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PokerCoaching.com: Rough River

by Jonathan Little |  Published: May 01, 2024

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You are eight-handed playing in the WSOP main event. You have a 74,000 stack at 150-300 with a 300 big blind ante. The action folds to the hijack who raises to 700. You are next to act in the cutoff and look down at 7Spade Suit 6Spade Suit.

Question 1: Should you fold, call, reraise to 2,100, or reraise to 3,500?

Answer: When playing deep-stacked early in poker tournaments, look for spots where you can play in position with hands that have a decent chance to improve to beat pocket aces. 7-6 suited is a hand you can three-bet with every now and then, but the default play is to call and see a flop in position. 

You call, as does the small blind. The flop comes 9Heart Suit 8Heart Suit 2Club Suit and the small blind leads out with a 1,100 bet (41% pot). The preflop raiser folds and action is on you.

Question 2: Should you fold, call, raise to 3,500, or raise to 7,000?

Answer: Most poker players who lead from the small blind do so when they have a high-equity draw or some sort of vulnerable made hand. You cannot fold with the odds you are being offered, but you want to avoid raising because you may be up against better draws that have you crushed, or you may get reraised, forcing you to fold your marginal draw. Calling is your only viable option.

You call. The turn is the 10Club Suit and your opponent bets 2,000 (41% pot).

Question 3: Should you fold, call, raise to 5,000, or raise to 7,000?

Answer: There’s always a chance you may be up against Q-J, but with your opponent’s small bet size, it is unlikely they have you beat with a better straight. With two flush draws now on the board, calling is out of the question because it puts you at risk of getting outdrawn on the river.

There is a wide array of hands in your opponent’s range that you are ahead of and many of them could improve to a hand that beats yours on the river. Considering your opponent’s range and the fact you likely have the best hand, raise large for value and to charge the potential draws.

You raise to 7,000 and your opponent calls. The river is the JHeart Suit and your opponent checks.

Question 4: Should you check, bet 2,000, bet 9,000, or bet 18,000?

Answer: The JHeart Suit is a terrible river card for you. Your opponent has plenty of hands in their range that now have you beat, forcing you to check and see the showdown. If you had a queen you could consider value betting, but even then, you are likely better off being cautious and checking it back.

You check and your opponent flips over JSpade Suit 9Spade Suit. While it may have been tempting to bet for additional value, you were unlikely to get called by worse, and you avoided potentially getting bluffed off of the best hand.

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