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Flopping Top Set in a Multi-Way Pot: How to Extract Value?

Flopping Top Set in a Multi-Way Pot: How to Extract Value?

Today's hand comes from a $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em event from the World Series of Poker and involves me experiencing the enjoyable (though challenging) situation of flopping top set in a multi-way pot and having to decide how best to try to extract value.

It was early the event, with everyone essentially around the 25,000 starting stack and thus very deep (250 big blinds). With the blinds 50/100, I was dealt {j-Clubs}{j-Diamonds} in early position and raised to 300 and was called by no less than four opponents.

As I talk about in the video, when this sort of thing happens — you raise with a hand like pocket jacks and end up seeing the flop five-way — you should be resigned to the fact that you probably need to improve by hitting a set in order to be eager to put significant chips in the middle. Having an overpair five-way is a marginal hand at best.

Lucky for me, the flop cooperated by coming {j-Spades}{8-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} to give me top set. Now the question becomes how to get the most value, and so after it checks to me I have to decide whether to check or bet.

What would you do here with this board against so many opponents? I'll stop here and let you decide, then watch the video and see what I ended up doing and how things played out.

Checking the flop with top set is usually not right, but when it works out, it is great. Would you have played the hand this way?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,800,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

  • Check or bet? It's a five-way pot, and with top set @JonathanLittle seeks to extract max value.

  • How would you play @JonathanLittle's hand after flopping top set? On bet sizing and value betting.

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