$1-2NL, I am in UTG + 1.

  • UTG raises to $7.
  • I have 2-2 and call the $7 (questionable call considering I am down to about $150...should I raise? fold?)
  • Couple other callers.
  • Flop comes Q-8-2...two clubs.
  • Checked to me
  • I check... should I bet here?
  • Villain is big stack...bets $15. He has entire table covered.
  • Couple calls.
  • I decide to "slow play" the set and call the $15. Should I have raised here?
  • Next card is a blank.
  • I again check.
  • Villain bets $25.
  • I raise all in $125 (another $100).
  • Villain in tank...decides to call.
  • I show my set.
  • He said he had outs, but way less than he thought.
  • River is a club and Villain wins with flush (he had K♣ T♣ )

He said he felt his flush draw and over card gave him outs if I had top pair.

Question: should I have raised earlier? Shoved earlier? Tried to win smaller pot rather than get a call with my 80% equity? I know I want him to call and I am going to win that hand 4 out of 5 times. But am I better off trying to show my strength to get a fold? I don't get sets often. Should I just write this off as bad luck or did I play the hand bad?

  • Answer: tl;dr no
    – user1934
    Jul 6, 2016 at 1:25

4 Answers 4


Personally I don't like tiny pairs eg. 22,33,44 when EP. These pairs, no matter what, are consistent Losers (highlight) no matter how good you play them from EP. I've read and checked database results (not mine) and they explain that it's just bad to play them on EP.

Regardless of this, your call is good for set mining since your stack is > 40 BB (my favourite amount) to give implied odds a chance, although the effective stacks are what you should make use of. For example, if you have 150$ and 2 short rat-holers called you with 15$ and 10$ left, no it's not a good play and should have folded. If you're against similar stacks it's good for set mining, but I prefer higher pairs.

Your flop situation is more interesting. Yay, you hit your set but the flop contains a draw. Your primary thought now is to reduce the field eg. kicking out the chasers. You did a horrible (highlight) play by checking/calling eg. slowplaying your 22 set in a drawy, multi-way board.

What if the turn came on a club with a load of players in it ?

My preferred move would be to just raise the pot eg. by applying what Harrington referred to as The Hammer (in his book: Harrington on Hold 'em); simply check/raise to what seems to be an aggro opponent. The only way for the others to continue is:

  • to already have a set and sadly a higher one
  • to have a 2-pair; tiny chance, not enough good cards on board for a 2-pair
  • calling station or aggro drawing aggressively (the case)

Let's see the odds. Starting pot has 1+2+7+7+7+7 = 31$. You didn't mention how many that couple callers were so I added 2 more callers with a 7$ call here. Big stacker bets 15$ (half pot) into a 31$ pot, thus making it 46$. A couple of calls as well so 46+15+15 = 76$. It's your turn and have around 140$ left, am I right? This is just double the pot. If you call 15$ against an army of callers it's like inviting them to beat your hand. The preferred move here is to Check/Raise the initial raiser. In fact this pot is a dreamy one for those who have hit their set.

In fact, with too many callers still in hand and my relatively low stack vs Pot, my x3 raise (45$) is not enough. I would move in. If that means everyone will fold, that's equally good! But if a calling station / chaser is stubborn enough to follow, no problem; he has around 20% to beat you anyway with 1 card to come and around 35% for the showdown. But also consider that you have odds to make a full house as well with 2 cards to come.

Villain is just aggro with his draws, you should make a note that this dude barrels his draws so next time punish him properly on flop / turn; by the looks of it, he's going to call you.

He said 'he had odds[sic]' to call you? lets see:

91$ on the flop (raiser bets, couple and you calls: if my calculations are correct)

116$ on the turn (after raiser bets 25$)

216$ on the turn (after your 100$ raise all-in)

Now the big stack has to call 75$ to win a pot of 291$ (let's say 300$)

75 / 300 = 0.25 -> 25%

9 cards to hit flush = 20%

If my calculations are correct, no, he doesn't have the expressed cold odds. But this changes if he played you with a bigger set. In this case you're the one walking on thin ice. Opponent could fold or not by preferred choice (check/raise flop + turn) but against aggros you need to either win their whole stack or die. Your passivity lost this pot and it's bad since you had the perfect opponent for this type of hand.


