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Going for Thin Value With Second Pair on a Scary Board

Going for Thin Value With Second Pair on a Scary Board 0001

Here's another hand from that $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em World Series of Poker event from which we've been reviewing hands, this one involving a blind-versus-blind confrontation between myself and a similarly deep-stacked opponent.

The blinds were 600/1,200 with a 200 ante, and with the effective stacks about 100 BBs it folded around to me in the small blind where I had been dealt {J-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}.

As I discuss in the video below, I talk about the importance of not instinctively folding in a spot like this, even if your opponent in the big blind is a strong player.

Ed. note: See "Athanasios Polychronopoulos on Taking a Stand in Blind-vs.-Blind Battles" where Polychronopoulos makes a similar point about not being so quick to give the big blind walks.

I limped, then my opponent — a good, loose-aggresive player — raised to 4,000. Recognizing the pot odds and how {J-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} is in fact a hand with some potential equity, I called the raise and the flop came {K-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{2-Spades}.

We both checked, then the {J-Spades} turn gave me top pair and we checked again. The river {10-Spades} completed the board, and here is where I had to decide whether or not to go for some thin value by betting my pair of jacks even though the board is quite scary.

Watch and listen to how I discuss the situation and my thinking, and see how things turned out when I did bet:

Do you typically find yourself checking or betting in these situations? Let me know in a comment below.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,800,000 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..

  • In a blind-versus-blind hand, @JonathanLittle goes for thin value on the river with second pair.

  • It's a scary board, but @JonathanLittle still goes for thin value. Consider how you'd play the hand.

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