i want some opinions on a hand i played on Pokerstars 6-max cash game $0.01 / $0.02.
I am in cutoff and open-raise to 3bb with K♠Q♥ and get called by SB, a very loose player. I was only playing in the table for about 50 hands and he had a vpip of about ~60 in my hud. Recently i won a large pot against him (so the gap in stacks). The flop came wet and he donk bet me but anyway i wouldn't Cbet this flop and especially on this player.
The pot was $0.20 and had to put $0.06. I quickly counted my pot odds as about 20% and then started to get on my hands.

My thinking was that I had:

  • overcards (i added 1 out for each card (in Harrington style) since they could not form best hand but still)
  • a gutshot (4 outs) to the highest straight; i would probably fold quickly with low-end straight draws.
  • a back-door flush (since a flush draw is 9 cards, i like to give my back-door a chance, i give about 3 outs for this, less than half of a flush draw. Of course this is -just- for passing-by a small raise and for just the next street, just to enhance my hand somehow)

So i decided i had: 1+1+4+3 = 9 outs, so about 20% to see the turn and decided to call the with the pot odds of 20%, especially against that specific player.

The hand is:

Poker Stars, $0.01/$0.02 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 5 Players

  • BTN: $1.56 (78 bb)

  • SB: $0.74 (37 bb)

  • BB: $0.77 (38.5 bb)

  • MP: $2 (100 bb)
  • CO: $2.98 (149 bb)

Preflop: MP folds, CO raises to $0.06, BTN folds, SB calls $0.05, BB folds

Flop: ($0.14) T♠ 9♣ 8♠ (2 players)

SB bets $0.06, CO calls $0.06

Turn: ($0.26) 2♥ (2 players)

SB checks, CO checks

River: ($0.26) 6♥ (2 players)

SB checks, CO checks

I lost, hover over the following block to see why:

The villain had 6s5h and won by pairing his 6 on the river.

My questions are:

1) Did you find my thought on flop reasonable of calling? I never get into account plain gutshots (less than 10% equity on each street), but based on other factors i listed

2) Do you think i just lost the minimum? I can't find any reason to fold a less than half-pot bet on flop with my hand and ways to win.

  • I think you've focused too much on trying to make a bona fide hand, instead of trying to work out if the villain will fold, and how much it'll cost to make them do so. You missed a key opportunity on the turn and another less promising opportunity on the river as Brent Morrow has explained well. The take away: focus more on sniffing out when your opponent is weak, and less on making strong hands.
    – Dom
    Jun 14, 2014 at 14:07
  • I am OK with the play. Yes you can bluff at it but it is hard to sell the turn or river hit you and that flop could have easily hit the SB.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 15, 2017 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


1) Did you find my thought on flop reasonable of calling?

Yes, absolutely. You should only tend to count backdoor outs as 1 out though. Giving yourself 3 extra outs for a backdoor flush draw is a little too generous. Apart from that your calculation was perfect. He gave you a great price to call and if you pair your King/Queen or hit your gutshot on the turn you'll likely have the best hand.

It's worth pointing out that you should consider reraising against this type of opponent. Villian's range is quite wide and his donk-betting, and it's sizing, are huge indicators of a weak range. The population tendency here is for him to have a weak pair or weak draw. Bad players tend to size their bets according to hand strength. You have a lot of equity from your two overs, gutshot, and backdoor flush draw, which, when combined with the significant amount of fold equity a healthy raise would generate against this opponent in this spot, make reraising a profitable move.

2) Do you think i just lost the minimum?

No, not at all. You checked down King high in a spot when Villian's range is capped, letting him realize free equity as well as letting him check down his weak made hands. Consider this: what if it's not a question of losing the minimum and is instead a question of winning the maximum?

His small donk-bet on the flop is super weak. The turn is a complete blank. When he checks to you, betting is far superior to checking. Far, far superior. You have so much fold equity here and you don't have a made hand. It's unlikely that your King high is good right now — I'd say his range is more weighted to 8x, 7x, and draws — and even if it is, as is the case if he has a draw, he's still got a lot of equity. If you bet $0.16-$0.18 here, Villian will fold a ton of the time. If he check-calls, you go into the river as the aggressor, with a fair amount of outs that can come to improve your hand significantly, and, if he checks a blank river like the 6h, you can decide whether to barrel again or check behind, depending on how weighted towards 8x/7x you think his range is. If he check-raises the turn, you can comfortably fold knowing he has your hand beat.

There's nothing wrong with bet-folding. There will be tons of times where it's the most profitable option. You'll make way more money here by either reraising on the flop or betting the turn/river when checked to than you do by playing it passively.

  • Thanx. Do you think it's more profitable to semibluff the Turn if (a loose) Villain's action was weak like [smallbet - check] ? I like betting the Turn more than raising the Flop since i had the impression Villain acted emotional and a shove would not be surprise on Flop and had to fold. I think you're correct. I had a lot of equity and should bet the Turn. On counter-back i fold and this makes more sense given my aggression and tight image preflop. Thanx :)
    – user1165
    Apr 25, 2014 at 1:30
  • I agree a backdoor flush draw is worth about 1 out.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 20, 2017 at 15:51

You were leading all the way, until the river card paired his hand (K-high vs.6-high). He was drawing to the "idiot" end of a gut shot straight.

The "donk bet" on third told you everything. He had "nothing" but wanted to bet, just to see how you react. There are two ways to play, neither of which you adopted.

"Bet him in" by raising (small), then bet small on fourth street, since you are a favorite (until the last card). You'll lose this hand, but win many others at higher stakes.

"Bet him out" by calling on third, then betting on fourth. You can win the hand right there without seeing the fifth card.

Basically, your problem is that you didn't use your advantage while you had one, and gave him a "free roll" for the fifth card.

The idea is to maximize your win expectation, not to lose the minimum. The way to "lose the minimum" is to never bet. (Then you'd never win anything, either.)

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