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Jonathan Little on the Wrong Side of a Set-Over-Set Situation

  • Jonathan LittleJonathan Little
Jonathan Little
  • @JonathanLittle flops bottom set, but his opponent's line suggests he has better. Push or slow down?

  • Could you ever make a snug fold with a set? Or are you always piling in your stack no matter what?

This week I have a hand to share that involves a situation that doesn't come up all that frequently, but usually is memorable enough to inspire a lot of post-hand thought, especially if you're on the losing end — the set-over-set situation.

The hand comes from early in a €5,000 European Poker Tour event when the stacks were still plenty deep. With the blinds 75/150, I was in the big blind when a player to my left opened for 425 from under the gun. It folded all of the way around to me and I called with {3-Clubs}{3-Spades}.

The flop came {J-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{3-Diamonds}, giving me bottom set. I checked, expecting my opponent to continue, and he did bet 600. I decided to check-raise to 1,700, and to my surprise he made it 4,200.

When a player reraises back in a spot like this, you have to think about what hands he might have that could encourage him to try to build a big pot.

How would you approach his reraise? Could you ever make a snug fold with a set? Would you pile your stack in on the flop? Would you play it slow and call, hoping to get to a showdown without risking your entire stack?

In general, when you flop what should be the best hand, you should look to get all your money in the pot. But when your opponent is representing one of the few hands that beats yours, you should proceed with caution.

Take a look at the hand and see how things play out — including how I end up having similar decisions on both the turn and river as my opponent continues to show aggression against me:

Notice how on the river my opponent gave me great pot odds to call his bet of 6,200 into a 21,625 pot. Given the board and the action, I couldn't see too many bluffs in his range, but the odds were good enough that I couldn't avoid calling. I lost the pot, but didn't lose my entire stack despite being on the bad end of a set-over-set situation.

What do you think of how I played this hand — or how my opponent played it? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

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.

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