The odds of hitting three of a kind might be 1 in 46, but when you do hit it you will usually rake in a huge pot. Getting three of a kind is one of the best hands you can have after a flop, and playing it right will increase your chances of getting paid.
Three of a kind can come in two different ways in poker. If you have a pocket pair and the third card comes on the flop, you have a “set”. The other way is when the board cards pair and you have the third card in your hand. That example is known as having “trips”.
A set is much better than trips because with a set your hand is hidden. Your opponents can’t tell that you have three-of-a-kind as easily as they would when two of your three cards are showing on the board. Another disadvantage of having trips is that there’s always the chance that another player has the fourth card, giving them trips as well.
Three of a kind is not only strong on its own but it also has the potential to become a bigger hand. The odds of three of a kind turning into a full house are 2 to 1. That means that getting three of a kind usually gives you a lead in the hand and the chance to improve to a bigger hand, even when your opponents hit their draw cards.
Hitting a set is the reason that you should play as many pocket-pair hands as you can. Sometimes the pre-flop action is too strong to stay in a hand with a small pocket pair. But if you can get into hands inexpensively with small pocket pairs, it gives you the opportunity to hit that set and win a big pot against a player that thinks their top-pair hand is the best.
Most times you have three of a kind you will want to play it slow so other players don’t figure out right away that you have a big hand. Once an opponent makes a play at the pot, you can put your three of a kind to work and raise that bet for as many chips as you think you can win.