Actually the 35% and 20% equity by a flush chaser is decided vs a random hand. I fell victim of not pokerstoving your actual hand, a set. In this case the real equities are:

  • Set vs Flush draw on the flop: -> 75% vs 25%
  • Set vs Flush draw on the turn: -> 85% vs 15%

As you see, unless you're beaten by another set, you're so ahead you can barrel him to death. Another fun equity:

  • Set vs made Flush on the flop: -> 35% vs 65%
  • Set vs made Flush on the turn: -> 25% vs 75%

Even if the guy flops the flush, you still have 35% equity against him! In contrast with his hand, your hand can get better with more cards to come. Sets are just so powerful. Not strange since only this hand can form full houses and quads.

  • +1 excellent answer :) Jan 2, 2015 at 9:01
  • @Radu Murzea, thanx, although lengthy 8)
    – user1165
    Jan 2, 2015 at 10:27

Couple of things jump out at me here:

1 - make sure that you are only set-mining small pairs in multi-way pots. Set-mining 22 heads-up is a long-term loser. In your situation it just so happened that other people came along. But calling a raise like this when there's no guarantee that others will be in the pot with you will cost you money over the long term.

2 - You're on the right track by thinking about board textures. In this case, yes, you should have absolutely raised on the flop. The two clubs are definitely problematic. So I'd be looking to make at least a 2/3 pot raise, maybe even a pot raise. You need to make sure that the clubs that come along for the rest of the board are paying you for the privilege to do so. DO NOT fall into the common beginner mistake of thinking that half-pot (which is still a sizable bet!) is enough. 1/2 pots still give your opponents 3-1 odds. And in the case of this where 4 of you saw the flop, if only one other person calls, then the other hands are getting whole mess of outs (now at least 4-1!!!) and then you have a mess on your hands!

There's nothing wrong with slow-playing a set; knowing when to "walk the dog" is an important skill in poker. But try to do it the opposite of how you did it now - do it with a higher pocket pair and try to be heads-up. In that scenario, you may be able to slow play the flop, but don't get too cute with it beyond that.

  • Good correction to my post, re: half pot bet not enough in this situation. This beginner will make that adjustment going forward.
    – jacknad
    Jan 1, 2015 at 16:22

With that many players in the pot you should have raised rather than slow play. A raise of half to 3/4 the pot makes it mathematically a bad decision for anyone on a draw to call. But you could get a call from someone who hit the flop with less than a set. If someone on a draw makes the bad decision and calls, it makes no difference if you win or lose that pot since you are ahead. In the long run, this type of play wins more than it loses.


You have some good answers just another look

Going to assume the blinds were part of the 4
$28 preflop
$60 flop
$25 turn
$125 turn
$238 total

villain need to call $100 to win $238

Villain is getting 2.4 : 1 on his money

Even if villain thinks the king is good that is 12 outs 46 cards left
(46 - 12) / 12 = 2.8

2.8 > 2.4 villain is NOT getting odds to call

if villain was going to call the turn he was going to call the flop so nothing you could do

on the flop with your call the pot was $88
with even a 1/2 pot bet you are pot committed
yes the correct answer was to shove and (hopefull) take down $73
that board has straight and flush draws that you did not have a piece of

Given you failed to raise the flop just call the turn and if the other two call you have $213 in the pot. If a blank hits on the river value bet $25 and hope for 2 callers.
EV = -47 + .8*(238) = $143

Pushing (and you get a call)
EV = -147 + .8*(338) = $123

If you are going to get callers then at that point (the turn) you you were better off just calling. And you could have a scenario where the flush does not hit and someone hits two pair and stack them. And you nearly triple up.

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