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I was playing NLHE speed poker on microstakes. I had 6♥ 6⋄ in MP and I made a standard 3BB bet. Then the button called. The flop came J⋄7♠3♣. Made standard 50% pot raise and the button called.

The turn came with Q♥ and now I was really confused what to do. Is my hand strong enough to bet? Or I should rather give up? Finally I checked and folded on buttom 1/3 pot bet.

How should I play such hand?

  • What was your position, you say you had 66 in MP, but your title says how to play on the botton. Is that supposed to be button or bottom. – Jon Feb 1 '15 at 11:28
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You played the hand just fine. Your open-raise was standard play. You get a call from the BTN which may translate to either:

  • a loose player having potential hands (eg. K8s, 75s, J9s, Q8o)
  • a tight player with average or good holding that can't re-raise like AT
  • a small to middle pair
  • a position-wise call. He saw you raised from MP, so he lure you out after your CBet and he has position.

The Flop is dry, no flush or straight draws but not so without dangers. The J feeds in a number of marginal calling hands like J7,J8,J9,JT,KJ and there is a little army of calling hands that include Ax,Kx,Qx,Jx and other small pairs, although you have nothing to be afraid and a Cbet is required.

He called your Cbet. My play is to just check and not push it. Your play from the very start is to set mine and trying to win with a CBet, no? Although your opponent is still here, calling you. What that tells you? To me this translates to these cases:

  • A Jx. A very feasible case, there are a number of Jx calling hands.
  • A pair like 88,99 He thinks you'll shutdown after the CBet so he try to value bet you out.
  • A slowplaying set.

In fact his 1/3 bet at the end seems like a bet that wants you to call. Bluffs are more expensive than a 1/3 so you have to believe him for either a Q or J or something better, without reads. Your fold was OK and a huge part of your set mining strategy, nothing to be worry about. But calling with 66 on a board with 3 cards higher than your 66 and 2 of them on typical calling range like Q, J would be a spewy play.

  • why did you say " Cbet is required"? please and thank you – yaki moto Feb 6 '15 at 15:49
  • The CBet here is almost mandatory to me since the flop is a textbook one for CBet: 1 high card, 2 small cards. Additionally, no straight or flush draws. This kind of flop is 100% CBet in my book, since a calling range just don't hit that flop frequently. But there are other reasons to CBet here. You many know you have 66 but to your opponent you may hold AA,KK,QQ,AJ,QJ kind of hands. A bet here forces an opponent holding 66,55,44,22,Ax,Kx,Qx to fold the majority of the time. Furthermore, you want to win the pot now since you're afraid any card, mostly A,K,Q,T on turn. – user1165 Feb 6 '15 at 22:29
  • Lastly, a CBet here will give most of the time 2 free cards, on turn and river for a miracle 6 or cheap showdown. Since you're betting the flop, if Villain folds, you win. If he re-raises, you defined your hand and can get out cheaply.If he calls, then he'll afraid to bet on turn fearing a check-raise, thus giving you 2 free cards most of the time. This kind of play of course is best done IP (in position). If you don't bet the flop and he bet the flop/turn, you're going to call, no? If yes, why not bet right now? If you're going to call Villain's bet, it's better to start betting – user1165 Feb 6 '15 at 22:33
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If on the button and nobody has called, try to steal the blinds, if in early and middle position and nobody has raised limp. If in early middle position and somebody raised fold.

If in the blinds and somebody is raising very late or on the button, make a call. If somebody raises in early to middle position, this hand is a fold.

Raising this hand in early and middle position is simply a bad play, you are throwing your money away.

With small pocket pairs, you either want to be head up against somebody with out a pocket pair, or you want to be in a multi-way pot with four players or more. The more players you have, and the better your position the more willing you should be to call a raise.

Ok hand to defend a blind against a late raiser, ok hand to steal a blind with, were you have the benefit of being the aggressor and a good hand to hit a set with. In the hand with lots of players, you hit a set or a little flop with a straight draw or you let this hand go on the flop.

A very good discussion of Pocket Pair play here at Poker SE.

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