1/3 at Rivers Casino, Pittsburgh Pa. Villain is a Hines Ward lookalike - he started out playing as a seemingly competent LAG, playing lots of hands fairly aggressively, putting opponents in tough spots. Turns out he's just a maniac. Has bought in for the 4th time, buying in full each time. Preflop raises have increased from teens, to 20s, to 40s. Folds maybe 1/4 of hands pre, raises everything else. Has been getting paid when he has the goods, and giving it all back with misplaced aggression. Table in general has seemed frustrated by villain. Hero 3-bet once before villain arrived and got a fold - other than that, there hasn't been any 3-betting preflop.

Hero's recent hands: Hero has ~180. Villain is BB, UTG stradles to 6. Hero sees black TT in UTG+2, limps planning to limp/rr, villain makes it 43, UTG calls, hero shoves. Villain calls, UTG folds. Villain says "You're ahead". Board runs out K95A9, hero shows 2 pair, villain mucks.

Against a different player who had shown a propensity to make what he considered big laydowns against villain, and has also been seen bluffing late streets. Hero A♠J♠ in HJ raises to 18 behind a couple of limpers, button hems, haws, and calls (he had been doing this often). 2 players in EP call. Flop comes J23 rainbow, one ♠. Hero bets 65 (misclick, meant 60), button hems, haws, and calls again, EP folds. Turn 6♠, Hero bets 100, button shoves for his remaining 70, hero calls and spikes a J against KK.

The hand in question:

Table Stacks:

Hero (BB) 600
Villain (CO) ~650
Limpers have 200-300


Hero dealt Q♢ Q♣
2 limpers to Villain in CO who makes it 13. Button and SB fold, Hero raises to 33, 2 folds, Villain calls.

Flop ($67):

T♣ 8♠ 3♣

Hero bets $50, villain calls without much hesitation.

Turn ($167):


Hero bets $100, villain calls fairly quickly.

I think my betsizing was a bit small here. I do well on the flop (IMO), but I think that in general, I tend to go too small on the turn. I end up leaving > a PSB on the river for both of us.

River ($367):


Final board:

T♣ 8♠ 3♣ 4♠ T♡

Effective stacks remaining are around $420. Hero checks. Villain instantly shoves all in.

Should we call?

  • 2
    I agree that the turn bet is too small, for exactly the reasons you note. Jan 10, 2012 at 20:38
  • 1
    @Chad If you are referring to the hand history format and things like QdQc, there's a meta question about that now. If you are talking about things like BB or UTG, I'm not sure it's wise to change those. Those are the accepted vernacular at least in the online community. Jan 10, 2012 at 21:10
  • 1
    @MichaelMcGowan - I did not mean the hand history. I think if we get the card codes working that would probably make this more readable. I just look and see alot of initials and it made my head hurt.
    – Chad
    Jan 10, 2012 at 21:15
  • I agree, this will be much better once we have suit icons. Jan 10, 2012 at 21:17
  • @Chris Marasti-Georg: ok, but how this hand was ended;-)
    – Svisstack
    Jan 22, 2012 at 22:50

10 Answers 10


I think the only realistic options for villain are a missed draw or Tx. I think he'd have gotten more aggressive earlier if he had you preflop. Your line looks a lot like an overpair to me, and as such, he would want to get value out of you if he had trips or a full house. As such, I don't think he shoves the river here if he wanted a call. He knows you are not thrilled about the river and is trying to get you to fold.

I call.

  • The logic you are using is wrong. You think he thinks he would want to do this, but maybe he thinks that you think that he thinks, so he doesn't do that. Then you can think that he thinks that you thinks that he thinks, but this just doesn't help much. This kind of leveling doesn't get you anywhere and it is much better to just use a good strategy. Hero is kind of at the bottom of his range here and should be looking to fold his hand. It is a much better and unexploitable strategy then; well I think he is bluffing let's call.
    – Raymond
    Mar 18, 2017 at 14:01

First, a look at ranges: I think he has AA/KK/Tx/88/33 here no more often than he has JJ or a busted draw (to the straight or the flush). And sometimes he'll turn up with utter crap. So if we say it's an even money bet, we're getting good odds on a call.

