The tournament has 30 minute blind levels, everyone began with 10K in chips, and the play is 10 handed. At this point the blinds are 200/400 with a 50 Ante. Hero starts the hand with 7825 in chips before the ante and is in the Cut-Off position.

It's folded around to the hero who looks down at A:hearts: T:clubs:. Hero raises to 1000. Button who has played solidly so far calls and the big blind calls. The pot has 500 in antes, 200 from the small blind, and 3000 from the raise and 3 callers for 3700 total. Hero's stack is now 6775.

Flop is 5:clubs: Q:diamonds: T:hearts:.

BB checks, hero bets 1800, button calls, BB folds. Now there is 7300 in the pot. Hero has 4975.

Turn is the 3:hearts:. Hero checks, button bets 4000. Pot is now 11300 total. Hero ?

  • I would fold, but unfortunately you're kind of pot-commited... you're right: it's a tough decision... Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 13:01
  • I know it's not very helpful but these are really the kind of considerations that you should take before you make the bet on the flop. It's a tough spot and I would lay it down I think, however it is maybe not great play to put yourself in that position. What were the other players stacks?
    – hmmmm
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 19:28
  • @hmmmm I don't disagree with you. I've been trying to get back into the game and things have really changed since I was last a regular player. I am constantly shocked at the types of hands that end up at showdown. There had been sever pots at this table with huge bets and calls with bottom pair and air. This opponent had only been moved to the table 15 minutes ago, so no reads on him. The other stacks at the table all had me covered. Chip average at this point for the tournament was 35K, and I'd say my table had 4 stacks at that level or greater, with the others around 16kish.
    – DonkeyFish
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 19:53
  • @hmmmm from a high level, flopping middle pair there's probably no right solution as far whether to fire out a continuation bet on the flop vs checking after being the initial raiser. I don't want hands like J9 or KJ to get free cards, but betting into players that have overpairs or a Q isn't good either. It's the local monthly main even tournament day 1 (2 day event) with a $200 buy-in, so the level of competition is quite a bit better than a random $40 Monday night event FWIW.
    – DonkeyFish
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 20:02
  • @DonkeyFish Cool, the stack sizes are pretty important. I will post an answer later probably as I don't have that much time just now. In general I would say that middle pair on a board like that is easily worth a c-bet (I'm c-betting there with any two) but 1800 into a pot of 3700 with the relative stack sizes and two players is always going to get a call (it's got the right odds for a lot of draws and bluff frequency) so I think you have to know what you are going to do in the turn before you make that bet or make a bigger bet.
    – hmmmm
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 21:02

4 Answers 4


This is an interesting question.

I think you've played right pre-flop.

I think the continuation bet is right post flop usually, but your stack size I think means you need to either push all-in or check-(call/fold).

Against one opponent I would push in this instance. Considering the second opponent here is the BB-special, I'd probably still push. It's unlikely they've hit the Queen, and you've just got to hope your caller on the button isn't sitting on high pockets or has hit the queen. Perhaps the button caller has a wideish range because they've got position and are unlikely to be re-raised in this spot.

Regarding your question about what to do on the turn, I don't think calling is a terrible option here, assuming they haven't hit the set and they've only hit the Queen, you've still got 5 cards in the deck (3 As and 2 Ts) which will be winners for you. You're paying for 23% or so odds, you're getting around 12%, which isn't horrible (that's assuming they've hit the Queen). With implied odds there's a whole lot of hands like J9s or even KT that they may have called 25% of the pot just to see what comes around on the turn, and they've pushed when they've sensed weakness.

I think AT is the worse hand you call with in this situation. I'd throw away KT (unless I had a flush draw), but AT is decent. It's just too easy here for villain to push if you're folding 2nd top pair with top kicker. I'd call unless villain generally doesn't bluff.


On second thoughts, I've forgot about the antes. With the antes, I think your preflop raise is too small. I have a habit of raising the pot pre-flop. There's no evidence I've got that this is the best way, but anything less seems to let drawing hands cheaply call. In this case, raising the pot is betting 1900. Now, it's worth thinking what you'd do if someone comes over the top with an all-in (lets say the button). The pot will contain 10775 in chips, you'll have to invest your 5875 to call. This is a hard fold to make. You only need 35% odds to call here (ignoring bubble factor). You're slightly behind a pocket Tens to Kings (30%) and you're a bit more behind Ace King-Jack (25%). On King-any other you're in front (60%), and you're still getting better than your odds against pockets lower than 9 (45%). I tend to think if you're in a situation where you're struggling to fold to a reraise, you might as well be the one that goes all in, lest your opponent has the advantage of determining the size of the pot.

