Could You Fold the Second Nuts? A Tricky River Decision

Could You Fold the Second Nuts? A Tricky River Decision
  • @JonathanLittle reviews a hand in which he backdoors the second nuts, but then faces a big river bet.

  • @JonathanLittle flops top pair then improves to second-nut flush, but his opponent keeps firing.

In today's tournament hand I take a fairly standard line after defending my big blind, making top pair and check-calling both the flop and turn before rivering the second-best possible hand. But then I face a big, worrisome bet from my opponent — what would you do?

The blinds were at 2,000/4,000 with a 500 ante, and a loose-aggressive player opened for 8,000 from the hijack seat. This was a younger player with a big stack of about 500,000 who had earlier opened with {5-}{4-}-suited from early position.

It folded around to me in the big blind where had about 180,000 to start the hand and I'd been dealt {A-Clubs}{J-Hearts}. I called, and the flop came {A-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{6-Clubs}, giving me top pair. I checked, my opponent bet 9,500 into the 22,500 pot, and I called.

The turn was the {4-Hearts} and I checked again, and my opponent fired again, this time with an almost half-pot bet of 20,000. I called once more, bringing the pot up to 82,500. With each of these calls, I discuss in the video below my thinking as well as the merits of other options.

The river was the {K-Hearts}, making me a heart flush (and the second nuts). I checked one more time, giving my opponent the opportunity to bluff and/or perhaps try to value bet with lesser flushes. But he bet quite big — 68,500 (nearly half what I had left behind) — putting me to a relatively tough decision.

Take a look to see what I did and what happened, and hear further discussion of my decisions in the hand:

Have you ever made a hero fold on the river with the second nuts? How would you have played this hand?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,300,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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