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How to Play King-High on the River

Jonathan Little

Today's hand comes from early in a $3,000 buy-in World Series of Poker no-limit hold'em event. It ends with me having to decide whether or not to "bluff catch" with king-high on the river. Read on and decide how you would play this hand.

With the blinds 100/200, I opened to 500 from middle position with {k-Clubs}{q-Clubs} and the only caller was the big blind, a somewhat splashy player.

The flop came {a-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{2-Clubs} and my opponent checked. Here I think it's fine to go ahead and make a small continuation bet pretty frequently. In this case I bet 500 and my opponent called.

With 2,300 in the middle, the turn brought the {5-Spades} and another check from my opponent. In the video below I speculate about my opponent's range here and how if I were to bet he'd likely be calling with marginal made hands (which I'm behind) and draws (which I'm beating).

I ultimately chose to check, the river brought the {4-Spades}, and my opponent bet 500.

Should I fold my king-high? Should my opponent's splashy image encourage me to call? Or does that image mean I should fold, actually? What does the small bet signify (a marginal made hand)? All I beat are the busted draws, but are there enough of those in my opponent's range to justify calling?

Watch below to see what I decided and also to listen to how I analyze this river decision.

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 Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

  • Consider @JonathanLittle's hand and whether you'd call an opponent's small river bet with king-high.

  • [email protected] does some range analysis and weighs whether or not to catch a bluff in a WSOP hand.

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