Top Pair on the River vs. an All-in Shove

Top Pair on the River vs. an All-in Shove
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  • You flop top pair multi-way. By river it's heads-up and you face a shove. @LearnWPT examines options.

  • Do you call or fold to this river shove holding K-Q and top pair? @LearnWPT analyzes the situation.

DECISION POINT: In a no-limit hold'em tournament, you see a multi-way flop after calling a raise from the button with {k-Spades}{q-Spades}, then after the flop gives you top pair you are the only one to call the original raiser's continuation bet. You call another bet on the turn, then after the river makes the board {q-Diamonds}{5-Spades}{7-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{2-Spades} your opponent shoves all in. Action is on you...

PRO ANSWER: Against a tough opponent capable of three-barrel bluffing, we should call this all-in.

The issue with calling two streets and then folding on the river is that we are near the top of our range.

Because we flat-called preflop after a raise and a call, we aren't likely to hold any overpairs to the board. We also aren't likely to hold top set or any of the flop two-pair combos. That means that the strongest likely holdings include hands such as 7-7, 5-5, A-Q, and K-Q. On the turn, Q-T becomes our third-strongest hand.

If we are calling flop and turn then folding everything but two pair or better, we are folding far too frequently on the river. That means an opponent can bluff us too often postflop on later streets.

As played, we should call with this hand on the river against a tough opponent. We beat a variety of bluffs including any two diamonds, K-J, A-K, even 9-8s or J-9s.

Against a weaker/passive opponent, folding the turn is likely the best play. However, we shouldn't fold to an opponent capable of triple-barrel bluffing.

Calling is the best play.

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