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Card Room Quiz: Turning A Straight

by Jonathan Little |  Published: Mar 20, 2024


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You are playing in the World Series of Poker main event with a 90,000 stack and the blinds at 150-300. The under-the-gun (UTG) player limps in and after it folds to you in the hijack, you look down at 3Spade Suit 3Diamond Suit.

Question 1: Should you fold, call, raise to 1,000, or raise to 2,000?

Answer: Raising is not recommended with small pairs because they play extremely well in multi-way pots, but if you do opt to raise, raise to a large size to try and "take down the pot preflop": Since you don’t mind seeing the flop multi-way, limp and look to flop a set.

You limp, as do the button, small blind, and big blind, making it five-handed heading to the flop. The flop comes 6Spade Suit 4Diamond Suit 2Heart Suit and it checks to you.

Question 2: Should you check, bet 600, bet 1,200, or bet 1,800?

Answer: Since the 6Spade Suit and the 4Diamond Suit align with both the button’s, small blind’s, and big blind’s ranges, you do not want to bet with your weak pair and gutshot straight draw. Check-calling is the proper approach, keeping you in the pot to hopefully hit your straight on the turn or river.
You check and the button checks as well. The 5Heart Suit arrives on the turn giving you a six-high straight. After the small blind checks, the big blind bets 1,500 (83% pot) and the action folds to you.
Question 3: Should you fold, call, raise to 4,500, or raise to 7,500?

Answer: This is an interesting spot because while the big blind has some threes in their range, they also have all the combinations of 8-7 and some combinations of 7-3 that beat you. If your opponent had bet small, you could consider raising, but since they could reasonably have you beat, just call their large bet.
You call and the remaining players fold, making it heads-up. The river brings the 9Spade Suit and your opponent bets 3,000 (62% pot).
Question 4: Should you fold, call, raise to 9,000, or raise to 15,000?

Answer: Many players will insist on raising with their straight, but do not make this mistake! Just like on the turn, if your opponent had bet small, you could consider raising, but given the large size of their bet and the fact that they could easily have you beat, you should just call.

It may be tempting to make an exploitative fold, but also realize that your opponent could also make this bet with two pair for value, as well as with missed draws "as a bluff": Make the call and keep the pot manageable.

You call and your opponent reveals 8Heart Suit 7Diamond Suit for a better straight. While you may have lost the pot, take solace in the fact you resisted to urge to make unnecessary raises with a hand that is normally quite strong.

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