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Poker Coaching: Playing A Pair And Flush Draw

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Sep 07, 2022


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Key Concept: Playing A Pair And Flush Draw

You are eight-handed in a $3,500 buy-in online event. The blinds are 250-500 and you have a massive stack of 106,930 chips. A tight, aggressive player UTG+1 raises to 1,200 and is called only by the hijack before it folds to you on the button. You look down at JClub Suit 7Club Suit.

Question 1: Should you fold, call, three-bet to 3,200, or three-bet to 5,000?

Answer: This is an interesting spot with a borderline hand. While you do have position and are deep stacked, folding is the best play the vast majority of the time. Would you call with J-7 offsuit? The answer is definitely no, so does the fact that your J-7 is suited doesn’t make much of a difference?

If you are considering playing this hand, three-betting the size of the pot is preferable to calling because that gives you a decent amount of preflop fold equity. If your opponents play especially poorly post-flop and you play especially well, calling gains some merit. 

You elect to make the splashy play and call. The big blind calls as well and the flop comes QClub Suit JSpade Suit 4Club Suit giving you a pair and a flush draw. UTG+1 checks and the hijack bets 2,200 (38% pot).

Question 2: Should you fold, call, raise to 5,100, or raise to 8,800?

Answer: Normally when you have a pair and a draw, the pair is the overriding factor in making your decision. However, when you are multi-way you need to be way more inclined to raise for value and protection.

If you raise, the big blind and the initial raiser are forced into folding out hands like A-K, A-10, and A-9 that have decent equity against you. Additionally, the loose, aggressive hijack may be betting with worse flush draws that they will call a raise with.

While you may be behind with the QClub Suit on the board, cleaning up your equity is more important than keeping the pot small, and with your pair and draw, you have a chance of improving when you happen to be behind.

You raise making it 5,100, the small blind and UTG+1 fold, and the hijack calls. The turn is the 4Heart Suit and the hijack checks.

Question 3: Should you check behind, bet 4,200, bet 8,600, or bet 14,200?

Answer: With the 4Heart Suit you again have two options: checking or betting small. By betting small, you are going for thin value and protection, with the option to make a big river bet when you feel inclined. Betting the turn does not do much in terms of value, but it does set the pot up for a large river bet when you improve, and it may also induce calls from junky draws that you crush.

Alternatively, you can check behind and keep the pot small, which also makes it impossible to get check-raised.  

You bet 4,200 and the hijack calls. The river is the 4Diamond Suit and your opponent bets 1,500 (6% pot).

Question 4: Should you fold, call, raise to 3,600, or go all-in?

Answer: By betting 1,500, your opponent is essentially checking, and if they were to check, what would you do? In that situation, you would probably check behind and see the showdown for free, so how does that influence your approach to this bet? There is no merit in raising, no merit in folding, so calling is the only viable option.

You make the call and your opponent reveals KHeart Suit QDiamond Suit for a better full house. While it may have been better to fold the JClub Suit 7Club Suit preflop, keeping the pot manageable prevented you from losing a gigantic pot with your pair and flush draw. 

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