Folding Huge Hands On The River. Should You?

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In this hand we flop top pair and end up improving to trips on the river. Knowing when to fold deceptively strong hands is an important skill that all players need – but is this the RIGHT time to fold? Let’s find out…

This is a hand from 200NL where Benjamin has KJo and has to make an interesting decision on the river. Here, we have KJ on the button. There’s a raise. Hero decides to call. And Benjamin describes Villain as “pretty loose.” And to be honest, I’m going to be calling this as well, using my position, going forward from there, and we end up going heads-up to it.

On the flop, we end up flopping top pair and we face a bet.

Hero decides to call. And as played, definitely not folding here, so it’s either a call or a raise. And you could certainly just go for the calling route if you wanted to.

It’s just one of those things where when you’re in this situation, if Villain can think at all, you always like to kind of have a basic idea on where you are in your range. And KJ is going to be one of the strongest hands you’re going to have here, right? Because you would have 3bet AK preflop. You’d probably 3bet KQ too.

It’s just one of those situations where as far as single pair stuff, this is probably the strongest hand you’re going to find in your range. Make sure to keep that kind of stuff in mind, especially if your opponent can hand read at all.

On the turn, queen of spades. Villain decides to bet again. This time, we’re getting 3:1 since we bet half pot, and totally on board with, again, just calling if you’d like to. Definitely not folding. You could certainly consider the raise, but I’m probably just calling here as played, given this whole thing.

And then on the river when we end up hitting trips, we end up facing a bigger bet from Villain. So in this situation, you went two thirds on the flop, half on the turn, and then two thirds on the river. Always something I like to keep in mind when people are kind of changing that ratio and kind of what that might mean.

So the only other thing Benjamin included in the write-up is this: “On the river I guessed villain could have AJ or KT, K6, or maybe even KQ, but I’m too curious and I decided to call.”

Okay, so there’s a couple of major important things in that just little single sentence. Yes, villain can make nuttish hands a lot of different ways. He can make AJ. He can make KQ. He can make QQ, TT, 66, KT, all that kind of fun stuff.

Now, that is 100% true. Much more easy for him to have a really, really strong nutted hand than it us for us to have a super-strong nutted hand. Because remember, given our line, we could easily have something like TX getting sticky or that kind of hand. That’s definitely something that we want to keep in mind. But this really at the end of the day is just going to be a math problem, right?

We’re getting 2.5 to 1 here, so we just have to figure out can we win this often enough? And if we plugged this into Equilab and plug in our hand, plug in the board down below, let’s just assign a range, right? Let’s assign a pretty worse case. So we assign AK, KQ, KT, just say the chopper as well. And let’s also assign QQ, 66, TT, and AJ made both ways, okay?

If we do that, obviously, we’re not winning anywhere near enough of the time. We need to have roughly 30% equity in order to break, and we’re pretty far off from that. It’s one of those situations where against that range, of course calling would be pretty miserable.

But here’s the thing. If we can include something like AQ in this range or maybe QJ, if we can include those kind of hands in here as well, now all of a sudden we’re good. Plenty enough at the time to justify getting involved.

And, of course, if you had any bluffs at all in here, regardless of how they’re composed, then all of a sudden, we’re doing even better. So it’s just one of those you have to make a range assessment and go from there. Now, there’s also one other major important thing that I wanted to point out here. In Benjamin’s little write-up, he mentions K6.

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If villain can have K6, he can also almost certainly have K7, K8, K9, right? I don’t think there’s any reason we can look at this situation and say, “Oh, well, he would only bet K6. He would check K8s,” or any of that kind of stuff. Because if he can have K6 in the preflop range and CB on the flop in turn ranges, I don’t think that you’re going to find someone who can only have K6, but can’t have K8. It just doesn’t make any sense.

In this kind of situation, if we can include those, go back and evaluate it, you notice again, it’s pretty close, right? Exactly 28%. We have roughly 28%, so it’s pretty close. And then if you throw any bluffs in there, then you’re doing just, just fine.

So the major important thing there is that if you can include a K6 hand in the range, I think you’re plenty fine getting involved. And even more so if villain could ever value bet, like, AQ kind of hands where he thinks maybe you have a sticky TX and he thinks he’s punishing you. Now, all of a sudden, you can make those calls. But you have to be very, very careful on the hand range and exactly what you’re assigning.

Remember, in the very, very beginning, Benjamin said, “The villain is pretty loose.” And if someone is pretty loose, I assume that they can have some bluffs. So they can have some second best hands in the range, in which case, I’m never, ever going to fold here. And, sure, some percentage of the time, I’m going to run into this, right?

That’s built in the equation.

That’s not saying that they’re going to have AJ 100% of the time, or that they’re going to have a bluff 100% of the time either. It’s just simply saying that I think there’s enough second best combinations in that range in order to justify calling. And even more so, we’re at the top of our range, which is definitely something that we want to consider, and because of that, it’s okay.

It just is what it is. It sucks to be us. We lose this hand. But, overall, am I happy with the line? Yep, assuming, of course, that we made a good river range assumption, totally, totally happy here.

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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