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Hand Analysis: You River the Nuts -- Bet Big or Small?

Jonathan Little

Today I want to share another hand from the same recent €5K European Poker Tour event from which we've looked at some other hands in recent weeks. Among the decisions this one presents is one on the river where I have the nuts must decide how much I should bet in order to try to get the most value.

The blinds were 200/400 with a 50 ante, and I began the hand with about 45,000. The action began with the player on my right opening to 1,000 from middle position. He had about 29,000 to begin the hand, and is the same player against whom I folded a full house in last week's hand.

I was dealt {a-Spades}{k-Diamonds} in the hijack seat and I just called. As I explain below, this might look a little conservative, but I give a few reasons for why just calling here is okay (even though generally speaking I'd probably three-bet 85 percent of the time).

Everyone else folded, and the flop came {10-Clubs}{4-Spades}{2-Diamonds}. My opponent led with a bet of 1,200 and I called. The turn brought the {j-Spades} and this time my opponent checked. I made a speculative turn bet of 2,200 and he called — again, see the video where I talk about the merits of checking or betting this turn.

With nearly 10,000 in the middle the river brought the {q-Diamonds}, luckily giving me a backdoor Broadway straight, and my opponent checked again.

Here comes that question about value betting — how much should I bet? Watch below to see what I did and what happened:

Do you usually make a large or small bet with the nuts on the river? When your opponent check-raises all in on the river, do you take one second to call or three seconds?

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.

  • @JonathanLittle rivers a backdoor straight and has the best possible hand -- how much should he bet?

  • Hand analysis: Do you usually make a large or small bet with the nuts on the river?

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