What’s Your Play? Bad Runout for an Overpair

What's Your Play?The game is $5/$10/$20 no-limit hold ‘em, and it’s playing pretty deep. Villain 1 has $8K, Villain 2 has $5K, and I cover both.

Villain 1 is a professional and the toughest of my opponents in this game. He’s far more situationally aware than most and reads hands pretty well. He’s more inclined to make heroic calls than heroic folds, though he’s capable of both, and it’s possible that the stakes, which I believe are on the high end of what he usually plays, might change that a bit. His opening ranges are relatively wide from all positions, but he knows that I like to 3-bet him and has shown a willingness to play back with light 4-bets and aggressive post-flop play.

Villain 2 is not a profession but he is a serious player and a good friend of Villain 1. Villain 2 has openly expressed his expectation that he and a third friend of theirs will play straight-forwardly against each other. I expect that Villain 2 will be softplaying Villain 1 (i.e. not the most nefarious collusion, but checking or folding if he has nothing, betting or raising if he believes he has the best hand, never slowplaying or bluffing), but I’m not certain whether Villain 1 will reciprocate. Villain 2 tends to be suspicious of me and my bets.

Villain 1 opens to $75 in early position. Villain 2 calls in the CO. Hero calls with Jc Js from the SB, the BB and straddle fold. Although a 3-bet would surely be profitable here, I was unsure of how to expect Villain 1 to respond and chose to keep the pot smaller when out of position against him.

The flop came 9s 7d 3s. I checked, Villain 1 bet $135 into $255, Villain 2 called, and I called. The turn was the As, and we all checked it without significant hesitation.

The river is the Kd. There’s $655 in the pot. Hero?

What’s your play and why? If you check, be sure to think about how you’ll respond to a bet from either player. If you bet, be sure to think about your target and how you’ll respond to a raise. Post your thoughts and suggestions here, and I’ll be back with my own on Friday.


Other posts you might like:
  1. What’s Your Play? Bad Runout for an Overpair Results
  2. What’s Your Play? Weak Overpair, Four-Bet Pot

57 Responses to “What’s Your Play? Bad Runout for an Overpair”

  • Eddie says:

    Let’s see what I can figure out:
    - V1 doesn’t have the flush or a spade. I’d expect him to barrel the turn in that case. I’m lowering the probability that he has an A as I would expect him to bet that. I think that V2′s presence in the hand is kind of handicapping what V1 can do on the turn and forcing him to play more straightforwardly than he’d like as you can squeeze him hard were he to bet and V2 call.
    - V2 doesn’t have the flush or an A, based on the read that he’d play straightforwardly when V1 is in the pot.

    As played, your range can be really wide here, definitely wider than theirs. You could probably rep a VERY strong hand with a check/raise, and not be too upset if the river checked through. However, the C/R is a pretty expensive proposition, one I’d need a better feel for their ranges to perform.

    As such, I’m betting JJ as a bluff on this river (maybe a bluff with the best hand). I’d bet anywhere from 40-60% of the pot; whatever I thought would be most likely interpreted as solid value bet. I doubt any one would bluff me off with worse in this spot, so folding to any raise would be easy.

  • TaddisVonBaddis says:

    Well I would start my analysis from the V2 perspective.

    I rule out monsters from his range (flushes, sets, top two pair) due to him not raising the flop (eliminating 99/77/33) or betting the turn (eliminating XsXs). I believe this player would bet Ax on the turn when checked to, given we think he is slightly softplaying V1 and also for fear of 4th spade unless he has AxKs or AxQs then he could possibly check behind for deception (but again that would against one of our main reads which is that he will play straight forward against V1).

    Also, I would like to point out that I think his range mainly consists of pocket pairs or broadway hands because (and I don’t want to rely too heavily into this but it was clearly mentioned for a reason) of the same straightforward tendency we believe V2 will exhibit in hands vs V1. At the time of the preflop call in CO, there is a high probability that V2 will be playing this pot HU vs his friend V1. As a result, I think we can skew his hand range away from those speculative suited connecting hands that would play better in a multi way pot or against an opponent whose range is tighter (and one that you would like to “crack” big hands against).

    Therefore my range for V2 consists mostly of:
    22-88, TT (but not 99/77/33); I can’t see him continuing on the flop with KQ, KJ, KT without having the spades…but he checks turn so I can’t put him on spades either.

    V1, from the description, is very capable of a wide variety of moves, making it significantly more difficult to range him. His flop cbet doesn’t tell us a whole lot about his range IMO. His turn check gives us a lot more information tho. With a flush I would expect him to try to build the pot, regardless of his flush strength (I say this because on that flop there are very little pure floats from Andrew oop or from Mr. Straightfoward in the CO so it is reasonable to think that both V2 and Andrew have either pairs, flush draws or T8/68 as their most likely holdings). Certainly there is a case for checking QJss or JTss here but V2′s playing straightforward almost handcuffs V1 because he knows V2 is checking behind the vast majority of the time and won’t want to leave himself with just the river to build the pot with such a strong hand.

    Additionally, the ace being the ace of spade should be a very good card for him to bet as a 2nd barrel bluff because it is much less likely that an opponent holds an ace since the nut flush draw does not exist on the flop. Him being a thinking player, I can see him checking an Ax hand here for two reasons 1.) allow V2 to make his straightforward bet with a flush, if he has one 2.) allow Andrew to bluff at the river when V2 checks behind. Whether he would make this same play with KK/QQ i don’t know, but if he is astute enough to realize the unliklihood of either v2 or Andrew having an ace once it is the ace of spade in particular that peels off, i wouldn’t rule it out as it would double as both a bluff inducer for Andrew as well as a pot controller for the river if a bad card peels off since he knows v2 is never betting without a strong hand on the turn. I’m leaning towards V1 having Ax/KK/QQ/TT or some random air hands like QJ or QT with one spade.

    Kind of a ramble but I would probably check the river because V1 is almost never folding hands that beat us and there’s really no reason for him to turn Ax/Kx hands or even QQ into bluffs since they rate as the most likely best hands once we check the river. So if he really is as good as the description I would expect him to check one pair hands that beat JJ. bet flushes, KK and most likely AK for value. And to bet his air hands since he knows V2 will most likely fold to him and Andrew has already checked the river and thus shouldnt be able to call (also Andrews hand is pretty underrepped so that could inspire a bluff from V1 even more)

    Executive summary: Check call river bet from v1 unless v2 does something in between, then we fold.

