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Jonathan Little Faces a Casual 2.7x River Pot Bet in $25/$50 Cash Game

Jonathan Little Faces a Casual 2.7x River Pot Bet in $25/$50 Cash Game
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  • A world-class high roller who likes to bluff bets 2.7x pot on river. See what @JonathanLittle did.

  • @JonathanLittle checked turn thinking his opponent might bluff the river. But then he bet 2.7x pot!

A change of pace this week as I wanted to share an interesting cash game hand I played recently, one from a $25/$50 no-limit hold'em game involving several good players. In fact, my opponent in this hand was a very good, world-class player who plays super high roller tournaments — a loose-aggressive player who isn't shy about bluffing, which will be relevant as we'll see.

With deep effective stacks of about $10,000, this player opened for $150 from the hijack seat and it folded to me with {A-Spades}{J-Spades} on the button. Given this player's style, as I thought about possibly three-betting I had to think as well about him four-betting me in response. There was a somewhat weaker player in the big blind, too, who I wouldn't have minded if he stayed in the hand, so I just called.

Both blinds folded, though, and with $375 in the middle the flop came {Q-Spades}{J-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}. My opponent bet $300 (a bit large) and I called with my second pair. The turn was the {2-Clubs} and this time my opponent checked, which suggested I probably had the best hand.

As I discuss in the video below, my thought process included considering how draws (e.g., a gutshot) were in his range as well as weaker hands, meaning I felt pretty sure there were only a small number of cards that could come on the river that would take the lead from me. Checking, then, meant it would be likely he'd miss and bluff at the river with his hands that had no showdown value, in which case I could win more than if I just bet the turn and he folded.

I did check, then after the river {6-Hearts} my opponent casually bet $2,700 — i.e., nearly 2.7 times the $975 in the middle! Now what do I do?

Take a look to hear me talk through this decision and see what I chose:

As I discuss, against balanced players in this spot, you can consider calling with hands that do not block your opponent's bluffs. Fortunately, the decision to call or fold in this particular hand was made easier knowing my opponent's overall strategy.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,700,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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