Trip Eights on the River, what do you do here?

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Decision Point:
In a Tournament, it folds to you in the Hijack with 8♦7♦ and you raise. The Button and the Big Blind call. The Flop comes 8♥8♣5♥. The Big Blind checks. You bet, the Button calls, and the Big Blind folds. The Turn is the 2♠. You bet and the Button calls. The River is the 4♣. You check, and the Button bets. Action is on you, what do you do here?

Pro Answer: You check the river with trips and your opponent makes a pot-sized bet, do you fold, call or raise?

In this hand we raised from the Hijack seat preflop with a suited connector and flopped trips on a board with a flush draw. We make bets on both the flop and turn and get called both times by the player on the Button. The river does not complete the flush draw and our opponent makes a pot-sized bet after we check.

Since the flush draw did not come in, there are a fair number of combinations of missed flush draws in our opponent’s range. Our hand will win against their range often enough to rule out folding as an option, but what about calling versus raising?

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Whenever we consider raising on the river, we should not simply compare our hand to our opponent’s range to see whether or not it’s ahead at the moment, but instead we should compare our hand to the range of hands with which they will call our raise. In other words, if we move all-in here (the only logical raise size) and our opponent calls, what type of hands will they show? Are there enough worse hands in their range to make raising a good play?

Many of the hands that we beat are missed flush draws, and since they will fold these hands to a raise, we are unable to get any further value from them. There aren’t many made hands worse than ours that will call a raise.

Hands like 86 or more rarely a big overpair are most of the hands that will get value from. Other hands that will call our raise are better trips, full houses and straights. All of these hands beat ours. Therefore raising will not be profitable in the long run.

That leaves calling as the only viable option. Calling will show a profit against our opponent’s range in this spot.

Calling is the best play.

What would you do here?

Share your answer in the comments below!