    • Botswana Nick says:

      I was about to write a long reply and but Taddis beat me to it, I agree with most of what he said especially regarding V2. With our read, we can narrow his range quite a bit and I think Taddis was right on eliminating most Aces and all better hands. I think if he has us beat, it is most likely due to having a K, but that is extremely unlikely. V1′s range is wider, I don’t think we can completely eliminate an Ace but with the spades to the turn, I think a bare A is less likely. Also he could possibly have a flush or other monster but again I think it is unlikely given how he played the hand. His range is much more capped than ours (it is easy for us to represent a flush for example), so we should at least consider a bluff. Even if we don’t think he will show up with too many Aces or Kings, an overbet bluff could be profitable if he never has a big hand capable of calling (and if we think he will fold a hand like AT). So I think I would bet something near full pot if we think that bet will fold out all 1 pair hands. Check-calling might be better if we think V1 will try to bluff with a whole bunch of air, but that seems unlikely.

      PS. this hand is a great example of how much of a handicap it is to play at a table with a friend if you are going to play like this (and broadcast it to the table). Andrew can in particular crush V2 in any hand that all three of these players are in, because we have seen just how much playing “straightforwardly” narrows his range. For this reason, Andrew might consider overcalling with a much wider range in any hand where the other two are playing.

  • Kokiri says:

    I think Villain two struggles to get to the river with a better hand, so I’m more worried about villain one, who I think can easily hold an ace or a king. If we bet, we can get a king to fold, I think, probably not straightforwardly an ace. He bets a decent chunk of his aces, though, so his 1p range ought to be weighted more towards kings than aces, and thusly a river bluff seems somewhat appealing. That said, I’m not sure how many aces are convincingly in our range once we c/c the flop three ways. I suppose we can represent a flush, but our line is more consistent with aces up I think than aj or something. Villain one doesn’t look that likely to hold a monster, but if he bets I think he likely has you beat enough that I don’t like a c/c, otoh, I’m starting to talk myself into a c/r river bluff. This is probably over thinking things.

  • I have a question about your play:

    While I understand your hesitation about 3betting the PF raiser, which amounts to a squeeze, why aren’t you donking the flop or check / raising the flop? You flopped an overpair, which is very likely strong against V1′s range, and V2 is, in your opinion, not slow playing – therefore, he believes he may/may not have the best hand here (or could be on a spade draw). With a 2 spade semi-connected flop, why wouldn’t you c/r the flop for value? I would think you’d want to think the herd of spade draws – or at the very least – get value from those draws. Moreover, V2 gets a good price to draw 2 overcards. So why are you turning passive on the flop?

    • PokerWilo says:

      If I may, I believe a check raise on flop leaves andrew vulnerable to a V1 reraise. if Andrew gets reraised what should he do? I think we need to understand V1′s tendencies and capabilities. Can he reraise both bluffs and stronger than JJ hands? What if V1 calls and/or V2? Lotta bad turn and river cards coming. The pots inflated allowing more incentive for villain(s) to take it away on future streets. Being oop sucks and I think keeping pot low is better. Unfortunately, it was a really bad runout but at least he might make it to showdown w/o any further $$ going into the pot. If not so u lose w JJ on a board with an ace and a king. And if u got bluffed off your weak hand so be it. Next.

    • foucault says:

      I’d rather have the additional information about what my opponents do before I decide whether and how to put money into the pot. Had the action gone bet-raise, I could fold without ever putting a penny in. If it checked around, I could confidently value bet a lot of turns (though not this one). Etc.

      • PokerWilo says:

        If I were to make an argument for check raising here on flop it would be for two reasons. One, to end the hand right then and there just to get out of potentially being in a bad spot on future streets, and two, to show my hand after villains fold. On occasion I like to show my cards if I’m trying to help establish an image of “having it” when I raise or check raise. It could help future bluffing opportunities and helps balance your check raising range. If they play back and I have to fold an over pair, yes it was an expensive way of finding out where you were at. But, it’s offset by the image you’re establishing (if that’s the image you want) the times they fold and by the fact you took down a pot.

  • Carlos says:

    Villain 1 is wide from all positions so he probably doesn’t have anything most of the time. His flop bet means nothing. His turn check is either…

    1. air or a small pair giving up in a multiway pot especially one in which his friend has indicated he has something by calling the flop. if he had the spade draw and got there, he’d bet it.

    2. a marginal hand that just wants to get to showdown

    3. a monster that has no good value target like AA (not very likely combinatorially and he may not want to check it with 3 spades out there and only one street left)

    Villain 2 has something to call this flop bet, but not strong enough to raise.

    1. a marginal hand
    2. a draw (he may not raise this as a bluff since his friend is in the pot)

    His turn check denies a made flush so he probably has a marginal hand.

    So Villain 1 more than likely has air or a marginal hand going into the river and villain 2 has a marginal hand. A lot of the air hands are Kx so they became marginal. They are both weighted towards KQ at best. I think a decent A would have bet the turn for value/protection.

    That said, I don’t know if you can bet them off of a K given the history and the fact that you checked the turn. So worse is not calling and better is not folding, which means we have to check. Also, I don’t think worse is betting so we cant call. If Villain 1 was going to bluff, he would have bluffed the turn. Villain 2 is not even capable of it.

    I check fold JJ here pretty comfortably as if it were TT or 88. I am going to take a leap of faith here and say that the title is purposely misleading. It looks like a bad run out for an overpair, but given the table dynamics, it’s really just a setmine that whiffed.

    • Carlos says:

      Posting and reading WYPs is probably similar to participating in and judging debates. I used logic to form what I felt was a good argument. Then I heard different arguments from others that seem just as logical and now I don’t know what the hell to think.

      When in doubt, go for the home team. Check fold FTW. One time!

    • foucault says:

      “His flop bet means nothing. His turn check is either…”

      I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss these as potential sources of information. A lot of people have made good arguments for various hands that V1 ought to bet on the turn. Actually, so do you in your next paragraph. Even the c-bet isn’t guaranteed to be 100% of his range, you and I have talked about how auto-c-betting really isn’t a viable strategy against good players.

