Trip Fours Facing a Check-Raise, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: In a live $1-2 game, a Middle Position Player min-raises to $4. After the Hijack calls and you call from the Cutoff with 4♠4♥ the Big Blind raises to $20. MP2 folds, you and the Hijack both call. On the K♠Q♦4♣ flop it checks around and you bet $29 and only the Big Blind calls. The Villain check-calls your $75 turn bet and check-raises all-in on the 2♣ river after you bet $148. Action is on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: We are dealt pocket fours in the Cutoff after an Early Position minimum raise and a call from the Hijack. We have a great speculative hand in a multiway pot having to call just under 1% of the effective stack which makes this is a GREAT calling spot for us. We call and then Big Blind raises to $20. The initial raiser folds, the Hijack calls, and it’s $16 more to us. Closing the action for less than 5% of the effective stacks vs what is likely a narrow range in the Big Blind with a strong speculative hand is another great situation for us so we call.
The K♠Q♦4♣ flop is checked around to us. This is a coordinated board that should have hit both of our opponent’s ranges reasonably often. We have a huge hand and the most logical way for us to win a big pot here is to try and make sure bets go in on every street. This is a great spot to bet and we put in $29, a little under half the pot. The Big Blind calls and the Hijack folds.
The turn is the 3♣ and the Big Blind checks to us again. Given Villain check-called the flop they could be slow playing a monster like KK/QQ/KQ, in which case our bet-sizing makes little difference here as we are likely to get all of our chips in against our opponent no matter what. They also could be trying to get to a controlled showdown with a hand like AK/AQ, in which case we would like to target those reasonably strong one pair hands by betting somewhere in the ½ to ⅔ pot size range. We choose $75 and our opponent calls.
The river is the 2♣ which does complete an unlikely backdoor flush draw and our opponent checks to us. Here we would like to continue to extract some value from the medium strength made hands in their range that we beat. Sizing of approximately half our opponent's remaining stack is a good psychological threshold where Villain could potentially talk themselves into calling with a weaker made hand, especially getting good pot odds. However in this case our opponent chooses to shove all-in.
Given that we are getting nearly 5:1 in this spot it is quite unlikely they are bluffing. Against some players who are incapable of making this play with anything less than a flush we could potentially find a fold here. Against a reasonable range of KK/QQ/KQ/AcTc/AcJc/AcQc/AcKc we are still 42.1% though since KQ happens so much more frequently than the other combinations. Given we only need less than 20% equity here to justify calling if our opponent is capable of even sometimes making this play with KQ we can very easily justify this call.
Calling is the best play.
What would you do here?
Share your answer in the comments below!
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