Paired flops where you hit two pair

You’re in late position, holding something like KTo. Not a lot of action, you decide to open and raise it up to 4BB, and get 2 calls.

The flop comes up with a low pair and a King, something like 7K7.

Everyone checks to you, and you’re last to act.

How do you play?

This is a dangerous hand. You might have top two pair, but you could also be facing trip 7s. And it’s super typical that trips will check in early position.
It’s almost mandatory.

How can you smoke out the 7s without putting up a lot of chips that you’ll have to dump? Flopped trips LOVE to slow play on this site.

Sometimes you can check all the way to the river and see if you have the best hand. If you’re lucky another King may even hit the board, giving you the nuts.

But if you’re able to successfully check all the way to the river, no one’s betting, and no one had it. You were ahead the whole time, and not betting could have let them into the hand. Say they had 89, and the Turn brings a T, now they’re OESD for the river, and could take the hand from you. Or say there’s two of the same suit, and it matches their suited hand, now they could hit a flush. You don’t just have to worry about the player holding trips here.

So maybe checking all the way down is too passive.

You can also try to take the hand with a feeler bet. If there are more than two other players in the hand, you may want to just check, but if you only have 1-2 players to beat, you can often get both to fold by min betting. Min betting here works because it looks like you’re trying to build a pot while concealing a strong hand as much as you can without building the pot.

If you do get a call, be careful, but if the flop missed your opponents, they’ll usually fold to even a light bet with a flop like this, unless they’re on a draw.

Is betting bigger here wise? Probably not, if someone is slow playing trips, they’re going to call, or more likely they’ll raise you big, so you can’t maybe catch up and take them, and then you’ll have to give it up. And if you do call, you don’t have great odds to come out ahead of the trips – you only have two outs in your the deck. And that’s assuming you’re only up against trips and not a K7 full house or KK full house.

Can such hands be played profitably, or is it best to just assume anyone who bets has a better hand than your Top Two Pair, and anyone who doesn’t bet is sleeping trips, and fold to any pressure?

On dry, paired boards (particularly with no flush draws - assume the king’s suit doesn’t match one of the sevens?), I like to c-bet about 20% pot heads up, or 25-30% multi-way, with my entire range after I’d opened and gotten called preflop. In this case, with a pot around 12-13BB and two callers, I’d be putting in a bet around 3BB, proceeding cautiously against a check-raise - likely calling, depending on the size.

My open range has far more kings and pocket pairs than my opponents’ call ranges. Yes, they could have lucked into hitting trips with a random seven. However, because two of them are on the board, that makes it far less likely that they’re holding one of the remaining two.

What they could have - which is far more dangerous if I choose not to act on this street - is either an unpaired ace, or suited/connected cards that could catch some equity on a turn. Let’s say your opponent had 68s, with a backdoor straight flush draw. If they see a turn, any 4, 5, 9, T, or card of the same suit, they could opt to start building a pot with the intent to turn any missed draw into a bluff on the river. Since every card in the deck except the lone offsuit deuce, one of the two remaining sevens, and one of the two remaining kings will allow for gutshot and/or flush draws, you want to deny those hands’ equity on the flop, instead of waiting another street.

You don’t have the nuts here. Quad kings would be the nuts, which you thankfully block. However, your opponent could have quad 7’s, the second nuts, which has you drawing very thin.

So freezing out draws is more important than playing right into unlikely trips. Makes sense.

This is another example of why your open sizing is so important. If you min raise preflop, you might give hands like 7x the right price to call. Any time you make it profitable for your opponents to continue, you make it less profitable for yourself. When you make it unprofitable for them, you make it more profitable for you.