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Call a River Shove or Fold Your Trip Aces?

Call a River Shove or Fold Your Trip Aces?
  • You flop trip aces, bet flop and turn. Do you call a river shove? @LearnWPT breaks down the action.

  • You're heads up on the river with trip aces facing a shove. What would you do? Ask @LearnWPT.

DECISION POINT: In a no-limit hold'em tournament, the under-the-gun player raises preflop, another in middle position calls, and you also call from the hijack seat with {A-Clubs}{5-Clubs}. The others fold and the flop comes {A-Hearts}{A-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}.

Both of your opponents check and you bet, and only the UTG player calls. The turn is the {K-Diamonds}. UTG checks, you bet again, and UTG calls once more. The river brings the {Q-Spades}, and your opponent shoves all in. Action is on you...

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

Given that our opponent check-called two streets then moved all in on the river, we can assign the player a range that consists mostly of hands our opponent is 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 the player has us beat with a full house.

Furthermore, given that the player raised from early position, the number of combinations of trip aces is lower than if our opponent had raised from a later position.

In fact, if we assume this opponent has a range of QQ+, 44, ATs+, ATo+ — that is, pocket pairs queens or bigger, pocket fours, or all Broadway aces — then we only have around 17 percent equity in this hand. We lose the hand around 65 percent of the time and chop around 35 percent 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.

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