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What’s Your Play? I HAD Top Pair

by Andrew Brokos |  Published: Nov 29, '10

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We had some fun rivering quads, so let’s play this game again.

Villain views me as aggressive but not crazy. It is extremely unlikely that he is checking behind either a strong made hand or a strong draw on the flop, and he knows that I know that. Other relevant history is that I caught him turning a pair into a bluff when I underbet a river that completed several draws; I had actually rivered a straight.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, $20.00 BB (2 handed) – Poker-Stars Converter Tool from PokerSavvyPlus.com

Hero (BB) ($9526.50)
SB ($3306)

Preflop: Hero is BB with Q, K
SB bets $60, Hero calls $40

Flop: ($120) 3, 10, K (2 players)
Hero checks, SB checks

Turn: ($120) 6 (2 players)
Hero bets $120, SB calls $120

River: ($360) A (2 players)

Hero?

If you bet, be sure to tell us how much and how you will respond to a raise. Likewise, if you check, let us know your plan if Villain bets. I’ll post my thoughts after people have had some time to comment.

Andrew Brokos is a professional poker player, writer, and teacher. He is also an avid hiker and traveler and a passionate advocate for urban public education. You can find dozens of his poker strategy articles at www.thinkingpoker.net/articles and more information about group seminars and one-on-one coaching at www.thinkingpoker.net/coaching.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 

Comments

rjwjr
over 10 years ago

Any other river card and I may bet out for value, hoping villain had raised pre with mid pair or had connected with the ten. With the ace, however, he may have called your turn bet thinking he was still good with ace high. As such, I think I almost always check/call here so as to; 1] Keep pot small if he did indeed river his ace, 2] Provide him the ability to bluff if he has air or a busted draw, 3] Keep the pot small if he hit a monster like any set since he'd possibly take this same line.
The ace just sucks here. Any other non-pairing river (except for another K) and I bet my K for value. Even into a third club as I'd assume he'd continuation bet a flush draw here, with no concern of a possible check/raise from you. If he raises/shoves your value bet in this hypothetical instance, however, and you're faced with a tough decision that is likely history dependent.
Looking forward to your follow-up on your thinking.

 
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jslk
over 10 years ago

Even though villain has played very passively postflop in the hand, I still don't wanna get in a situation where I bet and then get to face a raise, making it a guessing game. I'd check and if he checks behind, fine, you most likely win. If villain bets after your check, you still have good hand to call down with.

Another line you may be able to take:

villain may just be trying to steal the pot on the river after he thought you were taking one stab on the turn (flop was check/check) and he now may think you've given up on the river by checking. This, then, would make a check/raise a kind of sexy play, and puts the pressure and the guessing game back on villain, which works for me.

All in all, I would most likely just check/call.......

 
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trentbridge
over 10 years ago

From his POV the modest $120 bet on the turn had nothing to do with the six of hearts so he might put you on a lower pair, or a made pair of queens or kings, or perhaps a club flush draw. The rivered ace of spades eliminates the flush draw. I think he wouldn't put you on an ace in the pocket because he'd believe you'd have played more aggressively pre-flop with AK or AQ or AJ or AT. I also believe he would expect you to make a continuation bet with Ax on the flop.
Therefore "check/raise" doesn't work for me because I think he has a good read on your hand and will act accordingly. Make a simple value bet and see if he has the ace. If he then re-raises - fold.

 
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dhcg86
over 10 years ago

c/c up to 125% of pot, we get value here when he turns hands into bluffs ,

 
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DEEEZ_NUTZ
over 10 years ago

c/c the river; Given the stacks I don't see harm in making a 3 bet here pre so you're not OOP the whole way. I think depending on ur 3 bet frequency you may be able to rep a lot of stronger hands here. I think you check call a bet as high as 400 dollars. I think he bluffs this river often enough for your c/c to be profitable. Interested to see results..

 
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SH1P1T2MENOW
over 10 years ago

I would definitely bet small (~$120-$140) here to induce bluffs. As you said he's not checking behind any strong hands on the flop, and if he did it in this hand, I think he would be raising the turn for value since there are a lot of draws you can have and he only has one street left to get value.
Furthermore your hand looks pretty much face-up if you bet small so he might sense weakness and turn his draws/pairs into a bluff.
Or he could just simply look you up light with a Tx-type hand since he figures you are just betting the ace to scare him away because you'd rather ch/c a K than v-bet yourself.