      “I am going to take a leap of faith here and say that the title is purposely misleading. It looks like a bad run out for an overpair, but given the table dynamics, it’s really just a setmine that whiffed.”

      Maybe a little ;-) I certainly wasn’t purely set-mining though. I mean I thought there was a decent chance I had the best hand on the flop, it just got ugly from there.

      • Carlos says:

        What I meant by his flop bet means nothing is better stated as, his flop bet doesn’t necessarily deny any of the “Brokos boxes” (im gonna get this to stick eventually). But now that you’ve prompted me, I will look at this in more detail.

        If he is good and expect the two of you to be, he isn’t auto cbetting. But he knows his boy is playing straightforwardly which allows him to bet air here more often. I’m not sure which way he is more likely to think. For discussion sake, here are some hands he may not bet…
        1. monsters that crush the board like 99 or 97
        2. air with no equity like A4-A5 with no backdoor flush draws
        3. marginal hands that aren’t worth protecting like 22,44-66

        I guess we can take hands like these out of his c-betting range, which strengths the argument for check folding river since Kx hands are more likely in this case.

        “A lot of people have made good arguments for various hands that V1 ought to bet on the turn. Actually, so do you in your next paragraph.”

        My point on the turn is that yes there are hands that he ought to bet, but given that he didn’t, I think his hand is in one of the 3 boxes I listed.

        “Maybe a little ;-) I certainly wasn’t purely set-mining though. I mean I thought there was a decent chance I had the best hand on the flop, it just got ugly from there.”

        This statement could also apply to hands like 88 or 66 even. If V1 bets, V2 folds, I think you can call one with any of these pairs for the same reason.

        Is there really any such thing as a pure set mine? If you have 22 here and he flicks in some super small bet, you’re calling without having hit your set.

        • foucault says:

          Thanks for the follow-up, makes a lot more sense now. We’re going for some advanced Brokos Boxing in this hand – we’re going to move hands out of Villain’s Monster Box for him. You’re right that he could check some pretty strong hands on the turn, but probably not flushes. An overbet, representing a flush or nothing, turns all of those non-flush hands into bluff-catchers.

          • Carlos says:

            “We’re going to move hands out of Villain’s Monster Box for him”

            That might be the most gangsta-ish thing I’ve heard in a long time. I guess the moral of this story is what I alluded to in the last WYP about bluffing the guy off the chop

            If they cant have the nuts and aren’t likely to hero call, then you should bluff big to represent it.

            The trick is to play with people who cant hero call. Being prone to hero fold, I may be one of those people.

  • PokerWilo says:

    Hmmm ok so V1 wide range V2 soft plays vs V1 and in pos. Terrible turn card. Possibly worst turn card in deck. Checks around doesn’t really give u too much info if they’re soft playing each other. I mean v2 did call flop so I guess he’s gotta have something? I think bet folding is not a good option bc I don’t think they’re ever calling with worse. They might raise with worse but never calling with worse. Bet calling no good. You have to be right so often and u better have some kind of real good read or tell to justify a call after betting. Therefore, as played I thing check calling might be best line. If it goes check bet call then it’s an easy fold. If it goes check bet fold then u might consider a call. If it goes check check bet u might fold as he’s supposedly not bluffing in pos vs his friend. Idk that’s why playing oop sucks the big one. Maybe check raise if u think u can get a king to fold but that’s being overly optimistic since u haven’t shown any real strength. And again I don’t think they’re betting kings against each other. Check and pray for showdown imho.

  • Carl Mellor says:

    I read your reasoning for not 3 betting pre but……

    Anyway, I think a decent sized check raise on the flop could’ve help prevent this horrible spot from occuring. At least you would know immediately if you were up against something. Hard to belive both villans would stay. Whilst not impossible, highly improbable given their buddy buddy routine. Think you would be facing another raise from any flopped set on that 2 flush flop. In that case I think it’s an easy fold, especially if it’s from villain 2. Any flatting of a check raise would lend itself more to an overpair or someone chasing the flush draw. The flopped set couldn’t be ruled out entirely, but I think highly unlikely. Got to believe that a check raise would loosen anyone holding A3 A7 A9, unless their ace was the ace of spades. Obviously I know what the turn card was, but had any check raise been flatted on the flop then any Ax spades would’ve been high on my ranging of the villain(s).

    Back to the way the hand was actually played……..

    Villain 1 bet just over half pot, called by villain 2 and you.

    Ace of spades on turn, check, check, check. Terrible card for you, but delighted to be seeing the river card for free. 3rd nut flush redraw, (7s could make potential boat or quads, (Can you tell I play way too much PLO lolz). And 5% chance of spiking a jack.

    Kd on river would appear to be another bad card for your hand

    I’m guessing you manged to conjure up something, hence you posing the puzzle.


    Who would check even a baby flush on that turn?

    Any of the villains would easily call/bet that flop with Ts Js – Flush draw and gutshotter.

    Checking such a strong yet vulnerable hand would be ridiculous, buddy or no buddy and therefore has to be strongly ruled out.

    Ax Ks would be a strong candidate. Particularly villain 2 the more passive player. Think villan 1 would be shoveling into the pot, buddy or no buddy if he had this hand.


    You checked back the turn quickly……

    Lets start putting our plan together.

    Why wouldn’t we check back our turned flush? Especially if it were something plausible like Ks Qs or Ks Js – (We did actually have the Js). True we could’ve been taking a risk had it been a baby flush. But our check could easily have been to check raise our made hand. Very plausible.

    Both villains didn’t take this opportunity to bet – This also told a story.

    The river card now is actually a GREAT card for our plan.


    Rather than check now and very probably have it checked down too by the buddies, regardless of either having an ace or king…..

    Sets ruled out
    4 flush missed.

    We bet. And we bet pretty big to apply maximum pressure. Polarize our range. Our story adds up, we have the flush or at the very least we have a set. But the flush it is for sure that we are selling here.

    It’s going to be very hard for anyone to hero call with Ax here.

    Tell me that’s what you did Andrew?