Second, let's look at history: You noted in the comments that Villian has not let a pot check around. Also, he way overplayed a couple of face cards, a low pair, or worse in the TT hand. Finally, his play feels as though he is trying to act strong, which fits the classic "act strong when weak" tell.

I call.

  • The hemming hawing villain was a different one, just listed to note hero's image. I'll update the question to be clearer. Jan 10, 2012 at 20:47
  • Bah! Ok, so our only experience with this villian is seeing that he has been aggro/maniac? No history one way or the other about how he has played similar situations? Jan 10, 2012 at 20:50
  • He hasn't been 3bet at yet, and he hasn't played a pot this deep. I don't remember seeing him let a street check around. Jan 10, 2012 at 20:51
  • His plays don't make that much sense to me, which makes me want to call him. I think AA/KK you probably see him defending his turf preflop instead of just calling. Tx doesn't seem strong enough to slow-play so I think you see him trying to wrest initiative back with a raise when he hits top pair off the flop. If he did manage to slow-play something big, I think you'd see a value bet on the river. Your bets looked like pretty standard continuation play and didn't give him any reason to believe you'd call an all-in bet. All in all, smells like the tell Jeff mentioned above.
    – voraciti
    Jan 12, 2012 at 22:54

I'd bet $55 on the flop, $130 on the turn.

That said, if he is as aggressive as you state, has a wide a range as you perceive and doesn't like to let a betting opportunity go by then, given the vulnerability of your hand and it's likelihood to improve, check calling three streets (providing you don't spike a set) is a reasonable line IMO.

A bare overpair isn't a hand I'd consider building a 400bb pot with, OOP, versus a LAGgy villain. I don't believe you can call profitably here. I fold.


It feels like he is trying to make it seem like a busted flush/straight draw bluff. I am guessing he actually has a low pair 88 or 44.

The question is do you feel lucky punk? Part of me wants to call down but even bad players get lucky sometimes. With not having the nuts or even any of the top possible ill give him credit this time and let him have a relatively small pot in hopes he will try it again when i am stronger.


Ok, so first thing is first.

He is very unlikely bluffing. Why?

Well, he has been calling your bets and you have been the aggressor. It is unlikely he is playing a draw this way, unless it is a big draw, because he flatted you preflop.

Why does villain raise and flat you preflop? Any why such a small raise from him. AA and KK certainly weigh a bit higher in my book due to that move.

If I am villain holding a big hand, knowing my image, I push after you check as fast as I can to make it look at bluffy as possible.

I also don't think he's expecting you to make a big lay down after betting big the previous streets and 3 betting pre-flop.

I myself would have a hard time folding QQ here, I think I would really need a good read on the player that can't really be described in text. (Although I understand now why you gave some previous hand examples.)

I would lean towards thinking he has 88, KK or AA since all those fit the betting pattern, perhaps AT if he raises preflop but would flat a 3 bet there. (This is where you need to know if villain would ever flat a 3 bet holding KK or AA.)

Overall, I think you are beat 2/3 time, so I flip my QQ face up and fold and judge his reaction so that I can take him when I am in a better spot.

  • 1
    +1 "I flip my [hand] face up and fold and judge his reaction so that I can take him when I am in a better spot."
    – Tom Au
    Feb 3, 2013 at 1:36

You are looking at a pot sized bet on the river, so since you are getting 2 to 1 you should be looking to fold around 2/3 of your range. You should try to play a balanced and unexploitable strategy. Arguments like he would never bluff this river or he would always bluff this river are invalid, since you cannot just assume that. Basing your calls on your range and calling the right percentage based on the price that you are getting is a very good strategy and will be profitable in the long term against many different opponents. So, let us look at your range first.

In your range should be some bluffs like clubs, spades or straight draws. And I think some full houses as well as over pairs. Because he is such a maniac, like you mentioned, I think it is very possible you would play a flopped set or top two pair the same way you played your two queens. Getting value and protecting on a draw heavy board and on the river looking to trap against a missed draw. So I think, other than bluffs, you have mainly full houses in your range and over pairs. Some other middling hands are likely to check on flop or turn to control the size of the pot, so I think I can safely assume that the following hands are in your river check range:

Bluffs, over pairs and full houses.

