Poker Quiz! Flopped Bottom Set with Deuces, what do you do?
DECISION POINT: You are in the middle stages of a Tournament where blinds are 200/300 with a 300 big blind ante. The action folds to the Button who limps, you complete from the Small Blind with 2♠2♣, and the Big Blind checks. You flop bottom set on a A♦K♥2♦ board and lead out to 1,000. The Big Blind folds, the Button raises to 4,000, and action is back on you. What do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: We are playing in the middle stages of a multi-table tournament at 200/300 blinds with a 300 big blind ante. We have 17,800 chips making us one of the middle stacks at the table. We are dealt black deuces in the Small Blind and everyone folds to the Button who open limps for 300.
Getting 11:1 immediate pot odds with a small pocket pair means we definitely can’t fold here. Raising out of position with a hand that is always an underpair to the board when we don’t flop a set seems unnecessarily risky, particularly with our stack size where any meaningful raise probably sets up a 3,000-4,000 chip pot with around 16k stacks behind. We decide to call.
The flop is AdKh2d and we flop bottom set! If this were a raised pot it would make a lot of sense to check to the preflop raiser here. However, with the open limp on the Button we can’t count on anyone betting this flop and we want to start building the pot on an early street to maximize the chances of stacks getting in by the river.
We also don’t want it checking through as suited cards and hands like JTo/QTo/QJo make up much of the Button’s limping range preflop and giving those hands a free card is potentially disastrous. We decide to lead for 1,000. The Big Blind folds and the Button raises to 4,000.
Continued below ...
It’s quite unlikely (but not impossible) that the Button open limped with AA/KK as a trap, although that could mean they’d limp with AK as well which would be good for us. Realistically we have the best hand here a huge majority of the time. So the decision becomes do we slowplay or just 3-bet this flop?
Slowplaying only makes sense if calling gives our opponent a card that allows them to make a second best hand on the turn that will get stacks in. In this spot it's difficult to imagine a hand that improves on the turn and doesn’t beat us that would get stacks in that wouldn’t also just get stacks in now.
Hands like A2s/K2s probably aren’t going anywhere and JTdd/QTdd/QJdd aren’t folding. If we call here and check the turn those hands might get an opportunity at a free river if they miss.
Given how few pure bluffs are likely in the Button’s range it makes the most sense to try and get all the money in now as opposed to waiting until a scare card (like a diamond if they have A2s/K2s) and missing our opportunity.
Reraising is the best play.
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