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Poker Coaching: Going For Full Value

by Jonathan Little |  Published: Oct 04, 2023


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You are eight-handed playing in a $5,000 buy-in live poker tournament and are running hot early on with a stack of 65,000 with blinds at 150-300. It folds to you in the hijack and you look down at AHeart Suit ADiamond Suit. You raise to 800 and get called only by the good, tight aggressive player in the big blind. The flop comes ASpade Suit QSpade Suit 8Club Suit and your opponent checks.

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

Answer: Normally on high card, dynamic boards (meaning effective nut hands on the flop are somewhat likely to be downgraded substantially on many turns), the preflop raiser wants to bet frequently and big.

Holding pocket aces, however, it is highly unlikely the big blind has an ace, which means you want to try and get value from a queen, an eight, or a draw. Because the hands you are trying to get value from are somewhat weak, it is probably better to size down your flop continuation bet.

You bet 1,000 and get the call. The turn is the 2Spade Suit and your opponent checks.

Question 2: Should you check, bet 1,400, bet 2,800, or bet 4,200?

Answer: This is an interesting spot because you have the best hand the majority of the time, but you could be way behind. While the flush did complete, the board blocks a lot of the logical flushes in the big blind’s range (A-X and Q-X of spades). If your opponent has a hand like A-X or Q-X with a spade they will likely call another bet, but you want to give them poor odds to make the call.

However, you do not bet too big because that will cause them to fold out hands that are drawing thin, like A-X and Q-X without a spade, that you can extract a lot of value from.

If your bet gets raised or shoved on, call it off. Even if you are against a flush, you have lots of outs to improve.

You bet 2,800 and get the call. The river is the 2Club Suit and your opponent checks.

Question 3: Should you check, bet 4,400, bet 8,800, or go all-in?

Answer: Rivering the effective nuts, you have an easy all-in. Despite the fact the big blind has a lot of marginal hands in their range, those hands will fold to river bets of almost any size. If they happen to have a flush, full house, or decide to hero call with marginal made hands that block flushes, going all-in extracts the most value.
A 4,400 bet may get called more often, but going for it all is the preferred play, especially since you unblock flushes.

You go all-in and your opponent enters the tank for a long time. Eventually, they make the call with AClub Suit JSpade Suit, rewarding you with an enormous pot.

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