Hand Review - Top 2 Pair, Out of Position

I’m interested to see what y’all think of my play in this hand, at a 1K-2K ring table earlier this morning.

Dealt K :hearts: J :clubs: in the BB, I check my option in the face of five flats (including the small blind). I think my hand is too weak to raise, and I don’t want to have to fold facing a limp-jam.

The flop comes 6 :hearts: J :spades: 2 :hearts:. The small blind leads out with a half-pot bet. I call - top pair, second kicker, with the backdoor second nut flush draw is a good hand, but we’re six-handed. There are a lot of players left to act, including the initial raiser, and I might need to fold facing further aggression. To my surprise, the rest of the table calls as well, building the pot to 24BB.

The turn is where things get interesting. K :diamonds: drops, giving me top two pair. Once more, the small blind leads out, with a full-pot bet, leaving only 11BB behind… and four other players to act after me. I choose to shove ~120BB. Three of the other four players have me covered, and two choose to call, while the small blind folds. (!)

I was definitely shoving for value and equity denial here. There are no possible made straights, but almost any river that doesn’t pair the board will bring one. If the board pair the 2 or the 6, I need to be concerned about someone catching up with trips that called a weak flop bet. Additionally, with two hearts on the board, a third could give another player a flush. Pretty much the only rivers that I’m happy about are one of the two remaining kings (giving me the nuts), jacks (giving me the second nuts), or one of the three offsuit sevens or eights.

I need to deny equity here, since there are so many potential scary runouts. There are only ten “good” rivers out of 46 unseen cards - just 22% of the deck. If I get a bunch of folds, I’m okay with that. Meanwhile, what better hands are going to call? I could be betting into a set of deuces, though they might be tempted to fold. Sixes could also be a possibility, and there are three of those out there. Both jacks and kings would probably raise preflop, but even if they decided to play that passively, I block all but one combo of each of those. Meanwhile, I could see other two-pair hands calling behind, and possibly combo draws (QhTh, 3h4h, 3h5h, 4h5h). Except for the small blind, nut flush draws likely don’t have the equity to call, though AhJh could work as a bluff-catcher.

Building out my value range, I could see taking this line if I held 22 (3 combos), or any of the nine KJ hands. KK definitely would have raised preflop and flop. 66 I would have raised on the flop, and K6 probably would’ve raised flop as well, so they’re no longer in my range here. There’s a possibility 22 is in my flop raise range too, which would remove it from my value range here, but I might also flat. Tough to play bottom set out of position. I’ll give myself credit for 2/3 of my deuces in this spot. That’s a total of ten hands in my value range.

What bluffs should I work in? I like my inside straight combo draws as bluffs. AhQh, AhTh, QhTh and would probably be a flop raise, so those can be removed, but I could have Qh9h, Th9h, 5h4h, 5h3h, and 4h3h - five hands in my bluff range for balance.

Not to be too results-oriented, but I ended up taking down this hand and nearly 400BB, my biggest pot to date, after getting two calls (though not the small blind!) on the turn and 6 :clubs: fell on the river. I was up against AhTh and AsQh.

What do you think of my line here? Should I have shoved, or called and evaluated on the river?


I honestly would have been very concerned with the 2 hearts, Sammy played poor in my thoughts, and cbennoot knows how prone to flushes this site can be, so fair play on his part with nut flush, if you waited till the river you probably would have folded with the 2nd 6. But I don’t know these players or their tendency’s… But a very dangerous play that I would have been scared to play. Glad it worked out for you…

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That’s why I mentioned equity denial as a main reason for my shove. I was hoping to generate some competitive folds, though wasn’t opposed to seeing calls from opponents with relatively low equity.

By the time it came to @cbennoot to act, he was calling 212K to win a pot of either 731K or 753K (depending on whether @pamela00 chose to call or fold), requiring him/her to need at least 22% equity to profitably call. Ignore, for a moment, that @Sammy677 held Q :hearts: in his hand. Given the heart in my hand, the two in his, and the two on the board, there were only 8 hearts left in the deck. If he didn’t have the inside straight draw, he would have had 8/44 = 18% chance of making his flush. Add in the four queens that could have fallen, and his equity jumps to 27%, making it a potentially profitable call, though I never love having just a barely-over-1-in-4 chance of winning a pot. Also, take away the queen of hearts in Sammy’s hand, and the jack of hearts that would give me a boat, and he ends up with a very marginal spot, where he’s basically indifferent between calling and folding.

Completely agreed that Sammy shouldn’t have called. Because he holds the queen of hearts, he blocks the bluffs he wants me and/or Pamela to have. I’m always happy to profit off my opponents’ suboptimal decisions…


tifone19: bingo

If I may be allowed a short sidebar… I’m getting real tired of this pejorative being thrown around arbitrarily. I often get labeled this when I sit down at a table and break up the Texas Hold’em Junior limp party that typically goes on at ring games.

