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?