Game is 1/2 9max cash home game. Both UTG players are good regs while BB is more recreational player.

SB (hero): $245
BB: $140
UTG: $500
UTG +1: $500

UTG raises to $11 (usual raises are $8-11 so its high but not significant) UTG+1 calls, folds to Hero who calls with 99, BB calls.

Flop is K J 9 rainbow. Pot $44

Hero checks, BB leads out for $28, UTG and UTG+1 both call. Hero?

KK and JJ are both 3-bet hands so it is likely to be only in UTG's range. UTG+1 could have a nitty JJ flat preflop but unlikely. If Hero shoves, it feels like KJ is the only worse hand that would call.

Hero considers flatting but feels like every turn is a bad turn (save the case 9).

Hero shoves, and is called 4 way.
BB tables 8T for the OESD
UTG tables JJ
UTG+1 tables QT for the flopped straight, giving Hero a 1 outer to win the hand

  • I don't think a brick turn is bad for you. Still, can't really tell what to do in this spot. It's tough!
    – David
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 9:38
  • 1
    Tough spot so makes a nice question. I'll put an answer on it later.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 13:38
  • Just a bad beat. You can also flat and go broke on the turn. :)
    – Raymond
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


So let me just first start by saying this is a really tough spot, but I do think you made mistakes here. Do I think you played bad, no, but with that said we can still be critical of the play here and learn from it. Let me just start this with some questions for you, what do you beat that calls you here? To continue from this, are those hands that beat you and that you beat likely in your opponents range?

I think by answering the above two questions you can learn a lot about was this a good play or not? So you even said it yourself;

If Hero shoves, it feels like KJ is the only worse hand that would call.

You literally hit the nail on the head with this hand. I know it's a super tough spot, it is really damn hard to fold a set in any situation but I think this situation is one of those. However with that said I think, from my point of view, your mistakes are your bet sizing and when you should have bet.

Again as you said above the only thing calling you that you beat is KJ. So with that you've clearly put your opponents on a range, and then you've gone against your thinking.

So let's break down the hand, we know 2 players are solid regs, and the other is a short stack recreational, we also know all players are early position. We know it's an early position raise from a solid reg, and importantly a flat from another solid reg in early position. Given this information we can definitely narrow their range to some premium holdings, the odd bluff in here but a pretty solid range. I think your call with 99s in the SB is fine.

So you see a flop, not an amazing flop for our hand given the information that our opponents should have pretty narrow ranges, and this type of board is all over these ranges. Your check here is ok, but I'd prefer a lead to see where you are.

BB opens into 2 players, one of whom opened from early, whom are both good players too, we'll assume the BB, even if recreational, is aware enough that they're good players. His bet is ok here, bit on the smaller side, but importantly get's two smooth calls, which again screams strength from the two solid regs. Put it this way, these two players should be good enough to be aware that calling here is super strong but that they want the BB to commit their stack. Additionally, calling here as their is no flush means there can't be much profitable floats here, and it's not great to try smooth call bluff later streets on this board with so many players still around.

So given you said the only hand that would call a shove that you're ahead of is KJ why shove here? I think this is the real mistake of how you played this hand. You had the right thinking, you knew their ranges were strong and you went against that thinking. So if I'm not mistaken, after calling the flop you have $234 left in your stack, and after action is back to you the pot is $128. You're risking $234 to win $128, despite knowing that this is a spot you'll only be called by better and have very poor equity. Also I completely agree, nearly every turn card is irrelevant or just a bad card for you, i.e. you're already beat or you hate to see paint as it'll likely be good for one of the 3 other players.

So how could you have done this differently;

  1. Best course is to open the flop, a good solid raise something around 34 to a pot sized bet is nice here given how polarising the flop is. It makes it easier for you to fold when someone re-raises and calls in these cases. Let's take the line that you open to $34, BB calls, the pot is now $112. In this case I think JJs would likely raise to protect their hand, which would prompt a bigger reaction from the UTG+1 with the nuts, meaning you could get away from it for $34. Plus the good players would now have a good sized pot and would want to get it to heads-up to protect their hands against draws.
  2. Second best course I think is to check raise. As said above the pot would be $128 after checking by the time action comes back to you. I think you could absolutely make a raise here for close to pot sized bet and again this gives you an option to ultimately get away from it or make a better play.
  3. Postle level play would be to just fold it, but that'd be a crazy impressive fold from you to check fold that flop.

So things I think you did well;

  1. You're thinking right, only hands better than you are calling a shove, a good sized raise can be effectively the same thing as a shove, but the key difference means you get to keep the majority of your chips.
  2. You successfully identified that nearly every turn is a bad turn for your hand.

I think this spot is a cooler for sure, and with some of the comments you mentioned on your question you're thinking along the right lines, but just not trusting or following through on that thought process. Overall it's a cooler, a learning spot but keep thinking the way you are and you'll be telling stories of that time you fold bottom set and were right.

  • If i lead fold here, then i will need to be leading at least JJ, QT to lead call? I don't mind the leading out, but as of now i always check my entire range to the aggressor, and im not sure if its a good overall strategy to have a donk lead range.
    – sakon
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 6:32
  • Also for pt 2, if i c/r, the smallest i probably can go is $110 total? If im re-shoved against, is the plan to fold with $120 behind when the pot is $544? Also, what would be the plan if my c/r is called? Agree its a tough spot so i appreciate the answer nonetheless, but these were some of my considerations in real time, hence leading to the possibly bad shove.
    – sakon
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 6:39
  • So some good questions from you above here. So I think a set is fine to lead here on this board, put it this way you have very little information to define your hand in this situation. I'd personally be fine making a big lead here as it'll define your hand well and let you know better when and if you get reraised. Also I'd argue that you shouldn't be checking your entire range to your aggressor 100% of the time. You can mix up an odd raise in these spots. I mean like everything in poker the context of the situation matters, I think donk betting here does a lot to help you get information here.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 9:18
  • For your second question, let me put it this way, if you're beat, and your opponents has a call already, why spew the rest of your chips? It's a cash game right? No need to risk your money on losing situations, tournament absolutely a cooler, next tournament. Cash no need to lose your buy-in completely. I think what would be likely if you c/r is you'd see a shove and a call from UTGs, in this case it would be to fold. If it was smooth called, well you see a turn and more importantly you know UTGs smooth called 2 bets like it was nothing, they aren't scared of much hands on a board like that.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 9:21
  • But this is absolutely a tricky spot, and these are the type of spots where you will make the shove and lose. Like I think it's absolutely the likely play for many people, however I'm just putting a different pov across that you didn't need to lose your stack. I think the way you were thinking is great, recognising the turn is nearly always bad for you and that only better is calling you. I think the only point your missing here is following through on your correct thought process. Now this hand and advise is applied here because it's 4 handed, chances are someone has it given their actions.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 9:25

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