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Betting for Value and Protection with Middle Pair in a Multi-Way Pot

Betting for Value and Protection with Middle Pair in a Multi-Way Pot
  • Sometimes a bet serves multiple purposes, as @JonathanLittle shows in a early-level tournament hand.

  • @JonathanLittle analyzes a WPT Main Event hand featuring some interesting postflop betting decisions.

Here's a hand and situation from early in a World Poker Tour Main Event for you to consider — an interesting one that features kind of an unusual line from me.

Everyone is deep-stacked with 300 big blinds. I was dealt {7-Spades}{6-Spades} in middle position and raised 3x to 300, and both the button and big blind called.

The flop came {9-Spades}{7-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}, giving me middle pair and a gutshot draw. The big blind checked, and as I discuss in the video below I decided to bet both for value and (partially) for protection given how many bad cards could come for me on the turn.

I bet 550 and only the button called, then the turn brought the {2-Diamonds}. The hand having become heads-up, at this point I was thinking of my marginal made hand value. I decided to check, my opponent bet 1,300, and I called, bringing the pot up to about 4,600.

The river brought the {8-Spades}, making me a straight, and I decided to lead with a bet of 2,800. I don't always advocate leading with a bet after having check-called on the previous street (as I did here), but in this particular spot I felt as though my opponent could call my bet with some lesser hands. Take a look:

What do you think of leading on this river for value with a marginal straight? Would you bet or check there? What would you do if the button raised you after that river bet?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,300,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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