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In the early stages (Level 3, 25/50/A6) of a turbo full-ring tournament, I have 1,082 in my stack and get dealt J♥T♥ in the CO. Action is folded to me and I raise to 2.5x (125), villain (who has me covered with over 1,600 in his stack) calls from the SB and we go heads up to the flop.

The flop comes K⋄J♣J♠, so I'm pretty happy and after villain checks, I c-bet half pot (177 into 354) and get called. At this point I think he's either slow-playing something like AA, KK, AK, or any J, or he's trying to catch me with a weak pair / draw like AQ, QQ, QT, TT. I rule out bluffs because he called pre-flop out of position.

The turn card is 6♣ and he check-minraises my 35% (250 into 708) bet. I don't think he has any draws at this point, so i'm pretty scared of a J with better kicker and KK. I even think maaybe he got there with 66 somehow.

To be honest though, I don't think he gives me credit for a J, so I think it's plausible he's got AA, AK, KQ, and even some weaker hands like KT, JT or J9s. I can't really calculate what percentage of hands I beat, but the price is about 35%, so I'm thinking I have to call, so I do.

The river is the 4⋄ - he shoves (he has me covered and I have 274 behind) and I can't really fold holding 14% of the pot.

He turns A⋄J⋄ and takes the pot, kicking me out of the tournament.


H: J♥T♥ V: A⋄J⋄

Is this just a bad beat or did I make any mistakes here? Should I have checked the turn keeping the pot small? Could I really fold after the check-raise on the turn? Was my read poor, i.e. could I have narrowed his range to only hands that beat me? Was there a way to scare him into thinking I was holding KK? Is there any lesson to take from this?

  • I am thinking your might just be over thinking this one. yeah worried about kickers here, its hard to get away from.
    – Jon
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 0:16
  • 2
    Pretty much just a bad beat. Even if you check the turn, it's likely all going in on the river anyways.
    – Herb
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 1:41
  • 2
    Btw being picky, you have trips, not a set. It's just a cooler. When he check-raises you he can have Kx of clubs or Ax of clubs, having floated the flop with a backdoor. You can't fold when only AJ KJs QJs and KK beat you (ruling out 66 and other weird hands) - that's like 9 hand combos! Not to mention you have near the top of your range here and folding could be exploitable.
    – Chris
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 19:39

4 Answers 4


In poker, sometimes you can play everything really well, and still get screwed. That's what happened here. If you're folding that, you're playing the game way too tight, and you'll end up losing a lot in the long run. Even if you have the read that this guy was an extreme nit, he could've very easily played a similar way with Jx, AK etc. In which case, taking into account the number of hands you beat plus the amount of money already in the pot, it turns into a very good EV+ play. You played it right and got coolered. Bad beat.


I think you play it normal. the better play sometimes (specially in pro level) when villain call pre-flop and flop, is to turn the pace and give him control of the pot by pretending that you are scared or waiting for draw by checking the turn card. I think if you would checked the turn, and draw free card for river, you can see his action on the river. if he raise big, then it shows that he slow-played the flop to trap you. that's when you can fold (I know, it's pretty damn hard) but you can save your tournament life. if he raises a minimum on river, you can either call or fold but you would stay in the tourney. if he checks, you can check and see the cards. some of this actions depends on your read of the villain, but it certainly save your life on that tourney.

By calling his checked-miniraise on the turn, you loose control of the pot, and commit yourself to pot. so whatever he do on the river, you must call that.

IMO, when you slow-playing or making trap, the best time for attack is to re-raise the turn card, so by checking, you eliminate his attack on the turn.


I think you played it fine. He could easily be trying to bluff or push you off a hand with a K or worse. Or have some silly Jx suited with a worse kicker. I'd only consider folding if I knew the guy was a total rock.


20bb deep there's no way to fold your trips here (a set is when you hold a pocket pair), unless you happen to know that opponent really well and he's a passive nit. In cash game 100+bb deep it could be tougher decisions on turn and river, assuming bigger bets/raises.

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