Q♠Q♣ on the Turn, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: In a live $1-2 game a Middle Position player limps and you raise to $12 from MP2 with Q♠Q♣. It folds to the Button who calls. Everyone else folds and you see a flop of of A♦J♠T♥. You check and your opponent checks behind. The turn is the 9♠ and action is on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: In a $1-2 cash game we are dealt pocket queens in MP2. It folds to MP1 who open limps. Pocket queens is far too strong of a hand to play speculatively by calling here, so raising for value is a must. We raise to $12 to isolate the initial raiser with our premium hand. It folds to the Button who cold calls the $12 raise and everyone else folds.
The flop is AdJsTh giving us second pair and a gut shot. Continuation betting can be best in this spot versus many weaker players who will often play very straightforward in this situation. Against tougher players who have position on us and are capable of floating (or even raising) with a wide range of hands/draws, bloating the pot out of position with a medium strength hand can be quite problematic. Against those types of players, it makes sense to check and keep our opponent’s range quite wide. This gives us an opportunity to potentially induce bluffs from our opponents or get to a relatively cheap showdown with our vulnerable, medium strength hand.
We decide to check and our opponent checks behind on the 9s turn which gives us second pair plus an open ended straight draw. Many players are tempted to bet now that we picked up some additional outs and our opponent has shown some weakness. This turn card hasn’t changed the overall situation very much. We still have a vulnerable, medium strength hand that benefits from inducing bluffs out of our opponent and attempting to get to a cheap showdown.
While being passive in poker often feels wrong, when we are out of position versus tough opponents it is often times the best play.
Checking is the best play.
How would you play it?
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