Villain is 21/14/1.5 AF over ~ 105 hands. It seems as though he understands position. He has mostly been quite passive postflop not making overly aggressive moves or traps. I haven't got a lot of showdown hands or personal history with him.

I thought his flop lead was unusual so I slowed down my line, so as to not overplay my hand. I'm not convinced I took the best line. What do you think? Thanks.

NL100 (6 max) - Holdem - 6 players

MP: $100.00
CO: $124.02
BTN: $123.40
SB: $113.58
Hero (BB): $150.04
UTG: $78.32

SB posts SB $0.50, Hero posts BB $1.00

Pre Flop: (pot: $1.50) Hero has Q⋄T♠

fold, fold, CO raises to $2.00, BTN calls $2.00, SB calls $1.50, Hero calls $1.00

Flop: ($8.00, 4 players) T♥Q♥A♠
SB bets $5.72, Hero calls $5.72, fold, fold

Turn: ($19.44, 2 players) 2♠
SB bets $10.20, Hero calls $10.20

River: ($39.84, 2 players) 8⋄
SB checks, Hero???


6 Answers 6


When he donkbets the flop his range likely consists of strong draws, pair+FD, pair+gutter, and some strong made hands like AT+. Reads on CO and BTN are important - if either of them is a fish he could have a wider value range. If CO and BTN are regs I expect his range to be pretty damn strong.

Either way, I think flatting flop is best since we don't really feel good stacking off against the above range because we're either slightly ahead, flipping, or crushed.

OTT his bet sizing is probably a tell of some sort. I don't like reading into bet sizing too much vs regs I don't know but I will say that I think it's unlikely he'll bet this size with strong made hands and fairly likely he'll bet this size with draws or hands like TP+draw. With a stronger read about his bet sizing a turn raise could definitely be the best option (and still might be) but I don't mind flatting again.

The river is essentially a brick since I doubt he flats J9s preflop (I have VPIP/PFR similar to his but I play Full Ring, which means I'm looser and I definitely don't flat J9s preflop in his spot). It doesn't really make sense for him to check this river with a better hand than ours because he'd be missing out on a lot of value (we look like we'll check this river back a lot, or possibly bluff a whiffed draw of our own). So basically he's super likely to have a whiffed draw and possibly TP to go along with it, so I'd bet around $24 for value from hands like AJ. It's pretty thin, but I don't see him taking a c/c (or c/r) line with a better hand.

  • Good point about reads on the CO and BU.
    – Toby Booth
    Sep 15, 2012 at 21:11
  • I agree with pretty much everything here. I definitely go for a small value bet on the river there. Sep 19, 2012 at 14:08
  • 1
    Small value bet could cause a bluff reraise (depends on your aggressiveness). But what would you do ? ) Sep 19, 2012 at 16:18
  • I think a really small bet (like $10) is much more likely to induce a bluff-raise OTR than a size greater than half pot. Either way, I don't give most 100nl regs credit for that sort of move so I would fold and take a note. And honestly if someone does make that sort of move it is likely to be unbalanced which would allow us to exploit the villain in the future.
    – Silversana
    Sep 20, 2012 at 2:01

To answer your question directly, I bet the river. Hero was lucky to avoid a third heart and see two seemingly worthless turn and river cards. If you're willing to call the flop and the turn, why not bet the river?

However, I think the mistake here is not raising the SB on the flop. Hero flops bottom two-pair on a potentially volatile board and doesn't even have one heart for a possible flush draw. Thus, Hero's hand is more likely to get worse or flat line, rather than improve. When the SB bets, my reaction would be to raise, in hopes of taking down the pot while I likely have the best hand.

  • Your analysis about a potential raise on the flop is ok, but the problem is CO and BTN are still in the hand. If CO and BTN would've folded preflop, then it would be a different scenario. Oct 3, 2012 at 10:27
  • 3
    I don't see CO and BTN being in the hand as a problem; CO didn't even raise 3x the big blind pre-flop. Furthermore, with a flop like this, I'd want to thin out my opponents as much as possible. Can you clarify why you think raising here is a problem with CO and BTN remaining?
    – Craig
    Oct 3, 2012 at 18:35

I had exactly the same situation recently on one of Poker Maximus events. Just because the guy who was betting on me - was very tight and cautious - I decided to check the river. Questionable decision, but pot was pretty big in my case and reraise would have meant all in. He was holding A5 of hearts.

On the other side: if he didn't have a flash draw - he may reasonably put you on it with that way of playing that hand. In that case - he may believe that he has a best hand right now. If he bets - you'd fold, he thinks. So he would try to check and to reraise your bluff.

What hands "better than yours" can you possibly force him to lay down?

