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What’s Your Play? Second Nuts on Four-Flush River

by Andrew Brokos |  Published: Jan 15, '13


What's Your Play?Live $10/$25 NLHE cash game at the PCA, playing seven-handed at the moment. I haven’t been involved in many pots but may have an aggro image anyway because of a hand that went to showdown where I raised K6s, bet a backdoor flush draw on the flop, barreled a turned flush draw, and shoved a rivered flush.

Villain seems youngish and decentish but not a prodigy. We’ve been playing together less than an hour, so that’s not a strong read, but the sense I get is that he’s more of a live pro than an internet guy dabbling in live poker.

Effective stacks are $6000. The weakest, loosest player at the table is in the big blind. Villain opens to $75 in middle position, and I 3-bet to $225 on the button with Kh 2h. This isn’t exactly a standard 3-bet, but a lot of things favor it: we’re deep, I have position, and his raise size suggests he is trying to play a pot in position against the big blind moreso than build a pot with a really good hand, because that player was prone to overdefending his blind and would often be willing to call a larger raise.

Anyway, action quickly folds back to Villain who calls without much thought.

Flop comes Th 5h 3h. He checks, I bet $350, and he calls.

Turn Qs. Villain checks and calls $750.

River 7h. Villain checks. There’s now $2485 in the pot and $4675 in the effective stacks.

What’s your play and why? Leave your thoughts, questions, and comments below. I’ll respond as able and be back on Friday with the results.

You can assume in cases where I don’t give information about his timing and demeanor that I detected nothing noteworthy about them one way or another.


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 and more information about group seminars and one-on-one coaching at

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5 years ago

If Villain is straight forward we can bet the river and fold to a check raise shove, but we still have to consider if there is any part of his range that we beat that he can call with. If we only get action from AhX, then there is no reason to ever bet. We want to size our bet on the river to maximize the chances of getting called by worse, without inducing a check raise by worse. I think this moves us towards either a small or oversized bet. Sizing comes down to a few factors

1) How likely is Villain to check raise vs call a smallish bet &
2) Does betting small increase our chances of getting called by worse
3) How likely is Villain to call an overbet because he sees it as bluffy.

If he isnt creative and won't checkraise without the Ah.

I'd lean towards a smaller sized bet to try and pick up some value from JhX,QhX, maybe as low as 9hX hands if he thinks we are aggressive. The problem with the overbet is that most non-creative opponents can still find a fold with a hand as good as QhX,JhX. I don't want to help him play better.

If he is creative and could checkraise without the Ah.

I'd lean towards overbetting. This discourages a creative player from making a creative check raise bluff and putting me in a horrid position. It moves him towards checkraising only with AhX, allowing us to play better when we get checkraised. However, it also gives the creative player the incentive to find a hero's call with QhX and JhX, and because the size is bigger, we don't have to get called as often for it to work.


5 years ago

What do you do if you overbet and he shoves though? Let's say you bet the pot and now you have 2k behind. You've overbet because you think he could check-raise without Ah and now you're facing about 2k to call and a pot of about 7500...are you folding here? And what could he possibly call a large bet with except maybe a bluff catcher like AQ, KQ, or AT with no heart. I guess it's possible he's made crying calls all the way down with TT and will continue to do so, but really I just don't get throwing all those chips to block a check/raise that you can block for free by checking.

I think I'd bet small or check behind and the potential for getting check-raised off a winning hand would seem to outweigh losing a small bet to me, so I'd check behind.

I know Andrew just wrote an article about how bad players check behind too often though so ACK!!


5 years ago

Yes. I dont care how good the odds look. The chances he is bluffing into an overbet with only 2k behind are worse then 3.75 to 1. I would fold for the last 2k. Our opponent is not a prodigy. He is never check raise bluffing all-in, in part, because it looks like he has zero fold equity. The overbet takes this play away imo. I'm primarily focused on getting value from his hands such as QhXx and JhXx. Its not impossible that he shows up with QhTx or JhTx here, considering how the action went. These 3rd/4th nut hands could easily call as a bluff catcher.

I also find the river check telling as most opponents will value bet the river with the nuts, fearing it will get check behind if they check. Almost no one will come out and bet QhXx or JhXx. I'd lean towards that range and bet accordingly.


5 years ago

He's not a prodigy, but he's not donkey either, so let's not forget he called our pre-flop 3bet, flop bet, and turn bet. There are few QhXx and JhXx hands that he's raising pre-flop and calling all those bets with, out of position. Drawing to a Queen or Jack high flush with nothing else on that flop is not that likely unless maybe it's AQh and he thinks hitting the ace and queen are also good, or JhTx and he thinks top pair is currently good.

Like I said before, you can block the check/raise play for free by checking, so I think that's a bad reason to bet.


5 years ago

If you think he's somewhat likely to check raise bluff then why wouldn't you want to bet? You can just bet/call in that case.

The reason you would check is if you think his range is weighted heavily towards the A high flush. Wanting to check because you think he's going to shove with nothing, when you have a flush, makes no sense.

If you think, like most probably do, that he isn't very likely to c/r bluff and his hands aren't that heavily weighted towards A high flushes, then its an easy bet/fold.


5 years ago

Sorry to be pedantic, but we have 3rd nuts here as 6h4h has a straight flush.

I think a bet of around $1,500 is a nice size here. It gives him 2.66:1 to call which im sure he will be able to estimate as he is a decent player. He could easilly assume you are bluffing often enough in this spot to make a call with a much weaker hand than our K high flush.

I think the above is a good +EV play, but on the infinite timeline that is poker we will face the gross spot when the villain does check raise us all in here.

It will be $3,175 more to win a pot of 8660 which is 2.7:1. This is actually similar odds we gave in our original $1,500 bet to induce a call suspecting a bluff!

However a check raise bluff in this spot is less likely but not impossible. I think that the general live player at these events is a lot more creative and a lot more aggressive nowadays than in the past. I think given this and our damaged reputation with our K6 earlier might just tip me towards a call in this particular instance, as he may have been calling down light. He may well have been going for a hero call on every street, only to be faced with an ugly heart on the river, so he decided to go all in rather than "hero call" because any heart may beat him.