#2 How Would You Play the Hand?


This is from a hand that I recently played in a soft 1/3 NL game at Stones Gambling Hall in Citrus Heights, CA. On this particular Friday night, they had 14 cash games running and plenty of action. For a couple of reasons, I felt like I played this hand poorly, which proves why it is important to review hands after your session. Fortunately, my opponents weren’t playing very strong, and I was able to salvage some value on the river by using a raise/fold line. Feel free to comment below on how you would have played the hand.

 $830  $250  $250    $370 $460
 Hero  Villain1  Villain2    Villain3 Villain4

The game was 9 handed and I am dealt T♠T♥ UTG+1.  I open for $10 and get 4 callers from middle position, middle position +1, button, and big blind.  The flop comes T♣,6♠,4♠ and the big blind checks.  The pot size is currently $50.  How would you play the hand here? 

  1. Check     B.  Bet $25     C.  Bet $35      D.  Bet $50+

I decided to bet $25, although I probably should have bet about $35.  Continuation betting into a 5 way pot shows a lot of strength and I don’t want to scare off my opponents.  Although there is a flush draw, I know that there are no flush/pair combo draws because I am holding the T♠.  Other than the big blind’s range, this flop also doesn’t really hit any of my opponents two pair hand ranges, and even top pair is unlikely given I have two Tens, so overall it is a pretty dry flop.  I think this is why I opted to bet only half the pot size in an attempt to lure in one or two opponents.  Although it is a dry flop, there is too much value lost by checking here in an attempt to slow play because you will still get a call from flush draws and smaller sets.  Checking this flop is probably your worst option.

Both middle positions and the big blind call, so we now have a 4-way pot with $150 in the middle.  The turn is the dreaded J♠ The big blind checks once again.  How would you play the hand here? 

  1.  Check    B.  Bet $85 to $100    C.  Bet $150      D. Shove
I think option B is the best here.  There are still a lot of worse hands that you can get value from including smaller sets, big spade draws, top pair hands, and two pair hands such as AJs, AJo, KJs, KJo, QJs, QJo, A♠x, K♠x, Q♠Jx, JTs, JTo, 64s, 64o.  Betting here protects against Ax, K♠x, and even Q♠x.  Even if someone made the flush, I still have at least 10 outs to a full house, and if they made a low flush, I have as many as 17 outs with the Ts in my hand, so getting raised here is not terrible.  Depending on how big the raise is, you can evaluate your odds to call.  Villains 1 and 2 can easily be shoving on this turn with A♠x, K♠x, Q♠Jx type hands given their stack sizes.  I ended up checking the turn which I think potentially costs me a lot of value here over the long run.
Villains 1 and 2 also check behind and we go to the river, which is a 7♣.  Now, the big blind leads for $35 into a $150 pot.  How would you play the hand here?
A.  Call   B.  Raise
A $35 bet is a really small bet and looks very weak.  There is always the possibility that her bet size is to induce a raise, however that line risks losing a lot of value especially against opponents who haven’t been raising much in late position.  I’m not too concerned with Villains 1 and 2 having a flush after they checked back the turn, so the question is whether or not to raise or just call.  In my opinion, calling loses too much value.  The only reason I would consider just a call here is in hopes for an overcall, which is a bad decision because A. it is unlikely that I get an overcall, and B. It’s only an additional $35.  By raising to $110, a call from just the big blind alone earns me $75 more and if the big blind decides to shove on me, I can still easily fold.  This raise/fold line offers me a chance to maximize value on the river, which was necessary after playing the turn passively. 
The big blind called my raise and mucked her hand.  I won the $370 pot.
Comments on how you would have played the hand are welcome :)
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