Calling bluffs with a weak hand

In winning today’s “No More Sorrow” MTT, I had a couple of big pot wins on hands where I had a relatively weak holding that ended up being the best hand, and I had to call a scary bluff to get to the showdown.

Let’s review:

Trip Jacks, 3-kicker

1 I’m one of two big stacks at a 6-seat table with one seat empty, and am able to limp the BB with J3o, the SB the only other player in the hand is also the only other player who has a stack close to the size of mine at this table, @C5Phil.

The flop hits me very nicely: JJT. But despite this, I’m feeling nervous about my opponent maybe having a better Jack than me, yet I don’t want to lay down trip Jacks, either.

My opponent has QT, giving them so two pair, high kicker, drawing to a full house, and they fire away at me on all three streets. His flop bet is only 800, or 2BB, which feels to me like a feeler bet to see if I might have a hand here. And I do, but I only call, figuring raising them with a 3 kicker is kinda dumb, and that if he doesn’t have the Jack and I’m winning the hand, I should just keep letting him bet.

He comes back harder on the Turn with a 2400 chip bet, but I’m still calling here, but I’m really hoping another 3, or Ten, or the fourth Jack shows up to let me know I’ll be OK, and it doesn’t. Instead, the river is a King. This scares me, since it made a straight possible for Q9 or AQ, both of which could have been in his range.

So we get to the river, and he shoves, and for a moment I consider laying the hand down, but at this point we’ve come so far; if I give up here I’ll still have 8800 chips, which is playable, but there’s 23,000 in the middle and I would hate to give up on it, so I resign myself to getting crushed and left with just under 1000 to call if I’m wrong, and hit the call button.

In considering my decision, I’d already been ruled out @C5Phil having TT or JT. Those cards would have been raises preflop, most likely, and he limped. Either would have given him a full house, and probably he checks the flop with a full house rather than betting 2BB on the flop, to hide his hand strength and make me feel comfortable betting. So I don’t put him on a boat.

I consider he might have had J4+ which would have beaten my 3 kicker. This is what scares me the most. Although, I guess with the K and the T on the board, that takes my kicker out of the equation and makes it a bit more likely I’d chop if he has JX where X is between 4-9, so if he has JQ or JA he still outkicks me, but J2-9, we’re chopping this. That makes me feel safe to call.

But I kindof thought, based on his 2BB bet on the flop that it felt like he might just have two pair with a Ten, which as it turns out is what he had.

To be honest I’m not sure why he didn’t raise preflop with QT, and if he had I certainly would have folded.

What do you think, was it a good call? Obviously it worked out for me, and I went on to win the whole tournament, but I felt like it was not necessarily a good call, in that I sure felt vulnerable, but I was pot committed enough at that point that losing and being on the verge of elimination was preferable to laying down such a large pot. Did the straight-potential from the River King scare you more, or did it’s utility as a Kicker-blocker make you feel better?

Two pair, one on the board, with straight and flush possible

This next hand, I hold very similar to what @C5Phil lost with in the previous hand. Here, I have KTo in middle-late position, which I open with, raising to 2BB, getting all but the BB to fold. @ChrisKrum and I see the flop, and it’s 66T, giving me two pair, TT66K, and again I’m nervous about possibly running into trip 6’s hand here, but if not I feel OK with top two pair and a King kicker. I’m hoping I’ll draw to a full house, ideally with another Ten, and rule out most other hands beating me.

My opponent checks the flop to me, and I min-bet as a feeler and he min-raises, which I call. I still don’t really know where I am now, so we check the turn, and then he bets half the pot on the river. The Turn is a 7s, and the River is the 8s, and one of the 6s on the board is the 6s. There’s 678T on the board, so any 9 has a straight, and two more Spades have a flush.

This, in addition to any 6 having me beat, makes me not feel so good. So when @ChrisKrum puts out a 1/2 pot bet here, I’m feeling not so great about calling, but I do. It’s a good-sized value bet, not so much that I’d chicken out of calling here, I still have 16000 left in my stack if I’m wrong, and can play a lot of hands with that many chips. I figure I’m going to see 10K chips slide over to him and drop to #3 stack at the table. I’m able to do it because it still leaves me with 16K if I lose, and I can keep playing comfortably with 16K in front of me, and I at least had something. Still, I’m prepared to see I’ve been had.