    • PokerWilo says:

      FYI I snap call ur river bet w Ax unless I have a good reason not too. Your representing of a flush doesn’t mean u have it. According to what Andrew said, villain #1 is a good hand reader AND is more likely to hero call. Therefore, I think a large river bet although somewhat polarized (debatable bc Andrew could be value betting thin or merging his hand) would tend to get a call. I would even so much as say a king calls. It’s easier to not have a hand than it is to have a monster. So I’d look u up and if wrong I’ll make a note of it and the line Andrew took.

      • foucault says:

        “It’s easier to not have a hand than it is to have a monster.”

        That’s not always true. Which hands that call the flop would you expect me to bluff with on the river?

        • PokerWilo says:

          A hand with very little chance of winning at showdown. ie pp’s, one pair hands on flop, over cards cards with a gut (TJ) and one spade, back doors, reverse floats with air. Idk you said V1 knows your willingness to play back. It’s conceivable you could be bluffing V1 knowing V1 is opening wide from any position and suspect the runout might also not be good for V2. It might appear to villains you could be taking a stab at the pot. My point was I think you’re getting called more often than not by villains if they’re holding an ace. Unless I know more about your game and have good reason to lay it down, I feel like I would call.

    • Sean says:

      I second PokerWilo’s comment. Is hero really checking a flush here after the turn checked through and risking having it check through again? Particularly when hero knows that V2 is soft playing V1 (and V1 knows that hero knows).

    • PokerWilo says:

      I realize I’m kinda contradicting myself in the parentheses above. What I’m trying to say is IF we assume Andrew is in fact polarized then I think a large river bet would tend to get a call more often than not by Ax especially from V1. Also, bc V1′s hand is under-rep’d if in fact he has an ace. And the board hits his range more so than ours I think.

      • Carl Mellor says:

        “He’s more inclined to make heroic calls than heroic folds, though he’s capable of both, and it’s possible that the stakes, which I believe are on the high end of what he usually plays, might change that a bit”.

        Further reason for applying maximum pressure and representing the flush. Read my story again. I checked my turned flush HOPING for the opportunity to CHECK RAISE. If I actually had then nuts Ks Xs, then why would i bet? Praying for the 4 flush to land on river. Outside chance that someone could be boating or trying to make quads, but easy to reassess on river.

        I also said that I was taking a risk should my hand have been a baby flush, lets say 3s 4s, and it was checked around. BUT, that was a chance I was willing to take as I HOPING for the opportunity to CHECK RAISE.

        Good players play this way. Villain(s), start putting together the pieces of the puzzle together. Does villain 1, (playing higher than normal as Andrew is well aware), really want to risk calling a very big bet here with most probably Kx at best? He checked the ace on the turn, so I would confidently eliminate him having one. Villain 2 could have an ace but not necessarily as he too checked the turn.

        Villain 2 is the more llkely out of the 2 to have the K of spades in his hand, but again not necessarily. That is why when the 4 flush doesn’t hit on the river we apply MAXIMUM pressure with a very big bet that is going to be hard to hero call. The more I think about this the more improbable it becomes that either of them even had an ace. Why would you check an ace on that turn?

        It’s going to be very difficult for either of them to call our very big river bet here.

        Hence, we turn our hand into a bluff.

        • PokerWilo says:

          Good points. A flush by hero might have been played this same way I agree. But hero does have bluffs in his range too. If V1 is a good hand reader he might call. He might also hero fold and bc he’s playing higher than normal. But I think he’s calling more often than not. And at an 80-90% pot sized bet you need to get a fold almost half the time by both opponents for the play to be plus ev. I just don’t see that happening. I guess the bet size is critical here if you’re looking for a fold by the two opponents. Maybe over bet pot? But if u do you better have a balanced range. Personally, with a big river bet, to me it’s not very believable. The story just doesn’t add up. To me, if you had a flush draw I would consider how likely and how often hero check raises flop. All checking the turn doesn’t necessarily mean they likely do not have an ace. They could easily be pot controlling and inducing river bluffs by hero which they intend to call. Their check on the turn could be to call light on river if they think hero might try to represent. That’s just me.

          • PokerWilo says:

            Whoops it was someone else who said 80-90% pot sized bet. But still you get my point about the “very big bet”.

            • Carl Mellor says:

              Hero is betting the flop. Not checking to check raise. Read my entire post again. Thanks.

              • PokerWilo says:

                Sorry I read it again and I don’t see anywhere that hero is donk betting the flop. Anyway, it sure is an interesting debate either way.

              • Carl Mellor says:

                **Wouldn’t let me reply to you in the appropriate place**


                Rather than check now and very probably have it checked down too by the buddies, regardless of either having an ace or king…..

                Sets ruled out
                4 flush missed.

                We bet. And we bet pretty big to apply maximum pressure. Polarize our range. Our story adds up, we have the flush or at the very least we have a set. But the flush it is for sure that we are selling here.

                It’s going to be very hard for anyone to hero call with Ax here.

              • Carl Mellor says:

                ***Should read hero is betting (leading out), on the river. 1st entry clearly explains my intention***

      • foucault says:

        V1 being underrepped really only matters if it’s going to prompt me to value bet hands weaker than his. A small bet that could represent an Ace or even a King, he would surely call for this reason. But a big bet, representing either better than one pair or a bluff, it really wouldn’t matter whether he had an Ace or not. Any pair is just a bluff-catcher, no matter how good. (Actually I guess that’s not quite true, since we’re talking about maybe turning a decent pair into a bluff…)

        • PokerWilo says:

          Exactly. I agree on that last part. I have called as a bluff catcher on more than one occasion only to find out I was right, but still lose. Not “any pair is a bluff catcher” here. For example if u lead out on river w your hand JJ it is a bluff and if a 9 calls then they were right on their read but still lose. So, V1 hitting the ace and checking turn to under-rep or pot control is reason for him to consider a call on the river. That is why he checked after all if he has an ace. That is why I think a king also calls bc again it is a bluff catcher. V1 could have cbet w Ks and checked with nfd and now hit king on river. I call bs and look you up on river bc ace or king is the same. But a 9 or 7 is different. I think those fold. Now, the size of hero’s river bet matters if trying to get V to fold ace or king, as then Villain will have to seriously try to get a live tell if he’s on the fence about whether you have it or not.

