Call or Fold With Top Pair Versus Turn Check-Raise?

Call or Fold With Top Pair Versus Turn Check-Raise?

DECISION POINT: In a no-limit hold'em cash game you raise from the cutoff with {k-Spades}{10-Hearts}, get called by the big blind, and the flop comes {k-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}{8-Spades}. Your opponent check-calls your continuation bet, then checks again after the {4-Clubs} turn. You bet once more, but this time your opponent check-raises.

PRO ANSWER: It's often useful to think about our overall strategy and betting lines with top pair. Typically with top pair in position on a coordinated board (and this board is quite coordinated!) we're going to bet the flop, then bet the turn and check behind on the river if our hand doesn't improve.

One reason for taking that line is these types of hands usually only retain value across two points of aggression.

Every point of aggression further narrows our opponent's range. Once we've narrowed it more than twice against most opponents, our opponent's overall range is going to get narrow enough that we simply cannot continue profitably with a one-pair hand.

That being the case, by default we should fold here to the turn check-raise. If we have player-specific information that our opponent would often take this line of action as a bluff, perhaps we could deviate from our standard strategy. However, most opponents here just have too strong a range to continue. Check-raising a very innocuous looking turn card is often a sign of strength from standard unknown opponents.

Folding is the best play.

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