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Bet or Check After Top Pair Becomes Full House?

Jonathan Little
  • Consider this tournament hand and decide whether you would bet or check the turn with a full house.

  • @JonathanLittle breaks down a hand in which he flops well and turns better, but still might check.

Today's hand comes from a side event I played in the Bahamas a while back in a PokerStars series. In the hand I have position in a multi-way pot, flop well and improve further on the turn, then face an interesting river bet from my lone remaining opponent. The most interesting decision, though, probably comes on the turn after I've made a full house and have to decide whether to bet or check.

The blinds were 200/400 with a 50 ante. I was on the button, and the action in this hand began with a splashy player to my right in the hijack seat limping into the pot. As I mention in the video below, that creates an opportunity for me to raise with a wide range of hands on the button. In fact, I picked up a strong hand — {A-Hearts}{J-Hearts} — and raised to 1,500.

There were two more splashy players in the blinds, and both of them called. So did the limper in the hijack, meaning there was nearly 6,500 in the middle and four of us involved when the flop came {A-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}.

It checked around to me and I bet 2,000, and only the hijack called. The turn then brought the {4-Spades}, giving me a full house. My opponent checked again, and this is where I had to think about whether to bet or check behind.

First of all, I had to consider what hands he could have that would call my turn bet. In this sort of situation, it is important that you always put your opponent on a range and try to determine which part of that range can continue versus a bet. In this case, very few hands in the opponent's range can call, which led me to check the turn.

The river then brought the {K-Hearts} and a half-pot bet of 5,000 from my opponent, putting me to a decision. See what happens next and how things turned out, and hear my further analysis of the hand:

Would you have checked the turn in this situation? Also, would you have raised the river with the fourth nuts? Let me know in a comment below.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,300,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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