The difference between trips and a set might present one of the biggest points of confusion in poker. The “trips” moniker certainly makes sense when referring to any three of a kind hand, but seasoned players know the distinction between trips and a set.
If you’ve ever wondered what makes these two terms for three of a kind different, read on:
Poker Trips Vs. Set
When you make three of a kind using one hole card and to community card, you’ve made trips. For example, if your hole cards are A♥ K♠, and K♣ K♥ 3♦ hits the board, you’ve made trip kings.
A set involves making three of a kind with two hole cards and one community card. For instance, if you’re holding 5♠ 5♦, and A♠ 7♣ 5♥ hits on the flop, you’ve made a set of fives.
Is There Really a Difference Between Trips and a Set?
Trips and sets both represent three of a kind, a strong hand in the poker hand rankings. The way you arrive at three of a kind can make a big difference in strategy, however.
A set is generally much more disguised than trips. If the board reads K♣K♥3♦ and you make a big raise, opponents will expect you to hold a king in many instances. Making that same raise on the A♠7♣5♥ board could represent a lot of different hands, and your set of fives is well-disguised.
Knowing the difference between a set and trips also helps when describing a hand history to a fellow player or poker forum. Experienced players definitely know the difference, and by using the right term you can assure that your fellow seasoned players know exactly what happened in a hand.