What I would personally call in this spot is obviously all your full houses, since it is a very strong hand, plus it will block some of his value hands like sets and Tx. After this I do not think you have enough calling combinations to prevent being exploited so you should be looking for a couple more combinations to call. Your over pairs are Js-As. I think it would be a good strategy to fold your Js and Qs here especially if they contain a club or maybe even a spade. The reason being by having some of those cards in your hand you block him from having bluffs you want him to have like a flush draw or a straight draw like J9 or even QJ. Whereas calling with aces and kings without a club makes more sense, since you don't block those straight draw hands.

In conclusion, your calling range should be all your full houses and some over pairs preferably those that don't contain in order of importance: jacks, clubs, queens, spades, since they will block bluffs your opponent can have. Which over pairs exactly you should be looking to call is up to you, but I think you have to fold some of them and queens with a club is a very good candidate to lay down. Conclusion: fold.


so we classified someone as a maniac what do we think he has ?

IMHO his range has to be very polarized, the main question is why does he not bet ? either he has a draw or he's slowplaying (all imo of course). since the draw didn't come in i think we need to call. mainly because he would likely bet/raise with a ten in his hand. i would think that he would 4bet preflop with AA/KK.

I think he either has a draw that didn't come in, or a made full house.

  • 1
    Classic Way Ahead/Way Behind scenario.
    – CheckRaise
    Feb 7, 2012 at 21:18

I vote call.

Villain did not raise on the flop or turn indicating that he was not likely holding top pair. My take on this particular villain is that the most likely thing he was doing was representing a ten in his hand because he believes the hero to be a very tight player and likely to fold a winning hand here.

The fact that there was the blown flush draw out there gave him more cause to bluff. He may be betting the missed draw because he missed the draw and had no other way to take the pot, giving hero more ev to make the call, or villain may believe that hero missed the draw.

The villain also had plenty of reason to be believe the hero missed the flop. Lot of players that are generally of the villain type here, will take this hand down to the river with second pairs, pocket pairs and over cards, and pray that the hero does not have an over pair, or in the hope they can out draw or out play hero.

Villain is thinking in terms of the way villain plays, more then in terms of the way hero plays. Villain is imagining that villain would keep betting even a missed flop if he thought that he could win, which is the way villain often thinks. Villain believes hero is playing the way villain plays, which means that hero is likely bluffing a missed flop. Of course villain believes there is some chance that hero actually has an over pair, but when that top card pairs villain believes he can now out play the hero, which what it seems to me villain is likely doing.

There are lots of reasons to logically put the villain on a bluff or weak hand, and no reason to solidly put him on the three tens. Since this was a cash game there might be tells to support going either way with this hand, but this hand as described by OP is a call.


Pre flop villain lead out for 13 and then called 33
You raised a 20 into a pot of 47 giving villain 2.35:1
Unless he had nothing and was trying to steal villain is going to call
If you just want to build a pot then fine

Villain has hand. But he is probably not AA on KK has those would likely have pushed pre flop. He could certainly be on a big ace, big king, or JJ - 55. Any suited 10+.

That is a good flop for you. You are only behind TT and 88 and if villain was on AT you can get paid off. AK is is possibility. 9J and QJ are not likely as very weak for that preflop betting. You have blockers on the QQ so QJ is not likely and 9J only has 6 outs.

50 into 67 is enough to chase off draws. That call is a made hand unless villain cannot do math.

You have to put villain on a T or a strong 8. AT, KT, TT, A8, K8, 88, or JJ.

I am not getting the $100 on the turn. The card did not help you and helps villain if is he was on AT, KT, 9J spades. Considering just checking. You have a quality hand that only has 2 ways to improve. This is the type of hand that should look get to a cheap show down.

T on the river is a real scare card for you. AT, KT, QT, JT, TT, 88 are all hands that would have been played that way. You have shown strength all the way. It is not a good spot to bluff. Villain is not doing this thinking a pair of 8 will win. He is bluffing or has you beat. He would have to be bluffing over 1/2 the time for you to make the call. I see more hands beating you than bluffs. Is he turning J9, A8 of clubs into bluff? I am not finding enough bluffs to justify a call.


I wouldn't see vilan having any real good hand whatsoever. Definitly not a big pair since he makes the raise pretty small PF(looks more like connectors to build big pot PF). He would have protected his hand PF or on the flop if he had a big hand. Or would have at least raised to build a bigger pot.

The way he played sure looks like a busted draw maybe like J9 suited

Answer: CALL

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