Don’t let a full house go to waste

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - GAMBLING - By Jonathan Lit­tle

A fan re­cently asked me to weigh in on a hand rid­dled with the sort of mis­takes that am­a­teurs should strive to avoid.

On­the sec­ond hand of Day 1 in the $1,000-buy-in World Se­ries of Poker se­niors event, the player in the cut­off seat raised to 150, and the small blind called. Our Hero, sit­ting in the big blind, made a min­i­mum three-bet to 250 with 5h 5d.

I didn’t like Hero’s de­ci­sion here. Some play­ers mis­tak­enly think that if they’re “ahead,” they should put more money in the pot. While it’s true that nei­ther op­po­nent was likely to have a pair, they were cer­tain to call 100 more. The only time Hero would be happy with the flop is when he flopped a Hero’s hand: set. Even nor­mally safe boards like J-6-2 could im­prove the op­po­nents’ hold­ings. Hero should have just called the small pre­flop raise.

The flop came Ks 5c 2d, giv­ing Hero mid­dle set. The small blind bet 400.

I’m gen­er­ally not a fan of slow-play­ing, but it’s a fine strat­egy in this sit­u­a­tion. The small blind’s lead­ing range likely con­sists of mar­ginal made hands and junky draws. Since Hero crushes that range, he re­ally wants to keep the small blind around, which call­ing ac­com­plishes. house. The small blind checked.

At this point, Hero had only 2,850 left in his stack, and there was 6,450 in the pot. When you have half the pot or less re­main­ing in your stack, go­ing all in with your pre­mium hands is al­most al­ways the best op­tion, beHero has to un­der­stand point should be to get all in Hero de­cided to just call. cause if your op­po­nents have which turns could be bad for by the river. If he calls and The turn was the 8h. The strong hands, they’ll call any him (A, 6, 4, 3) so that he the turn checks through, small blind checked. bet, and if they have busted doesn’t make the blun­der of he’ll have squan­dered an I think Hero’s only op­tion draws, they’ll fold to any bet. pay­ing off the op­po­nent if he op­por­tu­nity, so a reraise of was to con­tinue check­ing, Hero bet just 1,200. The im­proves to a straight. Cal­labout 1,800 would be ideal. look­ing to check-raise all in. cut­off called with 2-2 (a ing also al­lows the cut­off to Al­though Hero would probLead­ing small would have no worse full house), and the stick around when he is ably never take this line of merit be­cause his op­po­nents small blind folded K-Q face prob­a­bly drawingup.near­ly­play­with­abluff,fe­wama-might­make­big­foldswith dead. teurs will fold top pair or an top pairs and would be Hero was ex­cited to win a

Hero called, and the cut­off open-ended straight draw get­ting a de­cent price with big pot on the sec­ond hand of min­i­mum-raised to 800. The for only 1,000 more. It’s fine their draws. Lead­ing large the day, but he should have small blind called. to have no bluffs in your wouldn’t make sense un­less been dis­ap­pointed that he

It ap­peared likely that both range if your op­po­nents Hero is con­fi­dent the cut­off failed to stack a pre­mium op­po­nents had ei­ther readon’t care about your range is bluff­ing. hand. When you take ab­nor­son­able made hands or be­cause they’re too pre­oc­cuHero led for 1,100. Both mal lines of play, as Hero did, draws (the like­li­est draw pied with their own holdoppo­nents called. The river you let op­po­nents off the be­ing 4-3). Hero’s goal at this ings. was the 8s, giv­ing Hero a full hook. Flop: Turn: River:

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