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Lucky River with Quads

by Jonathan Little |  Published: Oct 09, '17

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This hand is from the 2015 $3,500 World Poker Tour event at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We were in the middle of the third day of the five-day competition. The blinds were 4,000/8,000-1,000. I had 450,000 and my opponent, a middle-aged splashy player had 800,000.

I raised to 19,000 with Jh-Jd to from middle position and my opponent, in the hijack seat, called. Everyone else folded.

The flop came Js-7c-6d. Even though I flopped top set, it is somewhat probable that my opponent has a marginal made hand or a draw. Also, due to my opponent’s splashy nature, he may decide to bluff me. You will find that when you flop a strong, but vulnerable, hand, the best play is usually to bet.

I bet 26,000 into the 59,000 pot and my opponent called.

The turn was the (Js-7c-6d)-Jc. That is a decent turn for me! While slow playing certainly has some merit, I thought the best way to get a large portion of my stack in the pot was to continue betting. I thought my opponent would strongly consider checking behind on the turn with a middle pair, which would be a disaster for me. I also didn’t think he would pay me off if I check-raised on either the turn or river. Occasionally, he may even get out of line and raise as a bluff.

I bet 40,000 into the 111,000 pot and my opponent called.

The river was the (Js-7c-6d-Jc)-8c.

Since I thought my opponent’s range going to the river was almost entirely marginal made hands and draws (which would now be middle pair or a straight), it doesn’t make sense to bet huge. Most opponents will only call a small bet with their worst made hands. If for some reason I thought my opponent was a calling station, a larger bet would have been ideal. I bet 57,000 into the 191,000

I bet 57,000 into the 191,000 pot.

To my surprise, my opponent instantly raised 157,000, making it 100,000 more.

At this point, I assumed my opponent’s range was very polarized to premium value hands and bluffs. If he is bluffing, he will fold no matter what I do, so I do not need to be concerned about that portion of his range. Most players are not capable of getting away from a strong hand on the river to any reraise size. This should lead you to make a large reraise in similar situations.

After matching my opponent’s raise, I had 207,000 left in my stack.

Since I thought my opponent had either an overly premium hand or nothing, I went all-in.

My opponent instantly called with Ac-6c, a flopped bottom pair that backdoored into a flush, awarding me a gigantic pot.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I think my opponent made an error by calling my river all-in. Unless he thinks I am blatantly crazy, my river bet-reraising range is almost entirely full houses. After the hand, my opponent was beating himself up for raising my initial river bet of 57,000. I think his river raise was acceptable because I should have trips a large amount of the time and will at least consider calling a raise. If he thinks I will call a river raise with trips, raising the river with the flush is a great play, but if he thinks I will fold trips to a river raise, he should just call. If he decides to raise, as he did, he must be disciplined enough to get away from his hand once it becomes clear that I think I have the nuts. Even when you have what you perceive to be the effective nuts, when your opponent is playing as if he has the actual nuts, you must be disciplined enough to get out of the way.

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Jonathan Little is a two-time World Poker Tour champion with more than $6 million in tournament winnings.

 
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