Depending on your position, your opponents and the actual poker game you are playing you can handle middle pairs preflop in different ways. Lets see through some examples here
- If you are in a tournament and you are near the bubble playing middle pairs depends a lot on position. Actually if you are in early position I would recommend to even throw the hand away, since we are near the money (bubble) you don’t want to get in a nasty situation where you might get kicked out of the tournament. Here is a simple way how this could happen. You have 9 9 preflop and your are 3 betting from early position. Remember you are near the bubble and the blinds are already big enough so that a re-raise from another player could cost you nearly all your remaining chips. Even if he does not re-raise and the flop shows 10 Q 2 then your opponent could easily have a higher pair and you might be forced to throw away the hand and lose a lot of chips that you would need for the later part of the tournament.
- If you are playing a NL poker cash game with 6 players you can play a middle pair from pretty much every position. All-in and re-raises from other players after you already did a 3 betting should not be called with a mere middle pair, since there is a good chance (depending on your opponent) that he has a higher pair than you have.
- If you are playing SnG where the blinds are usually increased pretty fast a middle pair can become a double-edged sword. My advice is to play for example 8 8 and 9 9 more often at the beginning of the SnG when the blinds are still small and you can see the flop for a rather small chip count. While you should play them more cautious once the blind start increasing.
In all these examples I just listed you always need to consider that there are several elements who can affect these mentioned situations. Like the moods of the other poker players, or the position from where you starting. The amount of chips you still possess (tournament) can also be a big factor.