Hidden Pairs vs. Exposed Pairs
A hidden pair is slightly stronger than an exposed pair because with a hidden pair your hand is not exposed when you make trips-if you have (A? 4?) A? and catch A? on a later street, everyone can see you have at least a pair of Aces and they'll tend to not play very aggressively. You'll win more bets if you make trips with a hidden pair. The strength of a hand isn't just about how many pots it will win. It's also about how much money it will win. Poker is about the money, not about winning pots.

But a big pair is strong enough either way and you should play it as such, especially playing the exposed big pair aggressively in the early rounds, when the situation is right. It's much easier to be sure of a big pair in early betting rounds than it is to be sure of it in later rounds when it hasn't improved.
 
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