Pocket Jacks In A 3Bet Pot

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Tony says: “I have an interesting hand with jacks versus a fishy villain in a tough spot where he over-bet jammed on the river.”

This hand is from 25NL on PokerStars. There’s a min raise from Jumper, and he is a 32/11 over 29 hands. It folds around to Hero, who decides to 3Bet, which is great. I love the fact that we’re 3Betting. Someone with a 32/11 stat, even over just 29 hands, is likely someone who is going to be on the fishier side of the spectrum. Big gap in the VPIP/PFR definitely denotes that they’re not going to be a strong opponent, and the fact that they’re just min raising from there doesn’t really lead me to believe that they’re going to be a great opponent, either. So because of that, I’m definitely in a value-bet mindset, totally going from there.

That being said, I love the fact that we’re 3Betting, but I don’t love the size. I think we’re going to leave a lot of money on the table. Also, if we just look at it conceptually, if we use this size, we’re giving him a great price to both obviously get involved with whatever cards he has, but also to take position on us. That’s something that I don’t want to do, I just don’t want to give someone a great price and say, “Hey, if you want to have all these advantages in your favor, go for it.” That’s just not something that I want to do.

Some people will go for a 3x or a 3.5x multiplier against a typical open-raise size and use that as their 3Bet size. I’m typically on board with that, obviously this is a little bit smaller than even the 3x. I use that mentality when someone opens to 3 big blinds or 4BB or 3.5BB, or if you’re playing live, something like 5BB, 6BB, 7BB. But when we’re playing online and someone min raises or someone goes to like 2.5x, I’m typically going to keep my 3Bet size more where I would typically go, around 9BB, 10BB, 11BB.

In this situation, I’d want to 3Bet to around $2.50. That’s going to be much, much better. We’re not giving him a super sick price to take position on us with whatever cards he has, and because obviously we’re on the value side of the spectrum, which we’re going to be against a player like this, I like the fact that we’re choosing a larger size, generating more value, going from there.

Not comfortable 3betting from the blinds yet? Read this first.

In this situation we end up getting called, really not shocking, again, especially when we choose that size, we’re definitely going to be getting a call a large chunk of the time. And then we see this flop.

At this point in the hand, Hero decides to lead out for $1.50. Obviously, continuation betting is going to be pretty typical, but I want to talk about a couple quick things real quick. I know I harped a lot pre-flop on the size of the 3Bet. Had we chosen a $2.50 3Bet size like I would’ve done, then the pot size right here would be $5, the SPR would be much different, and we’d be much closer to commitment, which would be good things. I mean, that we’d typically want to do with over pairs against weak opponents. That would also lead for a much easier check-raise as well.

It’s one of those where again, the pre-flop size is really going to massively influence everything throughout this hand and everything throughout every hand that we decide to play.

In this situation we decide to lead. I don’t mind going for a check-raise either. There are a lot of players that will probably bet their entire range, if you check to them here. They’re going to bet their over card, they’re going to bet their pairs, they’re going to bet their single pairs, they’re going to bet their draws. All that stuff is going to get bet, and then you can check-raise and go for a big pot and grow it very, very quickly. Whereas if you lead and just get called, you’re going to be in some weird spots on turns. Obviously any A, 4, or 6 is going to start changing things, K or Q could or could not be good for you, it depends. It’s one of those where it’s kind of awkward.

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In those situations, especially when boards are very dynamic, I heavily consider going for check-raises, especially in situations where players will just continuation bet because it’s typical, get called, and they’re going to be a in a lot of confusing spots on the turn, oftentimes I’ll consider going for a check-raise in a spot like that.

We end up getting called, 3 on the turn, great card for us. Hero decides to lead again, this time for about half pot.

This is a situation where again, I think a lot of players would also continuation bet on the turn. They already 3Bet pre, they see about the flop, why not just continue betting on the turn?

The question I really ask myself is: Could I check-raise here as well? Again, this is a kind of situation where if I check, is he really going to check anything back? If he has 66, probably not. If he has a pair and draw, like A5, probably not. If he has like a pure float on the flop, is he going to check behind? Probably not.

I just see a lot of betting coming from Jumper, and I see a great situation for us to check-raise. We can still get looked up by some second-best hands. Obviously he’s a weak opponent so we can continue with some second-best pairs and stuff, which is great for us. There are not a lot of huge monster combos for Jumper to have either, that’s also great for us.

Because of that, I’d really like to see a check-raise here as opposed to just another continuation bet where again, we’re going to find ourselves in at least some tricky river spots. Again, I think you can generate a tremendous amount of value right this moment.

We end up getting called, go here. Hero decides to lead again, this time for very small, and ends up facing the jam.

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The question here is obviously, we’re only getting about two and change to one, so my question I would have to ask myself is: Did he ever improve on this card? Would he ever shove an ace if he had that? Say he had, I don’t know, AT, would he shove here? Would he just call the $2.50? Obviously, I think they would shove a 4, that makes sense. They can make 44 a couple different ways. Probably not a 34, 34 probably would’ve raised the turn. So, we’re looking at 54. 64, already had it. A4, already had it. So we’re talking 54 and 44. Not a tremendous amount of combos of those. It’s the kind of situation where he shouldn’t have a tremendous amount of straights, which is good for us.

Then I have to ask myself: Because I bet $2.50, did that influence and create this shove? Because my size is pretty weird, it’s pretty weak, did I induce this action? If I come to the conclusion that I think I could have induced this action, and again, that they wouldn’t have shoved an A, so the range here would be extremely polarized, it would be double floats with KQ and then 4x? If that’s the case, you just have to ask yourself, are there enough combos of KQ-type hands? If yes, then you snap it off. If no, you say forget it and just fold.

All of that being said, we found ourselves obviously in a very weird river spot. Whenever you find yourself in a weird river spot, one of the things I want you to do is go replay the hand. What happened pre-flop, on the flop, on the turn? What happened leading up to that weird river spot or if you’re in a tough turn spot, think about what happened pre-flop and on the flop.

I want you to really say, “Did I play that optimally or did I kind of create this weird situation for myself?” I’d say in this exact situation, we created a weird situation for ourselves. The smaller sized 3Bet definitely influenced things, the fact that we just went for bet-bet on the flop and turn as opposed to considering that check-raise, the fact that we bet so small on the flop and turn, we only bet half pot on both. If we’re going to bet them, I think we should be much closer to pot.

Check this article out, if you want to learn more about bet sizing to change the final pot size!

I think we definitely put ourselves in this weird situation and oftentimes that’s going to be the case. Not always, but a lot of the time we’re going to find ourselves in weird river situations and we’re going to find out when we replay the hand that, ‘oh, well, we kind of did that to ourselves.’

This is the kind of situation where I’m not too worried about what we do on the river here, because we shouldn’t really get to the river like this in the future.

Again, the big thing you have to ask yourself is, “Did my bet of $2.50 here create this shove?” If so, you kind of have to call and you just hope that you’re good enough at the time, and we were this time. But the fact that we won the hand doesn’t really mean much, what matters is that we play this hand better going forward.

Again, we know what to consider, what to look for on previous streets in future hands so hopefully we can play this spot better going forward.

Tony, thanks for the great hand.

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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