Flush on Double-Paired Board, what do you do here?

Flush on Double Paired Board-optmizd.gif

DECISION POINT: Preflop MP1 called and the Small Blind called. You check from the Big Blind holding 8♦4♦. The flop comes J♠J♦9♦. The Small Blind checks, and you bet. MP1 folds and the Small Blind calls. The turn is the A♦. The Small Blind checks and you bet. The Small Blind calls. The river is the A♠. The Small Blind checks. Action is on you, what do you do?

PRO ANSWER: We bet on the flop with our flush draw, causing the initial early position limper to fold and the Small Blind to call. On the turn, we bet for value after making our flush and our opponent called again. On the river, we must decide whether a value bet will be profitable.

On this double-paired board, any Jack or Ace makes a full house. Our single opponent is less likely to have a Jack because they simply called on the flop and turn out of position. They are less likely to have an Ace other than A9 because they called the flop.

However, when determining whether or not to value bet, the question isn’t whether we likely have the best hand, but rather will our opponent call our bet with worse hands than ours?

On this double-paired board, the majority of hands that will call (or raise) a river bet will be full houses or other flushes. Most of the diamond flushes that an opponent could hold are bigger than our 8-high flush. Pocket pairs 88 and lower are now counterfeited and cannot call a bet. Any other pairs such as 9x hands or higher pocket pairs are likely to fold to a river bet after both the flop and turn were bet.

If we bet, we can expect almost all worse hands to fold. Therefore, we will only get action from better hands than ours.

Checking behind and showing down our flush is the correct play, even though we can expect to have the best hand the vast majority of the time.

Checking is the best play.

How would you play it?
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