    • foucault says:

      ” At least you would know immediately if you were up against something. ”

      Well, yeah, I find that out by putting a couple hundred dollars into the pot drawing to two outs. That’s a high price to pay to get that information.

      • “I find that out by putting a couple hundred dollars into the pot drawing to two outs”

        I have to say that this comment puts me off a bit. You can’t have it every which way you want. In other words, you didn’t 3bet PF – why? I think you had some sort of read that said you were not good here. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you 3bet pre? “I was unsure of how to expect Villain 1 to respond and chose to keep the pot smaller when out of position against him.” is not an answer; even though he’s a pro and he’s your toughest opponent in the game, you are a pro yourself and you are likely the toughest guy he’s faced. Put some pressure on him! Don’t let him put all the pressure on you. If your read is that you’re beat, then by all means, JJ becomes a set mine.

        Regardless, we’re now in a spot where you either turn your hand into a bluff or check / fold (to the presumed river bet). You’re in the same spot as you were to begin the hand, except now you have to option to represent a turned Ace (which, to your opponent, means you flop floated OOP with Ace high (and turned it), turned/rivered 2 pair (AxYx, etc.) or turned a flush. I think his turn check is mystifying – at this point, I take that to mean he’s checked out of the hand somewhat, because he’s either afraid of a flush or Aces.

        The above, combined with the feeling that JJ becomes a set mine means that he started the hand with QQ, KK, or AA (and possibly AQ, AK). I *ABSOLUTELY* don’t think you can get him off the latter (he’d have turned / rivered a set or two pair, TPGK) – but the former, QQ – yes, you can likely get him to lay that down.

        Honestly, this is a check / fold situation from my seat. If you’re unlucky that he shows QQ and you could have gotten him off of it, so be it. But again, referring to my opening paragraph that you can’t have it both ways: you’ll be “putting a couple hundred dollars into the pot” on a bluff that will rarely work. Granted, betting on the river, the way the board ran out, has a better chance of working than check / raising the flop.

        One last comment. The turn check could also mean he has a KsX hand that is looking for a free river nut flush who then backs into the 2nd pair winner (K on the river). I don’t know if he’s checking the turn with the draw to the nuts or always barreling a turn. It seems to me that from the V’s perspective, the As is a great card to barrel again. I’m continually questioning why he didn’t bet again…

        • foucault says:

          I’m not trying to be rude, I’m just saying realistically that’s the price you pay to find out whether you have the best hand. If everyone folds, it doesn’t matter that you had the best hand, and if they call, you’re probably drawing to two outs. The best hand only matters at showdown. Before that, I want to make people put money in the pot with worse or fold better, and I don’t think check-raising accomplishes either of those things.

          The pre-flop situation is similar. Getting four-bet sucks, and even if you’re called, what are you going to do post-flop? Short of flopping a set, this is one of the best flops you could hope for, and it’s still tricky to play in a 3-bet pot. If you bet this flop and get raised, then what? If you bet and get called, what do you do on this turn? If you only have 100 BB, you can probably just stack off with an overpair, but this deep you have to be more cautious, and that starts with not bloating the pot in the first place. I’d want a stronger hand to raise for value, or a hand with better equity when called to raise as a bluff.

          “Regardless, we’re now in a spot where you either turn your hand into a bluff or check / fold (to the presumed river bet). You’re in the same spot as you were to begin the hand, except now you have to option to represent a turned Ace (which, to your opponent, means you flop floated OOP with Ace high (and turned it), turned/rivered 2 pair (AxYx, etc.) or turned a flush.”

          I like those options!

  • Sean says:

    This one seems tough. (At least to me).

    Villain 1 raises relatively widely from all positions, but he is still in early position (I’m assuming tha this is a full table), so I would give him a something like a 15-18% or so range to start, which seems relatively wide for EP. That range has a lot of strong aces, pairs, suited broadways and some high connectors.

    For villain 2, we don’t have a read as to what type of range he is likely to cold call with preflop, but he is a serious player and called his friend preflop. Still, if he is a serious player, he probably isn’t cold calling with garbage, although the fact that he announced to the table that he expects softplay among himself and his friends signals he isn’t that knowledgeable about poker (at least ethics/etiquette). My guess is that he flats pairs up to JJ, broadway hands, possibly suited connectors. If he is going to softplay his friend, he shouldn’t be playing hands like suited connectors or small pocket pairs that rely upon implied odds – his friend isn’t going to pay him off. However, he might not realize that. He also still does have 4 players to act after he calls. I would also infer that V2 is likely 3betting his friend solely for value and probably with a very tight range. I would only exclude {QQ+,AK} from the top of his range (it’s also possible that he doesn’t 3bet AA or KK because he simply isolates himself against his friend and “wastes” the hand).

    After the flop, V1 probably cbets close to his entire range, knowing that hero is OOP to 2 players and V2 will play straightforward if hero folds. However, when V2 calls, that tells us that V2 has something. He doesn’t know whether hero is going to fold or continue and he is not floating with the intent of taking the pot away from his friend on a later street. I would put V2′s flop continuing range at overpairs, sets, 88, overcards with flush draws and 9x and 7x connector hands. I doubt he raises his nut flush draws, since a raise potentially blows hero out of the hand and puts him heads up vs. V1. On the other hand, I don’t think he necessarily always raises his sets because while he is going to play straightforwardly in a heads up pot vs. V1, why wouldn’t he slowplay with the intent of targeting hero? That said, with a flush draw on the board and an inclination to play straightforwardly, I would discount sets.

    When the turn checks through, I think that defined V2′s range very well. We can take flushes (and any sets) out of V2s range because V1 checked in front of him and V2 would want to bet his hand to get value from hero and let his friend know that he has a hand. I think he very few aces in his range because the aces he had in his range after the flop were mostly flush draws, which the As on the board now blocks. I didn’t put many other Ax hands in his range after the flop because I doubt he is calling V1′s early position preflop raise with likely dominated hands like A9 or A7, and I expect that he would have folded his other aces to his friend’s cbet on the flop, as he is not likely to float with AQo or something. This caps his range at various pairs that hit the flop and hands like JJ-TT,88.

