughly 20%.