  1. Straight is nuts - not a chance
  2. A-10 - probably, but AQ - would be harder to fold.
  3. Set? Only very good (true) players can fold that even on a scary flop. 6 handed is aggressive game where A-junk off-suite is a good hand.
  4. Considering if he believes you missed your draw - it would be even harder for him to fold any of that.

Hands "worse than yours" could be JJ, KK, AK, AJ, A-x and 2 hearts.

I don't know how aggressive your play is, but as Daniel Negreanu said "protect your chips before protecting the pot". There is nothing wrong with a check here, especially on a tournament.

  • Just making a note...this is not a tournament. Sep 19, 2012 at 14:06
  • yes, I saw :) though it was not clear what NL100 is. Never seen this abbreviation. This case was in a cash game, and I had a similar hand on a tournament. Sep 19, 2012 at 16:16
  • Yeah, I wasn't clear on that the first time I saw it either. NL100 is another way of writing $100nl, or $0.50/$1.00 NLHE cash. Sep 19, 2012 at 18:01

Valuebet here is out of question for me - a lot of hands you beat here. I'd put SB on something like AK, AJ, 99, JJ, Axs all drawing hands like 89s, TJ, TK, T9... Gutshot-straight-flush-draws like J8 or K9. Check is surrender here for most of the times.

Make your opponent pay! I'd make it something like $16.50-$21.00 (21 is too much, I think, but he could easily call something like $17 here). Yes, strong re-raise would be tough, but if you are afraid of re-raises in this kinds of spots, well... don't play poker :)

  • You say a Value Bet is "out of {the} question", but later you say you make a bet to "make {the} opponent pay!"? Do you think a bet by Hero is most frequently a bluff? What sort of ratio would you say Hero is winning vs losing here? Thanks for the answer :)
    – Toby Booth
    Nov 7, 2012 at 18:00
  • < 1/2 of the pot bet here looks exactly like a value bet - who is bluffing with such river bets against a player who've been betting 2 streets? If you wanted your opponent to think about you bluffing, you'd bet something like $30-35 OR you'd made an overbet (let's say $50). BTW, if you're bluffing - you trying to represent what? KJ? You'd reraise with KJ on flop/turn even if they both were hearts, because you'd be afraid of hands like Axs and trips of Qs, Ts (you don't wanna make them turn FH). More likely you're representing J9 now since 8 came along.
    – Nemoden
    Nov 8, 2012 at 1:14
  • Now, what are you afraid of here? AQ, AT, AA, KJ, J9 (TT and QQ are not probable)? AQ and AA are both hands for re-raise in 6-max against small pre-flop raise, so I don't think the opponent has this hands. AT is probable so as KJ (J9? maybe). So you're not afraid of all kinds of hands I've designated in my answer (roughly 15 hands to be afraid of), but just AT and KJ. You're less afraid your opponent has AA, AQ, J9, A8s, A2s (last 3 are more probably in my reality). And you're event less afraid he'd might have 88 or 22. Putting all together, ratio = ~14-17 /~4-6 (AT+KJ+J9+A8s+A2s) = ~3.1
    – Nemoden
    Nov 8, 2012 at 1:41
  • So, I'd say you would win >60% of the times here (I'd even say close to 70%) making bet half of the pot size pretty profitable. BTW, @Silversana gave a very good answer, but he proposes bet size of $24 which I think is okay too. But I just tend to bet smaller on the river.
    – Nemoden
    Nov 8, 2012 at 1:46
  • BTW, AK and JJ is not probable in my answer above.
    – Nemoden
    Nov 8, 2012 at 2:01

I would probably bet an amount identical to his last bet. He doesn't have much and wont call a huge bet but this kind of bet will get called a lot by weak aces and other hands he is likely to have.

Depends on stakes though, at higher stakes you might have to check it back or put in a large value bet, so it doesn't look like you can be raised off of your hand, as expert players will shove over you if they think you are making a weak value bet you will fold.


That is a very strong board. 2 pair is great. You could be against AQ AT KJ but you are likely good. AA, QQ, TT would have seen more action pre flop. Two draws you don't have a piece of and in everyone's range. SB could be on a flush or straight draw. Maybe a hand like AJ. You want to protect your 2 pair but a raise is expensive and if you get one call then a draw will be priced in to call.

Does not really change anything. He could be betting an ace or draw or both. I would consider raising to $40 to price out a draw.

When he checks it sure looks like a missed draw. If he was betting an ace thinking it was good seems like he would bet it. If he smashed it with KJ seems like he would bet it. I would put in a small value bet in case he has a pair. Like $10. Most likely he missed and will just fold.

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