    Villain 1′s check on the turn is tougher, because the As seems like a great barreling card for him. His EP range should have a plenty of strong Ax hands that opened preflop and cbet the flop. He’s also going to have some suited broadways that he cbet the flop with. Of course, he also knows that V2 has something (and probably not an ace), for the same reasons we do. If V1 bets into V2, V2 will probably fold his weak 9x hands to a second bet from V1 (who V2 assumes is playing straightforwardly against him), but V2 will raise his flushes. If V1 checks, he can find out whether V2 has a flush or a weak made hand. Of course, hero also finds this out, but V1 still has position on hero on the river. V1 should probably bet a flush and other strong hands here (e.g., sets, A9), as he would probably barrel his air on this card. However, since he is described as a tough player, I would expect him to check back some strong hands as well, so his checking range is balanced and protected when facing Andrew. All in all, I am concerned about V1′s range on the turn. This card hits his preflop EP opening range and flop barreling range hard. He’s going to be value betting a lot, which means that he can bluff with a lot of his air as well. When he checks, I think we have to take a lot of air out of his range (including hands like 22 or 55 that he can turn into a bluff), so that it is weighted towards KK-TT and weaker Ax hands.

    On the river, I consider the king mostly a blank. However, because I think V1 has a relatively strong range, I’m not sure what to do. I don’t expect V1 to fold better or call with worse, and I imagine that we are probably behind V1′s range – at best breaking even. I think we are doing very well against V2′s range. If I were confident we would get a call from V2, it would seem like a clear value bet – hoping that V1 folds and V2 pays us off with worse. However, I’m having a hard time finding a value target for V2 – this board is pretty scary for T9s. I suppose that V2 might get stubborn with a TT, 9x or 88, especially since it looks like we might be just stabbing at the pot after the turn checked through. Sizing is problematic as well, as we can’t bet too large and still expect V2 to call, but if we bet too small, V1 may bluff raise us. I am flipping back and forth between a value bet of around $300 (targeting V2′s medium pairs that we have beat and folding to a raise) and just checking and hope to get to showdown (planning to fold to a decent sized bet from either player). I don’t see the point in turning JJ into a bluff, as that seems too strong when we should have some weaker hands here.

    • foucault says:

      Great comment Sean, very well thought out and argued.

      • piefarmer says:

        I want to second that. Good post Sean. I especially picked up stuff I had not considered from your last two paragraphs. Not sure you settled on a solution, but that is almost irrelevant. You think through it thoroughly. Hopefully, you could get through most of that in real time at the table, something that seems impossible to non-players like me.

  • Mark says:

    After reading all of the in-depth comments, my idea is to bet whatever size you think will make Villain 1 fold an Ace. I think after being called my both players he is decently likely to check top pair on the turn, especially if he doesn’t have a great kicker. AJ, AT type hands seem more likely than AK. Bad suited Aces as well if those are in his range. If you think he’ll hero call too much with top pair, then I would just give up, but I think 80-90% of pot will rep a flush/set/top two reasonably well, and I can see checking any of those hands on the turn expecting villain to barrel.

  • piefarmer says:

    That’s hard man. That’s a fucking hard situation.
    Only one thing you can do. Shit your pants and dive in and swim.
    Resevoir Dogs 1992

    On the flop Villain 1 remains wide, while Villain 2 narrows to pocket pairs, likely those that give a straigh draw, possibly flush draws.
    On the turn I expect Villain 1 to barrel his Aces, so his range should be non-set pocket pairs, broadway cards without an Ace. KQ and KT seem likely. Villain 2 removes flush draws from his range.
    On the river, t seems likely Hero’s showdown value is low against Villain 1 but decent against Villain 2. However, Hero has two pair hands and flushes in his range. Would hero have lead out or raised the flop with sets? I think so, but wthdik. Hero can check/fold or try to take this pot away.

    Hero should size/time his bet to take the pot away from Villain 1. I think a lead bet of 65-75% pot does that. There is a chance Villain 2 may be suspicious of Hero and call with Tens, which is an added bonus, but the primary goal is to win the pot without showdown here, not to get value from either villain.

    Now, off to read the other posts to see how jacked up I am.

    • Ian says:

      It occurred to me, too, that it’s just about possible to get V1 off a better hand and then looked up by V2 with worse. That would be pretty sweet.

  • Brett says:

    I think the river is a check/fold to any normal sized bet from either player. We played the hand weak throughout, we finish it weak.

    I assume Villain 1 has something, since the turn card is pretty great for him to continue betting on if his hand had zero showdown value. Since he slowed down, to me it’s more likely he is trying to get to showdown even though it’s always possible he whiffed and is just giving up altogether. I don’t think a bet from Villain 1 on the river tells us much as it could be equally likely he’s decided he’s got the best hand (with all that checking going on) so bets hoping for some action as it is that he is taking one last stab at the pot.

    Villain 2 seems likely to have a smaller pair than ours, aces up, or a King, since he called the flop bet with something. He is supposed to be playing straight forward so a bet from him on the river should mean we are beat.

    So in my opinion, most of the time at least one of the villans has us beat so we are figuring out if we can get them to fold if we bet the river. I don’t think we should expect to be successful at this. After all of this checking, the only “monster” hand that we might hold is a flush and I don’t think we can expect the Villains to give us credit for that.

    I would expect Villains to believe that we would have check raised the flop or lead the turn to start building a pot if we had any kind of flush hand that made sense. Would we really get to the river without a bet with any suited connectors or hands that we normally call a preflop raise OOP with? All the broadway cards give us over cards and close to nut flush draws on the flop and all the small suited connectors give us a pair + flush draw and or straight draw on the flop. Those seems like betting hands. So if I were the Villains I would call BS on any attempt for us to rep the flush on the river.

    So it’s a check fold for me.

    • foucault says:

      “We played the hand weak throughout, we finish it weak.”

      This isn’t in any poker rule book I ever read ;-) What was so weak about my play anyway? Calling is often a stronger play than raising. A lot of my raises are bluffs, but I bluff-call much less frequently.

