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PokerCoaching Quiz: Playing The Nut Low On The River

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jun 29, 2022


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Key Concept: Playing The Nut Low On The River

You are six-handed and very deep in a $1,000 buy-in tournament with 20 players remaining out of 1,000 players total. You have 29,400,000 chips with the blinds at 600,000-1,200,000 when it folds around to you in the small blind. You look down at 8Diamond Suit 4Diamond Suit. The player in the big blind has roughly the same amount of chips as you.

Question 1: Should you fold, call, raise to 3,600,000, or go all-in?

Answer: The only time folding is reasonable is when you know the player yet to act is a maniac who will raise or reraise most of the time. If your opponent plays reasonably, your hand is too good to fold.

While you may get nervous playing hands like 8Diamond Suit 4Diamond Suit late in tournaments, you must ask yourself if this hand is profitable enough to play. When the answer is yes, you must put your nerves out of your mind and make the proper play. With 8Diamond Suit 4Diamond Suit you can either call or raise, but considering your relatively short stack, calling is optimal.

You call and the big blind checks their option. The flop comes 9Heart Suit 7Spade Suit 3Diamond Suit.

Question 2: Should you check, bet 1,200,000, bet 2,000,000, or bet 3,700,000?

Answer: A 3,700,000 bet is a terrible play because when you get called, you will be in terrible shape. While a 2,000,000 bet forces your opponent to play somewhat straightforwardly, a smaller bet encourages them to stay in the pot with many unpaired hands.

Since many players over-fold when they do not have a pair, you will find that your cheap bluffs pick up the pot far more often than they need to in order to be profitable. If your opponent does call your small flop bet with a wide range, you will often be able to make them fold by the river with additional aggression. 

While a bet for 1,200,000 would have been preferred, you elect to bet 2,000,000 and your opponent calls. The turn is the AHeart Suit.

Question 3: Should you check, bet 2,000,000, bet 4,500,000, or bet 7,000,000?

Answer: The Ah provides you with a good bluffing opportunity because your opponent would have likely reraised with most of their best aces before the flop, and they may even fold some of them to a flop bet.

That said, betting 7,000,000 is too big because it loses more than is necessary when you happen to be up against an ace. Betting for 2,000,000 is also not ideal because it is cheap enough that your opponent will call with all sorts of made hands that crush you.

Betting 4,500,000 grows the pot such that it sets up the river for a potential all-in, putting the opponent in a tough spot with all hands worse than an ace, which should be most of their range. Checking and giving up is only the best play if you somehow have a live read that makes it clear that your opponent really likes their hand.

Despite betting 4,500,000 being preferred, you check and your opponent checks behind. The river is the 5Diamond Suit.

Question 4: Should you check, bet 2,000,000, bet 4,500,000, or bet 7,000,000?

Answer: With the nut low, you almost always want to make a big bet when your opponent is unlikely to have a premium hand. That said since you checked the turn, your opponent may opt to call any bet with any pair. Making a medium bet of 4,500,000 could induce a fold from hands like king-high and 10-8, but will still get called by all pairs.

A large bet is the only size that has any chance of getting your opponent to fold a pair, making that bet size ideal. 

You bet 7,000,000. Your opponent thinks for a while before folding 10Diamond Suit 9Diamond Suit face up. Nice result. However, if you bet the turn and then went all-in on the river, you would have won more!

For access to more than 1,200 interactive poker hand quizzes just like this, but in video format, visit PokerCoaching today.