With 1100 in the pot pre-flop, and a stack of 7775, you're probably in push fold territory. Push here and steal the blinds. If there was no ante, a raise to 1400 to steal 600 still gives you room to fold to a 3-bet whilst being strong enough to make the BB think seriously about calling. If they do call, you're in push/fold on the flop. Raising to only 1000 pre-flop I think makes the button assume the BB will call, so entices the button to call with drawing hands.


I would have checked the flop there. You'll still have +/- 16BB or an M of 6 left if you fold. You can pick another spot. So if the button bets, I fold. Depending on his stack / aggressivenes he might semi-bluff with a straight draw. You'll be hard pressed to shove as a response, because he'll call. Suppose he fires 2000, that'll make the pot 5700. If you shove the pot becomes 12475. He'll have to call 4775, almost 3 - 1. He won't fold. If he bets more...well that just makes calling easier for him. Sometimes he'll have you beat and if not, he still has a pretty good chance to draw out on you. If he has KJ he not only has 8 outs (aces and nices), but also the kings and jacks as outs.

If he checks behind and the BB bets the turn I fold too.

However if the BB checks the turn I'm assuming my middle pair, top kicker to be good and jamming it as any decent bet is committing me anyway. There's 3700 in the middle, 54% of my stack. I'll take it. If the button had any kind of hand (a Q for instance) I would have expected him to bet it on the flop. Same for the BB by that point. He might have checked a weak Q on the flop, but on the T he likely would have lead with it.

But the exact situation you are in. Hrm, you already invested quite a bit of your stack, 2800 by that point, the button's bet looks kind of weak compared to the pot size. I would jam it here. I would probably jam it, before he has a chance to bet himself. With a draw out there, a big stack and position I would expect him to play AQ, KQ, JQ harder on the flop. If the button checked the flop, the pot is still 3700, if you jam there he won't get a correct price with a draw. If you allow him to bet 4.000 ... he'll call you of course.

  • I have a hard time supporting the advice to follow an ATo open with a check/fold when we flop second pair. It would be better to open fold ATo if we're playing it that weakly, but I can't advocate folding ATo from the CO either. Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 22:57
  • Yeah it's too good too fold on the CO, so I guess it should be played more aggressively on the flop too instead of check / folding. The button just called, so it's best to jam it in on the turn if it bricks. But if the button raises your flop bet ... you are behind most of the times.
    – C G
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 7:44

I fold here unless you have a good read that it's a bluff. Think about the hands that the button can have with that bet. Button either has a Q, or has JJ, or has a set, all of which leave Hero way behind, or just maybe button has KJs and tries the semi-bluff, or possible even JTs and thinks he may actually be winning. I think with KJs button might prefer to take the free card here, unless it's KJ hearts. JTs is unlikely too with a bet of that size. The most likely scenario where Hero calls and wins the hand is if button is bluffing.

That being said, if Hero's stack was 2000 or less rather than 4957, I think it's a call. With 5K in chips though you're not completely dead yet and can wait for a better shot.

  • I'm not sure I agree with your range analysis really. Why have you included JJ but not KK,AA? I would also put this as a bluff most of the time (depending on the player) The bet of 1800 is probably going to price a lot of draws in and with the brick on the turn they have not got there, then when the player shows some weakness (and remembering the button has a much? bigger stack) it seems like there is a great chance that is a bluff really. I would give the button in a decent game credit for a pretty wide range and I would be jamming (remebering stack sizes)
    – hmmmm
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 22:15
  • The reason I didn't include KK and AA is because with those hands I don't think the button would have cold called preflop and the flop bet. He would (and should) have popped one of those to protect his hand. I agree the check on the turn invites a bluff. (Do we know how much button had left when he bets 4k?)
    – TTT
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 1:22
  • He had another 12K behind I think (hard to tell exact stack sizes in live play, everyone stacks them differently and it's always changing hand to hand). Calling me was not going to put him in any danger.
    – DonkeyFish
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 14:18

The problem of tough turn is due to a wrong preflop play. With 19 BB you are in the push-or-fold zone. Following the ICM-Nash model filled with your parameters you should push the 28.8% of hands in the Cut-Off position, that means: 22+ A2s+ A7o+ A5o K6s+ KTo+ Q8s+ QTo+ J8s+ JTo T8s+ 97s+ 87s 76s

Now you are totally committed, but if you push you are almost done due to a solid player at button with his very likely top pair. In my opinion you should fold and wait. A complete round of the button will cost you 1100, so you have 4 round until you die for blinds, that means 40 hands. 40 hands are a lot of hands for waiting a better spot to push.

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