I play in a work tournament usually 2 tables of 6 or 7 for a set time period with the top 3 chip counts on each table moving to a final table to win the prize.

It is largely amateurish but with myself and a few others who have played tournament poker in Vegas.

During a game I have JJ and raise to 1k total on my option on my 200 big blind. Everyone (6 players) call the 1k having all called the 200 previously. Flop comes and I am unsure of my position so check. the flop is Q74 and rainbow.

Every player also checks. Turn comes (9h) and I bet out another 1k. Everyone calls. River comes (kd) and I've lost all confidence in my hand not knowing what anyone else might have so I check, everyone again checks round.

I lose to KK.

  1. Why do people call a reasonably large bet then just check on the next round of betting? can they all be slow playing?
  2. Is my expectation too high for amateur players (perhaps they just want to see cards?)
  3. Or did I misplay my hand? Or how can i have played the hand better?

Incidentally went on to win the tournament (two years in a row now having come second the year before) so consider myself one of the best in the group.

2 Answers 2


If they are beginners, their play is completely haotic and makes absolutely no sense. In a weird and ironic way, this makes such players somewhat dangerous...

I see this all the time if I play online and enter a tournament that has virtual money as entry fee (yeah, I still do that). In such tournaments, people often go all-in in the absolute first hand with garbage hands (T 4, 8 6 etc.). This is how absolute beginners play. Because basically they have nothing to lose.

I believe your case is the same situation. If you raise to 1K preflop (which is 1K / 200 = 5 BBs) and everyone calls, this is not such an unusual situation. But the call by everyone on the turn is super weird and makes no sense.

You didn't play your hand badly. I don't know if it's very good because:

  • from what I've seen over time, it's very hard to play pocket Jacks correctly. I don't even know what the correct way is because... well, that's the beauty of pocket Jacks. This hand is probably the only one of its kind.
  • Poker is a skill game, but does have a small luck factor. The haotic and weird play of your opponents increases the luck factor in the game. This means that they don't need skill to win, all they need is to be lucky and connect to the board. Even if you're good at the game, you can find yourself knocked out by some idiot who called an all-in preflop raise with Q 3 and beat your pocket Kings with a 7 T 3 5 3 board.

What I like to do when I deal with such opponents is:

  • Bluff less often. Such players will call you most of the time with garbage and may get lucky.
  • Reduce aggression a bit. Even if such players bluff a lot, they are also capable of slow-playing and that can cost me.
  • See many flops. If I connect, great. If not... well, as always in poker: it depends !!
  • Play my hand only if it has some showdown value. Since my opponent(s) is/are more likely to call, I want to have a reasonable chance of winning if we go all the way to the showdown.
  • 1
    good thoughts. Indeed i did bluff less often throughout after the hand mentioned and played more aggressively on the river when I knew/believed I had best hand/nuts.
    – user424
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 10:16
  • 1
    I'm not sure that everyone calling the turn bet is weird at all. There is 6k in the pot and so the pot odds here are pretty good. Especially for the last 3 players calling. In fact the last player to call only need to be good 8% of the time to make this call. I'm not saying that's what these players are thinking as they don't seem to be great but still.
    – hmmmm
    Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 10:33

A lot of (weak) players are "tourists." That is, they "play" more out of curiosity than anything else. They'll call just to see the hand, but won't bet or fold or "make moves."

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