J♦J♠ on the River, what do you do here?

JJ on the River-updated-optmzd.gif

Decision Point: In a Cash Game, it folds to you in MP2 with J♦J♠ and you raise. The Cutoff calls, the Button and the Small Blind fold, and the Big Blind calls. The Flop comes Q♣8♥6♦. The Big Blind checks and you bet. The Cutoff folds and the Big Blind calls. The Turn is the 3♥. The Big Blind checks and you check behind. The River is the 3♠. The Big Blind bets. Action is on you, what do you do here?

Pro Answer: In this hand we raised preflop with JJ, got 2 callers and we decided to continuation bet on the flop. After getting called on the flop by the player in the Big Blind, we chose to check behind on the turn. On the river, our opponent bets into us. Should we fold, call or raise?

Generally speaking, most one pair hands that you take to showdown after multiple postflop streets of betting should be top pair or better. Occasionally, one pair hands worse than top pair can have showdown value.

In this case, we are getting approximately 3-1 pot odds, which means our JJ must have around 25% or more equity for calling to show a profit. In other words, do we believe we can beat around 25% or more of the hands with which our opponent will take this line? If we do, then calling would be profitable.

Our opponent will often take this line with many Qx hands, some strong made hands like sets or two pair, and occasionally a missed straight draw. There are far more combinations of Qx hands and other stronger made hands than there are missed draws. We likely have the best hand only around 15% of the time or less. Therefore calling is not profitable.

Since much of our opponent’s range consists of one pair hands, turning our JJ into a bluff and raising could be profitable. However, it’s difficult for us to credibly represent a big hand on this river after checking behind on the turn.

The best default option in this scenario is to simply fold our JJ.

Folding is the best play.

How would you play it?
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