PokerStars EPT Prague WSOP International Circuit Sydney

How to Play Trips in No-Limit Hold'em

Jonathan Little
  • @JonathanLittle turns a strong hand (trip kings), but faces a range that might be even stronger.

  • Consider how you would have played this tournament hand in which @JonathanLittle turns trip kings.

This week's tournament hand finds me making a strong hand postflop — turning trips — but having to be somewhat cautious against an opponent who potentially has a very strong range including hands that could beat me.

The blinds were 200/400 with a 50 ante, and with a healthy stack of 35,000 I opened for 1,000 from the button with {K-Hearts}{10-Hearts}. The small blind folded and the big blind who started with an even healthier stack of about 50,000 three-bet to 3,400. In last week's hand I talked about how you want to be three-betting larger when out of position, which is exactly what this player did here.

I had to decide whether to call, four-bet, or fold, and ultimately I chose to call, and with almost 7,500 in the middle the flop came {K-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{2-Clubs} to give me top pair.

My opponent led for 3,500. As I talk about in the video below, with this hand I want to play a medium-sized pot, not a huge one, and so I just called the bet. The {K-Spades} turn then gave me trips, and my opponent bet 5,000 (about a third of the pot).

Even though I improved, I still didn't want to raise for value here, as my opponent could actually have me beat (with ace-king, king-queen, or king-jack) and to my raise would probably fold hands that I had beat. I just called, then, making the pot almost 25,000 and leaving me a little less than that behind.

The river was the {Q-Spades} and my opponent checked. At this point, I think I have the best hand most of the time, but do I want to bet here? And if so, how much? Take a look below to see what I chose to do and how things turned out:

In this case I started out getting a little splashy with king-ten suited, then made trips but turned out to be dominated. Looking back, I don't mind my river bet but I'd have preferred to have bet smaller. How would you have played the river?

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 You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

Be sure to complete your PokerNews experience by checking out an overview of our mobile and tablet apps here. Stay on top of the poker world from your phone with our mobile iOS and Android app, or fire up our iPad app on your tablet. You can also update your own chip counts from poker tournaments around the world with MyStack on both Android and iOS.

What do you think?

More Stories

Casino News

Other Stories