Check or Bet Your Pocket Sevens on the Flop?

Check or Bet? Pocket Sevens on the Flop

DECISION POINT: In a tournament a late position player raises and you three-bet from the button with {7-Hearts}{7-Spades}. The big blind calls and the initial raiser folds. The flop comes {j-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{6-Spades} and the big blind checks. Action is on you...

PRO ANSWER: After three-betting against the cutoff player's open-raise, the player in the big blind cold-calls our reraise and the cutoff folds. On the flop, our lone opponent checks to us. Should we continuation bet in this situation?

In general, the profitability of continuation betting after missing the flop can be determined by the number of opponents seeing the flop and board texture. The fewer the number of opponents and the drier the flop, the more likely a continuation bet will win the pot uncontested.

Against a single opponent, continuation betting will usually be profitable, even on coordinated boards. When one opponent sees the flop, it is simply unlikely the player has connected with the board.

However, certain opponent actions preflop can narrow players' hand ranges. In this case, the big blind cold-called our three-bet preflop. This generally indicates a more narrow hand range consisting of some medium-to-large pocket pairs as well as some Broadway cards. That hand range connects very well with this specific flop.

Therefore, despite only having a single opponent, the probability that our opponent connected with the flop is higher than usual.

This makes continuation betting less profitable when we have a hand we are not willing to take to showdown. We should choose to not fire a continuation bet on the board and instead check behind, then be willing to get away from our hand on the turn or river.

Checking is the best play.

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