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Poker Coaching: Should You Slowplay Top Set?

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Aug 10, 2022

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Key Concept: Should You Slowplay Top Set

You are eight-handed in a $5,000 buy-in tournament with a stack of 25,000 with blinds at 150-300. It folds to you UTG+1 and you look down at JSpade Suit JHeart Suit. 

Question 1: Should you fold, call, raise to 750, or raise to 1,050?

Answer: There is no need to do anything fancy. Pocket jacks is a strong hand worth raising, so make the standard raise. 2.5 big blinds is preferred over 3.5 big blinds, although the difference is minimal and does not matter too much.

You raise to 750 and the hijack calls. It folds around to the big blind who three-bets to 2,700.

Question 2: Should you fold, call, four-bet to 6,800, or go all-in?

Answer: A lot of players make the mistake of four-betting, which would be detrimental because it gives the big blind an opportunity to jam on you, putting you in a bad spot. You have the best hand a decent amount of the time and there is a very low chance the hijack five-bets if you call. Getting to the flop and playing it well will net you more success long term.

While you will get out-flopped sometimes, that is the risk you must take in exchange for not getting all-in poorly preflop. Folding is only acceptable if you are sure the big blind will only three-bet with an extremely strong range. 

You call and the hijack folds. The flop comes JClub Suit 8Diamond Suit 3Heart Suit and your opponent bets 3,500 (52% pot).

Question 3: Should you call, raise to 7,000, raise to 12,000, or go all-in?

Answer: There is no point in raising when you have your opponent absolutely crushed. If you knew for certain you needed protection against 10-9, there is some merit in raising, but that is not in your opponent’s three-betting range.

Most likely, your opponent is drawing dead or is down to just two outs. Calling keeps your opponent in the pot and allows you to extract more value from them on the turn and river.

You call and the turn is the 10Diamond Suit. Your opponent bets 5,500 (40% pot).

Question 4: Should you call, raise to 11,000, or go all-in?

Answer: If you can look at your opponent and tell that they love their hand, perhaps going all-in is a fine play. However, some players will continue barreling with A-K and A-Q, and even K-Q, which you don’t mind keeping in the pot, especially if they will bluff the river.

Much like the flop, there is no reason to raise on this turn. While the board is now somewhat coordinated for hands like Q-Q and 9-9, if they have those hands they still need to improve on the river. Since some players are capable of folding hands as strong as A-A to a turn raise, call and force them to stay in the pot.

You call and the river is the 2Heart Suit. Your opponent bets 10,000 (40% pot), with only 3,300 remaining in their stack. You have the same amount in front of you.

Question 5: Should you fold, call, or go all-in?

Answer: Normally in a tournament when you don’t quite have the nuts, it is fine to call and save 10 big blinds just in case you happen to be beat. In this spot though, it is extremely unlikely you are beat by Q-9 and 9-7, which are almost certainly not in your opponent’s preflop four-betting range. Go all-in and get full value. 

You put your opponent all-in and they call, revealing QHeart Suit QClub Suit. Full double up!

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