Getting Punished for Defending Junk in the Big Blind

Jonathan Little

Today I want to share a hand I played that involves a common situation in no-limit hold'em — calling a raise from the big blind with a bad hand thinking it isn't too expensive to do so, then getting into trouble postflop and paying a bigger price later on.

It was a $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament. With the stacks all deep at around 90 big blinds to start and the blinds 600/1,200, a good player in the hijack raised to 2,600 and I called from the big blind with 102.

In the video below I discuss the pros and cons of calling with such a hand in this spot, noting how doing so will increase our variance — and how folding would be just fine, too.

The flop came Q104, giving me a flush draw and pair of tens, and after I checked my opponent bet 3,500. I called with my marginal made hand, then after the 3 turn I checked again and the hijack bet 8,500 (about 60 percent of the pot).

His turn bet narrows (and strengthens) his range further, and I called to make the pot 31,400.

The 8 river didn't improve my hand and I checked, and once again my opponent bet — 23,500 this time.

Watch the video below to hear me discuss my river decision and see how things played out.

The headline hints how the result wasn't great for me this time, though it would have been worse had I not found the fold button on the end. Would you have played this hand differently?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,900,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

  • But they were suited! @JonathanLittle analyzes a hand in which he defends a junk hand in the BB.

  • Consider how @JonathanLittle played his Ts-2s from the big blind and what you would have done.

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