Please Stop Slow Playing Top Pair

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In this video I review a hand sent in by Josh where he soft plays top pair. We also explore some spots where he could have generated a tremendous amount of more value.

Okay, so this hand is from 2NL, there is a post around the cutoff, we’re under the gun, decide to open to 4X, totally fine with that. It folds around, get called by the Small Blind, go heads up to it, Small Blind checks and we check behind.

Josh says, “On the flop, I thought checking behind would induce a bet on the turn and there weren’t many cards that would scare me, since I thought he’d probably bet a flush draw on the flop. My plan was to call the turn and bet the river if checked it.”

So Josh, I love the fact that you’re thinking ahead, I just think that the thought process needs a little bit of tweaking.Articles

In a situation like this, even on a passive table, even on a table where it’s pretty conservative, c-bets are winning a lot of pots, I would not check this behind. Part of the reason why people check this behind is to try to make sure that they have a check back range that has stuff in it that can continue on future streaks. Okay, fine.

But the big question I always ask myself in a spot like this is, “What would I do with top pair?” but also, “What would I with a whiffed hand, like say ace/king?” If you would bet with ace/king, why wouldn’t you also bet with ace/queen? You can’t have your entire betting range just be nonsense, either, right? By the same logic of trying to make your check range not just nonsense either.

I think in a situation like this, you have to bet here. Sure, you’re not going to get action 100% of the time, but that’s okay, there’s still worse queens that can continue, pocket eights, seven X, flush draws, all that kind of stuff. If Jaguar is simply just doing a lot of check folding, so be it, just attack the crap out of him throughout the rest of the session, hopefully you are already and win all the free money that he’s giving you.

But I would not check this behind, just fire it for value, go forward. No, you’re not going to get action 100% of the time, but that doesn’t mean that your bet was wrong.

As played in this situation, the turn is the 9 of hearts, face bets, Hero just decides to call. I know Josh said his plan was to call here and then bet the river if checked to, but I’d really like to see a raise in this situation. This is one of those where if you’re ever going to check the flop behind, the whole reason you do so is to under-rep. If you raise here, what does it look like you have? Probably the naked ace of hearts, maybe. I don’t know, it looks totally bizarre.

overbets-and-aggression-compressorUse that to your advantage. Use it to get looked up by things like 9X, sticky queen, pair with a heart, all that sort of stuff. There’s so much value here, there are so many second-best hands that can and will continue that I’d really, really love to see this get raised to something like 55, 60 cents and just go for it from there. Obviously for pure, pure value, you are way ahead of him at this point.

As played though, we go to the king and what I really want to say here is, if you think about it, I didn’t really love the way we played the flop and as played, I didn’t really love the way we played the turn. What we’re doing here is we’re exploring a branch of the tree where we really shouldn’t be traveling. This happens sometimes when we’re doing hand history analysis, we’re exploring a branch that just doesn’t matter because we really shouldn’t ever be on this branch.

Consider that when you’re doing hand history analysis, like, “Did I take the correct branch and if not, is this really worth exploring?” because it’s a mistake that you’re hopefully not going to make in the future.

As played with the king of spades, check and Hero decides to fire for 30 cents. As played, I liked the fact that we’re finally betting. I just think that this pot is way too small. I think this is a clear example of over-utilizing showdown value and pot control and a clear example of missing a copious, copious amount of value.

Learn More About Poker Showdown Value (SDV) Versus Pure Value!

As played, we end up getting called. Don’t know what we get called by, but we win the pot and that’s all well and good, but again, I really don’t like the way this hand was played, I’d really like to see this pot be much, much bigger in the future and generating a lot more value for your ace/queen.

So Josh, thanks for the hand. If you or anyone else has a poker-related hand or question, feel free to leave it on our Google+ page, I’ll leave a link for that in the description box. Please make sure to like and subscribe if you’re enjoying this type of video.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Otherwise, good luck out there and happy grinding!

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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