      • Brett says:

        I don’t mean “weak” in a derogatory way, although I guess it’s probably not the best word to use then. I just mean we’ve been passive in this hand so Villains don’t have a lot of incentive to give us credit when we bet, so if they have anything at all, it’s going to be hard for them to talk themselves in to a fold. We can’t beat much of what they are calling with. As I said, I really don’t believe our line/story in this hand can rep any really strong holdings so the Villains’ decision making is easier when we bet.

  • Bat H says:

    V1, being ‘professional’ would have value bet an Ace on the turn, a set or a flush as opposed to trapping with his friend in the pot.

    V2 would have bet any of those combinations as well as he has declared he was playing straight up in hands vs villian 1.

    I would simply check. we have show down value vs J10, 10s, 88s, Q10, 910, and just about any smaller suited connectors and pairs that missed the board. If we bet, the only hands that call us will have us beat given the action. Nobody seemed to like the Ace or the flush hitting the turn so no credit will be given for a flush or AA/lower set type hand. We are deep stacked so this may be a weaker play but is probably the correct play against 2 players on such a coordinated board.


    PS: Preflop, I feel JJ plays so bad oop and against more than one opponent that I would have at least min raised to try and get heads up with one of the two players.

    • Min raising PF like that – especially so deep stacked – gives the raiser odds to call literally any two that he raised with originally. I think a big part of the problem here is playing so deep stacked out of position.

      I think once you see a flop, though, you’re ahead of just so many hands that you can bloat the pot a bit to make the other players uncomfortable carrying forth with their cbets (if that’s what V1 was doing originally). I think you’ll know pretty quickly where you are in the hand.

      As played, and after thinking about it (admittedly longer than you had at the table), I check and hope for a cheap showdown. I think you’re going to be beaten by your KJ, KQ, KT from V1 (I think he bets the turn if he hit his Ace).

      All of this points back to playing more aggressively on the flop.

      • foucault says:

        Very good point about why I don’t want to make a small squeeze OOP.

        • piefarmer says:

          I wanted to ask the same question. Thanks PokerMeister for answering it.

          It various places I’ve heard one should raise more when you’ll be OOP, because you want a better chance of winning right away due to the burden of playing OOP post flop. A counter argument is to flat call more OOP (as opposed to raising not folding), so as to put less money in while at the positional disadvantage. If I understand correctly, a large factor here is stack depth. When this deep, decent players will have the odds to call you, reducing fold equity, so your raises do little more than bloat the pot when you are OOP.


  • pokerodox says:

    I c/raise the flop. Charge the “draws”/for value against AK, AQ, KQ (V1), and those plus pairs that V2 might have (98, 9T, etc. A9?). Plan to c/c turn and river.

    AP, could c/c or c/f river. A and K out there with 2 V’s. Just too much. C/R river would be cool too, reps the slow played (ott) A, like AQ. Honestly, I like c/f. Not even counting how much more commonly A’s and K’s are played, there are 3 A’s and 3 K’s out, so 6 cards, which each have a 2% chance of being in any of the 4 cards the V’s hold. Oversimplifying, that’s a 6X2%X4 = 48% (It’s lower due to card removal, but still something like 40-45%) chance someone has an A or K.) So you can call if you’re getting 60:40 = 1.5:1 or better. Next, what are the odds they call a bet with just a 9 otr? I think not likely, so I don’t bet, but I c/c if getting 1.5:1 or better. C/f if getting worse.

    • foucault says:

      Thanks for comments. FWIW I would be betting the river with AQ, not check-raising it. Then again, I probably wouldn’t be calling the flop with it either.

      If I understand your calculation correctly, I think you just figured out the odds of one of two players being dealt an A or a K. That doesn’t tell us how likely they are to actually have those cards based on the action so far (ie they probably fold some As and Ks preflop, may not bet or call them on the flop, etc) nor does it tell us the likelihood that they’d value bet them on the river relative to the likelihood that they would bluff. Honestly I doubt anyone would try to value bet a King here.

      • pokerodox says:

        That’s often just my starting point (how likely they are to have those cards in a vacuum). A’s and K’s are more likely to be played pre, but agreed they may fold otf. But those two things offset each other to some extent. Plus, people are more like to float with A’s and K’s. I think a big ace is very likely in both player’s hands after flop action. It’s only one bet, only three players in the pot, not like 6 players to the flop (where you should obviously fold AQ to a cbet on this board). My point is, someone can be cbetting AJ, someone else calls with TP, or vice versa. When the turn hits, now the V with TPGK, is thinking to slow down with his one pair hand. Get value otr. Is it that strange to cbet AQ/AJ and then check TPGK? All that to say they can still have an Ace.

        Re value betting with a K, maybe I try to go for value too thinly sometimes, but I could see betting a K, maybe. trying to get value against JJ :) . or TT or 9X. I mean the turn did check around, so I feel people could think that means no one has an A. I know that contradicts what I said above about checking an A ott for pot control. I guess I just feel these small pot, one pair type hands can actually be played a lot of ways. Float or not to float. Bet turn or river, etc. Plus there are three in the pot, not the basic HU, but not a massive family pot, where you need a much bigger hand to get a lot of money in. This is complex and sometimes I feel you can’t tell what is best to do. Just the simple question of whether someone could have an A after this action. I don’t know. Maybe I’m overcomplicating it.

  • Eddie says:

    I’ve been following the thread since my first post, and the thing that I don’t get is why a lot of players are advocating a pot size bluff on the river. To me, that seems more likely to be suspicious and looked up by an A or a K, than a smaller bet would *and* it’s got to succeed more often which seems difficult given the general consensus is that we are going to get looked up often anyway. Might as well bet less than pot in that case. If you bet 50% pot and get called (and are always beat when you are called) less than 66% of the time you profit from the bet. I’d even advocate betting 33%, so that you’d need a double fold only 25% of the time.

    The other thing that I’ve been trying to run through my head is what range Andrew could possibly have to bet this river (also read as what range V1 and V2 think he has). Is he ever betting for value here? If so, how many hand combos is he betting? If the range is such that his value:bluff ratio is so small when leading this river, it lends itself more to betting small (unless I’ve got the math mixed up in my head)

    • Eddie says:

      And furthermore, the c/r line seems more and more appealing the more I think of it (maybe I’m just getting in a gambling/giving mood for Christmas…). Their hand ranges are so weak, that if either of them bets after we check, I can’t see them being able to call a pot sized raise after that without a very strong flush.

