Trip Aces vs a River Bet, what do you do?

Trip Aces vs River Bet-optmzd.gif

DECISION POINT: The UTG player raised preflop, MP2 calls, you call with A♣5♣ and the other players fold. The flop comes A♥A♦4♣. UTG and MP2 check and you bet. UTG calls and MP2 folds. The turn is the K♦. UTG checks, you bet, and UTG calls. The river is the Q♠, and UTG shoves all-in. Action is on you, what do you do?

PRO ANSWER: In this hand, we flopped trips with a bad kicker and bet both the flop and turn. Our opponent, after check-calling our bets, now moves all-in on the river. We are getting over 3-1 pot odds on a call. In order for a call to be profitable, we need to have at least 23% equity in this hand.

Given that our opponent check-called two streets then moved all-in on the river, we can assign them a range of hands that consists mostly of hands they are betting for value. Bluffs are far less likely given this action. Also, it is unlikely that our opponent is value-betting any hands worse than trip aces. Therefore we are either chopping the pot with another trip aces, or they have us beat with a full house.

Given that they raised from early position, the number of combinations of trip aces is lower than if they had raised from a later position. In fact, if we assume this opponent has a range of QQ+, 44, ATs+, ATo+ (pocket pairs QQ or bigger, pocket 44, or all broadway aces), then we only have around 17% equity in this hand. We lose the hand around 65% of the time and chop around 35% of the time.

Since we are only chopping at best and often losing this hand, folding this river is the best play, despite us having trip aces.

Folding is the best play.

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