The latest example for me was this hand where I re-raised a min-raise pre-flop with pocket Kings in the small blind. In most cases, it’s pointless to explain to them the strategy behind pre-flop betting. They just “want to see a flop, damn it”.

Anyway, to the topic at hand. Unfortunately, I have encountered some of the names at that table. Betting that hard into potential lemmings is a risky endeavor, but it seemed to work in your favor. The board did seem to favor top two pair as being the best hand. It seemed like the pot was headed to the moon anyway, so I think an all-in on the turn was an alright move on your part. You would have more than likely been pot committed on the river, regardless. Nice win, sir.

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If I may interject Dear sir, The “this hand” bingo was not referring to you or the pair of kings you had, I went back two hands from pocket K’s and the person they are/were talking about is Lukreymnd for his all in pre-flop Two hands prior to your K’s The comment “WOW” from Sid & “Lucky” from Rem were in regards of Lukreymnd play the hand before, but Sid misread his name as Lucky/Lukery… and before you even bet your kings, Sid said “first bingo bet in two hours” about Lukery!
Hope that clears things up Fozman

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Certainly, I understand that. The comments after I bet my Kings (note the small pause before sid acts) appeared to be about me:

"t hast’s another one" [sic]
"ruining good table"

The timing made it seem like I was “another one” in sid’s eyes. If you go forward and look at the 2 next hands, you will see me explicitly ask if those two comments were directed toward me. This was the response I got:

"big bets before flop, wait until u see your hand"

Anyway, I’m not looking to derail the thread. I just noticed that it happened to @WannabeCoder as well and wanted to express a bit of empathy.

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This is actually the main topic of an upcoming Replay Poker blog post I’m writing. Going to be a few weeks until they put it on the site, but this forms a nice teaser for it…


Your shove was fine. You’re only behind if the player betting you has a set, and the feeling I got watching the hand was that they likely just had a Jack, and were trying to close the hand down, hoping no one had a King when it came up on 4th street.

The two calls from the AQ and AT hands drawing to the nut straight were bad. They each have 4 outs, an inside straight draw here, and calling a giant shove here is not good EV. Their blunder pumped the pot up to make you a bunch of chips.

Yeah, they could have sucked out and beat you, but it was a long shot, and they weren’t getting good pot odds to call.

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AT had the nut flush draw as well as Broadway. They were getting basically direct odds to call.

I think you made the right bet at the right time. Personally, the only hands I would have called that all in with would be trips (K or J), the broadway/nut flush draw of AT hearts (Ace Q, K or J hearts would’ve worked too) and though I hate inside straight draws, I would’ve called with the inside straight flush draw of 54h, 53h, or 43h. Strangely enough, I doubt I would have called with the hand you had, though it was likely to be the best. I would have assumed by the bet and earlier raising in the hand that I was dealing with trips and probably at least one flush or straight draw. In a tourney, I may have folded, but in a ring game, it seems like a push or fold option. I’m glad the push worked out for you.

Another thought with respect to the “bingo” comments:

If there had been stronger preflop play, with AQo opening and ATs 3-betting, I almost certainly fold KJo in the big blind. The hand probably ends up being much cheaper for everyone involved - unlikely everyone is all in by the turn, and the river might chill the action as well - and one of them would end up winning the hand instead of losing it.

Because my opponents choose a more passive route, flatting instead of raising, it gave weaker hands like mine a chance to catch up and realize equity. An expensive lesson, which they probably won’t learn.

You, wise readers of the forum, get to learn from their mistakes. Preflop raising isn’t bingo. Rather, it’s a critical part of a balanced strategy to knock out weak hands that might “catch up” on later streets.


About as accurate an analysis as have ever been written on this Forum. In fact, it could dovetail nicely with the “Biggest mistakes players make” thread. #1 has to be having a horrible preflop strategy. If you combine a bad preflop strategy with a lack of knowledge about hand strengths, odds and outs, you get what we see on this site day after day - huge multiway pots with absurd hands at showdown.

As to people learning from these comments, well I just don’t know how many people will pay attention. Poor preflop play exists at every stake game. Whether its weak play or over-calling or raise sizes that make zero sense, the preflop part of the game is mostly absent. People do not understand that every hand is structured by their preflop activity. Instead, they call anyone who raises a bingo player while they themselves are the ones looking to hit flops. Sadly, they don’t see the irony in this.


This is what I call, “the big disconnect.” I suspect that a lot of people read about poker, either in forums or in books, but have trouble applying what they read to their games.

I see people who put too much attention into specific examples, the “what” of poker, instead of boiling things down to basic principals, the “why.”

There are so many situations, most of them fairly unique, that it’s difficult or impossible to formulate a rules based approach to the game. Don’t ask yourself, “what should I do here” unless you understand why one action is better than another.

In this hand, the shove on the turn made it incorrect to chase the flush. It doesn’t matter if someone caught a flush there, it was still incorrect, and will still lose chips in the long term. Force your opponents to make such mistakes, and you profit in the long run, no matter what happens in any particular hand.