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Jonathan Little Flops Trip Aces That Turn Into a Bluff Catcher

Jonathan Little


  • Jonathan Little flops trip aces, but a river check-raise reduces his hand to just a bluff catcher.

  • Poker author Jonathan Little asks how would you play this tricky World Poker Tour hand?

Hello again from the 2016 World Series of Poker where I've managed a couple of decent runs so far this summer — finishing 13th in a $5K no-limit hold'em event and 20th in a $10K NLHE event (both six-handed) — in between playing matches in "The Cube" for the Las Vegas Moneymakers in the Global Poker League.

Meanwhile I wanted this week to share with you another interesting hand to analyze, this coming one from a $3,500 buy-in World Poker Tour event.

The hand took place relatively early in the tournament when the blinds were 150/300 with a 25 ante and I had roughly a starting stack of about 30,000. It folded to me in the hijack seat where I raised to 800 with {A-Spades}{Q-Clubs}, and got a call from a tight-aggressive Russian player in the big blind.

The flop came {A-Diamonds}{A-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} to give me trip aces, and when checked to I continued with a bet 800, and my opponent called. The turn was the {J-Diamonds} putting a third diamond on the board and he checked again, and I had to decide whether or not I could extract more value based on his still relatively wide range of possible hands.

I decided to bet again, he called again, and after the {9-Clubs} river he checked once more. I then made what in retrospect might have been a too-small bet of 2,600 into a pot of 6,975. To my surprise, my opponent check-raised big to 7,000, and suddenly I found myself in a difficult spot. Take a look:

When you make a bet, you want to have a clear idea of how your opponent will react. In this hand, I have to admit I had little clue how my opponent would respond to my river bet. After you make a poor bet, though, all you can do is gather your thoughts and make the best possible decision.

Have you ever made a bet that may have induced your opponent to play back at you in a situation where you didn't want to be played back at? Let me know in a comment below.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,200,000 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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