DECISION POINT: In a Tournament where blinds are 500/1,000 it folds to you in the Cutoff. You minraise with K♦8♦ to 2,000 and it folds to Big Blind who calls. Big Blind checks the 2♠K♣7♠ flop, you continuation bet, and Villain calls. The 9♠ turn is checked. The K♥ comes on the river giving you trips and BB check-raises. Action is on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: In a multi-table tournament at 500/1,000 blinds we are dealt K8s in the Cutoff seat. It folds around to us and we make a standard raise for this point in the tournament to 2,000 and the Big Blind is the only caller. Even though we only raised to the minimum amount preflop, often in the mid/late stages of tournaments this small of a raise size is more than enough to put our opponents to meaningful decisions and skew the risk vs reward heavily in our favor, allowing us to steal more often and play more hands.
The flop is 2sKc7s and the Big Blind checks to us. This is a relatively dry flop and we have a massive range advantage in this spot as the preflop raiser. Given both of these factors we should continuation bet and favor a smaller bet size. We choose to make it 2,000 and our opponent calls.
The turn is the 9s. This is actually a close decision for us. Our opponent could reasonably have called on the flop with a flush draw, but they could also have any pair as well as ace high. Many of those are hands that we beat that will fold if we bet again, making it tough for us to get additional value out of our hand.
On the other hand we don’t want our opponent to get a free card with any of the random hands containing only 1 they could have in their range. If the pot were much bigger in relation to our stacks, we could make a better case that equity denial is more important than extracting some additional value in this spot. We decide to check in order to induce some bluffs from our opponent on the river as well as get some value out of some 2x/7x hands (or hands like 55 or ace high) on the river.
The river is the Kh and our opponent checks to us. Given the action so far it is difficult to put our opponent on a big hand. We have to figure most flushes or Kx hands would bet this river given the action thus far, so we’re really targeting 7x/2x/55/Ax type hands if we decide to bet. Given those target hands are all relatively weak, a smaller bet sizing seems reasonable. We elect to go with 2,000 which may be a little too small as most players who will call 2,000 here will likely call a bet as large as like 3,000-3,500 as well. Our opponent raises to 5,000.
This is one of those spots where game theory would say to call 100% of the time with our hand. We only need to have the best hand 16% of the time and our line in this spot somewhat caps our hand range, making it harder for us to have a strong hand.
If our opponent believes we have a capped range, they should be bluffing some percentage of the time which makes this a fairly trivial call. In the real world we will run into opponents who simply never check-raise bluff the river and we are ahead here very close to 0% of the time.
The price we are getting to make this call is simply too good given the strength of our hand. If we had an opponent specific read then we could perhaps make an exploitative lay-down here. Absent that information we are simply too strong to fold.
Calling is the best play.
How would you play it?
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