Instead, he shows Q4, for a nothing bluff, and I take the hand. Here, he should have probably bet more, if he was going to bluff – either pot-size or shoving would have folded me. I’d showed weakness by not betting the Turn, and if he had checked the river, I probably would have too, just to hopefully get away from the hand with as little damage as possible. Instead, he loses another 2500 chips. What do you think? How do you read his check-raise at the flop? Would you have slowed down as I did? Would you have called the river bet here as I did?

KQ on an AAK flop facing big bets from a credible opponent

This was a massive pot, and it was pretty late in the tournament. I’m dealt KcQh on the button, raise up 3BB to 4500, and the BB, @oooooo000000 calls. Flop is AdAgKg, and so I have AKQ-hearts, for a backdoor Royal Flush draw, although I’m in no way counting on that happening.

My opponent bets the flop big, a pot size bet at 11250, and the obvious read here is that he has an Ace, but that’s exactly why I don’t think he has it. I figure the smart play for an Ace here is to check, and since I have a King too, I decide to call. I have the highest possible kicker for this hand if it is a two-pair AAKK showdown, since AK would make Aces full of Kings, and KK would have made Kings full of Aces.

Could he have AK or KK here? Sure, absolutely he could. But I think if he does, he’s not so fast to bet this flop, because he’s sure to have the nuts, and likely to scare me off with a bet like that, and lose value. So that means I’m probably looking at K-something, or possibly QJ for a draw to Broadway, or possible two hearts for a flush draw. Anyway, I figure it’s worth paying to see how this runs out. Besides what if I missed out on that Royal Flush? :slight_smile:

No, I’m not really chasing the RF here.

Turn and river cards are both blanks, so I’m not worried about them and they don’t change my mind about calling his bets. His flop bet was half his remaining stack, and he goes all-in on the Turn. Maybe if he had shoved at the flop it would have made me think twice about calling, but by the time he bets the rest of his stack on the Turn, I’ve already committed enough to the pot that I’m not giving up. I also have him covered by almost 14000 chips, although if I lose here I’ll be hating myself for it for a few hands for not reading his shove as the AA/AK/KK it was representing…

He shows me Kd3d, so he was indeed on a flush draw, the nut diamond flush, but needed to hit runner runner diamonds to get it, and missed. He’s also betting top two pair, which is often a pretty strong hand on a board like this, but his 3 kicker isn’t enough, and I win the hand and all his chips.

KKQ calls a shove from 4-suited

Late in the game, I’m on a huge stack, dominating the final table. It’s down to the final 3 players. I get KQo in the BB, raise 3BB, @sammy72 in the SB calls, holding T6s. The flop hits me, 7KJ, but also gives him a club flush draw. He shoves. I call. Easy call to make with top pair and a good kicker, but mostly easy because I have such a huge stack advantage over him, about 4:1. Turn and river are 3s, no clubs to bail him out and he’s gone. Top pair is pretty good heads-up, and even if I’m wrong here and he has two pair or hits his draw, I can withstand the damage.

What do you think here? Was it a wise call for the SB to come up to 3BB, about 1/5 of his stack with just T6s? Of course once you’re in this hand, seeing a 4-cards to a flush hand the best thing to do is shove, and hope. But I’m not sure this was the best hand for him to pick to die on, here. Still, it nearly did work out for him. Close, but no cigar.

I think I would have played it exactly as you did…let them do the betting and keep my fingers crossed.
In this situation I’d rather take my chances of getting knocked out than folding and see the other guy muck his hand and never knowing what the outcome might have been.

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I might have picked something up from our last league game to lead me to this plan. :wink:

Actually, my comment might not apply in our league play since we don’t have to pay to see anyone’s winning hand…but in that situation I’m pretty sure I would have played it the same.

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