 
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usclawpoker85
over 10 years ago

I check/call. If you lead out and face a raise you are falling into the grey area, and you never want to be in the grey area when you are potentially making a pot larger than you want it to be. If you check, and villian has a busted flush draw, he will bet and you will be a bluff catcher. I think there is alot of value becuase of the probability of villian betting a busted draw or weaker hand to get you off of your, and this is why I think checking is the best option. If you check, villian, some of the time, may also put you on a pocket pair lower than ten and value bet the end, however, since the ace makes a straight he is also likely to show down a ten, weak king or any other pocket pair. So if you check, and Villian bets, he is likely very strong or has air (usually will have air). If your KQ is good, then he will check behind as well.

 
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WPS22
over 10 years ago

It seems as though bet/fold and check/call are the two most standard options here. In either case, you are losing another bet to him if you are beat. The question is, when you are ahead, is he more likely to have air or some kind of made hand weaker than yours? If he's more likely to have total air, I check and hope he fires. If he's more likely to have a weak K or a PP then I bet.

The other thing to consider is how likely he is to bluff raise you if you bet the river. If he is very likely to do so, a check is probably the best option. You said you already caught him turning a pair into a bluff and raising you in a very similar spot, so you know he is capable. Because of this, id ultimately check to avoid a nasty spot even though I'd hate to do it because I know I could be losing value.

 
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notCIA
over 10 years ago

First, I want to make clear I think you have become the best blogger on Cardplayer.
This hand demonstrates an area I think I struggle with.
That said, I don't understand this comment:
"It is extremely unlikely that he is checking behind either a strong made hand or a strong draw on the flop, and he knows that I know that."
Assuming this is a decent player (he knows that I know that,) I don't know how you can say that, and I hope you will offer an explanation. I'm assuming most good players mix up their play.
As to the hand, heads up, I assume you have forced him in prior play to narrow his open raise range at least a little. So, giving him a decently wide range to open raise, then considering his call of your pot sized bet on the turn, I see it as about 50/50, the hands that beat you and the hands that you beat on the river.
That leads me to conclude you need to bet any bet you would call, and he would need to call your bet.
Therefore, I would bet $180 to $360, leaning to the $360. If I bet the $360 and he raises to something like $1080, I can call as I think I would be getting the correct pot odds, but if he shoves I can fold.
I await to be humiliated on my reasoning.

 
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chet22r
over 10 years ago

I take the flop check as complete air or some showdown value they do not want to potentially get raised off of on the flop. I either like check folding or check shoving river. Not a fan of check calling or betting since I think Ax makes up part of there turn calling range and hands like 88-99, T7-T8 type hands check behind river or fold to a bet a good portion of the time. So I'd either check fold if I thought they call a shove or shove if you think they can fold Ax since they should know you know they would bet Ax and check shoving is only way to get all money in.

 
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kuzman89
over 10 years ago

Checkin to see if my comments get posted.

 
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kuzman89
over 10 years ago

I think you have to bet fold this river. It seems likely he is checking back value. Since he has the lead, he checks the flop realising you're going to lead most turns. This means he has given up already and knows he will fold ont he turn, or it means he is ready to call a turn bet. I cant see him ever checking behind a flush draw, KQ or better, or QJ/AJ/AQ...So he can likely take a controlled line with 55 thru KJ...even KJ is a stretch but I can see it since he doesnt really wanna risk gettin checkraised on that drawy board. You bet the turn for obvious reasons and he is flatting you with 3 types of hands...medium pairs, 55-JJ, or KJ...there really doesnt seem to be an A hi combination that I would fear. The best part is that QJ is easily in your range, and not in his. I would really not fear a river raise for a couple reasons. The first he got caught turning a pair into a bluff already, so the next time hell liikely have sumthing nutty....and its important to realise you can easily have the nuts here and he cannot EASILY have the nuts. The only hand I can see him raising the river on you is 666...I would defs bet fold this river, fearing only a highly unliky A hi gut shot combo. Even the odd A 10 would flat you on the riv imo. Curious to know what you think about this thot. When I bet the river, as an aside id bet between 280 and 360, which ever seemed most bluffy.

 
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kuzman89
over 10 years ago

I just want to add that since you can account for the K and Q of clubs, it seems nearly impossible he is holding a busted flush draw...so check calling is redic bad, the only check behind call bet hands are 666 and A 10. what do i know though.

 
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