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Heads-Up on the River With a Straight on the Board

Heads-Up on the River With a Straight on the Board
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  • What's your approach when the river puts a straight on board? @JonathanLittle discusses such a spot.

  • Bet or check? @JonathanLittle analyzes a hand in which the river puts a straight on the board.

This week I have another hand to share with you from that small field, $2,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament from which I've been reviewing hands recently. It's an interesting hand in which I get to the river versus one opponent and there is a straight on the board, meaning I have to decide whether or not to bet and try to claim the whole pot or just check.

With the blinds 75/150 and effective stacks around 25,000 (i.e., deep), I was dealt {K-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} under the gun and raised to 400, and three players called including a tight-aggressive player in middle position.

The flop came {9-Spades}{8-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}, giving me top pair and a backdoor flush draw but also likely connecting in various ways with my opponents' hands. When checked to I led with a bet of 900, thinking I'd likely fold if someone raised. Only the TAG player in middle position called me.

The turn was the {10-Diamonds}, giving me a flush draw but now putting four to a straight on the board, and we both checked.

The river was the {J-Spades}, putting a straight on the board. This is an interesting spot because if I bet, my opponent may fold the chop, but if I check, I may face a bet and then have to contemplate folding myself.

Take a look at how I ended up playing the river and listen to my analysis of the situation as well:

In this situation, it is important to analyze your opponent's range so you know whether or not to attempt this bluff. In this particular hand, my opponent should rarely have the top end of the straight, making a bet ideal. Note as well that it's also important to size such a bet correctly in order to get the fold.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,700,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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