Barrel Twice, Then River Top Pair: Go for Value or Check Behind?

Barrel Twice, Then River Top Pair: Go for Value or Check Behind?

Today I have another hand from the $3,500 buy-in World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open Championship to share with you, this one involving a river decision whether or not to go for value, and if so for how much.

The blinds were 1,500/2,500 with a 2,500 big blind ante, and I had about 140,000 or 56 BBs to start the hand. Action folded to me in the cutoff where I'd been dealt {k-Clubs}{q-Clubs} and I raised to 6,000. Only the big blind, who had about 80,000 before posting, called the raise.

After the call the big blind had about 30 BBs, which might lead some to think he should be shoving, not calling — but that's not so. I talk in the video below about why calling is often better here, and why those "reshove" charts some refer to in these spots aren't that useful.

The flop came {j-Clubs}{4-Spades}{2-Hearts} and the turn was the {5-Clubs}, and on both streets my opponent checked, I bet (bluffed), and he called. On the turn I did pick up a flush draw to go with my two overcards, so I was semi-bluffing, but I still had just king-high.

With 56,000 in the middle — a bit more than what the big blind has behind — the river brought the {q-Hearts} and my opponent checked once more.

Now I have top pair. Should I go for value or should I be content to check behind and usually win a medium-sized pot? If I decide to go for value, how much should I bet? Small? Big? Should I go all in?

What would you do? Take a look below to hear my reasoning and see what I chose to do, as well as how things turned out.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

Photo: "Chips & Cards," World Poker Tour, CC BY-ND 2.0.

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  • You've bluffed twice, then river top pair. Go for value or check it? @JonathanLittle investigates.

  • [email protected] analyzes a WPT hand illustrating factors affecting whether or not to value bet.

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