2nd Pair on the River, what do you do here?

2nd Pair on the River-optimized.gif

In a Cash Game, an Early Position player limps, and you raise from Middle Position with K♣T♣. It folds to the Small Blind who calls, and the EP player calls. The Flop comes A♥7♣3♦. The SB checks, UTG checks, and you bet. SB calls, UTG folds, and the Turn brings the K♥. The SB checks and you check behind. The River is the 8♥. The Small Blind bets. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: Due to the dry ace high flop and the fact that the Small Blind check-called a c-bet with another player still in the pot, their range consists of mostly Ax hands or pocket pairs.

This isn't a floating opportunity for the Small Blind and they can't have any draws other than a very rare 45 suited. That leaves them check-calling with made hands on the flop -- either Ax hands or pocket pairs lower than the Ace.

Many players would check the river with 99-QQ, so after they choose to bet the river their range becomes pretty well defined as primarily Ax. There simply aren't enough hands in the Small Blind's bluffing range to justify a call here.

Continued below...


Also, there's no reason to believe turning our hand into a bluff and raising will work often enough to be profitable, so that leaves folding as our only option.

Folding the river is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!

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