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Folding An Overpair with John Cernuto

John Cernuto

Full Tilt Pro “Miami” John Cernuto discusses over pairs – when to “pump them” and when to “dump them” – in no-limit hold'em.

I’m here to talk about overpairs - when we get married to them, and when we fold them. It’s about figuring out when to pump them and when to dump them.

Beginners frequently overvalue overpairs. There are certain situations where they should be very valuable, but there are other situations where they are not very valuable. A lot of it depends on the action preflop and the action on the flop.

Here is a situation that comes up a lot. Let’s say I’m playing $1/$2. I’m in early position and it’s been folded to me and I pick up a pair of aces. My standard raise is usually two and a half to three times the big blind. So in this instance, let’s say I open for $6 and two players to my left and both blinds call. This isn’t exactly what I wanted to happen. I really wanted someone to reraise so that I could raise again, because when you take on one person, it’s a lot different than when you take on four people.

The overpair is no longer very valuable. It’s certainly not as valuable as it was preflop or if it were heads up. The main factor I’m considering now is how much I’m going to bet on particular boards. Here comes a board of {5-}{7-}{8-} with two hearts and it’s checked to me. I’m certainly not going to check and fold in this situation, I could still have the best hand, so I’m definitely going to make a continuation bet in this particular pot. I’m making a pot size bet, about $25-$30 because I really want to find out where I’m at. I don’t want to get married to a pair of aces with this kind of board, so I’m going to make a decision based on the action that comes to me on my bet.

So as I bet the pot, the immediate player on my left calls, which isn’t very threatening, and then after a fold, we are met with a check-raise. Now this is the threatening part right here and this is when it comes down to whether you want to pump it or dump it.

If my opponent is loose and aggressive, I might reraise. Generally speaking though, when I don’t know who they are or I respect their game, the aces are being dumped at this point.

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