    • foucault says:

      “that seems more likely to be suspicious and looked up by an A or a K”

      Why? While you’re right that bigger bluffs have to succeed more often, in theory Villains should fold more often to larger bets as well. One isn’t automatically better or more suspicious than another. Is there something about my descriptions of the Villains that leads you to think they will fold disproportionately more often to smaller bets than to larger ones?

      “If the range is such that his value:bluff ratio is so small when leading this river, it lends itself more to betting small (unless I’ve got the math mixed up in my head)”

      Other way around, actually. Game theory would have you bluff in proportion to the pot odds your bet offers your opponent. So a pot-sized bet, offering 2:1, should contain two value hands for every one bluff. Note that if this is the case, you are indifferent to whether or not your opponent calls you with a bluff catcher. If he does, he wins two pot-sized bets (the bet + the pot) 1/3 of the time, when you are bluffing, and loses one pot-sized bet 2/3 of the time, when you are value betting. If you bet bet 1/2 the pot, he is getting 3:1 on a call and therefore you should have three value hands for each bluff in your range. So when you bet bigger, you should be bluffing more often, and also your opponent should call with bluff-catchers less often.

      That’s all GTO stuff. If you have some reason to believe your opponent will call less optimally for various sizes, then you can and should exploit him appropriately.

      • Eddie says:

        Yeah, I had it backwards. I should have written “value:bluff ratio is so *large*”.

        The reason I feel that a smaller bluff would work better is part levelling game and part value:bluff ratio. Just look at the comments. Everyone is advocating large bets because it puts the player is such an awkward spot. This is a good player, so shouldn’t he know that if he’s being put in an awkward spot that a bluff is quite possible? And since the bet is so large, bluffs must comprise a good part of your range to be balanced.

        The bet size on the river is tricky for us commentors as we don’t know what size bets have been flying around the table, especially on the river. If large bets have been common for nut hands and few bluffs have been seen, go ahead and bet big. Rep the flush with a big bet. I just feel from your posts about this game, that this game doesn’t exactly play like that.

        I just know for the middling stakes I play that sometimes you have to bet smaller to get a greater percentage of folds from some players. While you say he can find hero calls, that also means that he can find hero folds to. His Ax/Kx hands shouldn’t looking so hot when you all of a sudden come to life on the river. It really appears that you are pissed that you didn’t get your c/r on the turn and are now trying to get some sort of value for your turned flush.

  • Rant2112 says:

    I don’t think we can bet the river for value. There are too many Kx and Ax in Villains’ combined ranges.

    There is a decent chance that we are ahead and that the river will check through. We may also be able to check/call for value.

    If V1 bets and V2 calls then I snap fold. If V1 bets and V2 folds then it is probably a call. I would expect most good players to bluff often enough here for a call to be profitable.

    If V1 checks I don’t think V2 is going to bet very often. He is less likely to bet for thin value or to bluff with his buddy in the pot. So, I think a fold is probably best if it goes check, check, bet.

    There is enough value in checking that it is probably better than turning our hand into a bluff.

    That said, Hero is best able to represent a big flush. I think the best way to rep a strong flush is to lead large on the river. It is a credible story that Hero was hoping to check/raise on the turn. I would bet well over the pot size – probably nearly 2x pot. Hero’s river range contains a decent number of flushes and I want to bet them large for value. We need a few bluffs to balance with. I’m not sure that JJ is a great bluffing option though because of how much value there is in checking it. We can probably just bluff our busted straight draws and have enough bluffs to balance our large river value bets. If we don’t play T8 or 86 like this then maybe T9, J9, or other hands like that are better bluffing candidates than JJ.

    I think check/raising the river looks very fishy because it is reasonably likely that the river will check through.

    I don’t like a smaller bluff because there are too many Ax and Kx in the combined villain ranges and I haven’t thought enough to figure out if there are any value hands I’d want to bet small with. ( AdXd? A9? K9? )

  • Gareth says:

    A tricky conundrum. Why did I just start working on this Friday? There is not enough mull time…

    leading normalish 50-80% pot seems worst

    so then overbetting, check-folding, and check-raising river are all probably better than that. Seems like you have a good deal of hands that need to bluff in one way or another on this river, since you have some flushes, and then made hands that hate this runout, and then JT, T8, 86. Those air hands don’t want to check and see showdown, so maybe you should overbet lead. The plausibility of a high betting frequency from these two combined seems far-fetched. So then if they can’t be expected to bet, how implausible is our check-raise line for value?

    On the other hand, when it checks through we have the best hand often at showdown, and when it doesn’t (ie one of them bets) we basically never do. So that is a merit to check-raising, win when it checks through, win when it doesn’t. Sometimes lose to QQ.

    Will they believe? I dunno. but if someone bets 400 and you make it 1600 they can have fun with that. Some serious grunching going on here, so my apologies to what looks like a spirited debate above!

  • answer20 says:

    I like the idea of a polarizing c/r here if we have the guts to do it. Otherwise we might get to showdown against TT/Kx/Ax.

    So we let our ‘flush’ go by on the Turn to let an Ace bet .. didn’t happen. We let it go by again on the River to trap any value bettors who might fold out to a bet if they are weak or have ‘nothing’ and then knocked um over the head. The only issue here is that if either V (more likely V2 with Hero to act behind) was slow playing a hand then we get caught.

    I don’t think we can get very many Ax to fold the River if we bet (any size bet really), but we might be able to get a few Kx hands to fold out if they have kicker problems. I think V2 is more likely to call with ‘any’ Kx since he would think (in his straight forward way) that Hero would have tried to protect his Ax hand due to the backdoor flush possibilities.

    Any Hero River bet has to be tied to how much bluffing/slow play has been (or is expected to) happening previously. Hero admits that both players have some doubt about what Hero might have at any given time. So that leads to more calls with somewhat weaker holdings IMO.

    Not so sure that TT bets here after 2 overs and a flush are on the board and I think that most K would be happy to go to showdown. So if we see a River bet it is more than likely from a slow played flush or Ax. A c/r will get Ax to fold quite often but most flushes will call it off unless strangely low here. Take your chances with c/f or c/r but I dont like betting or c/c in this spot. GL