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Should Jonathan Little Push on the River with a Flush on a Paired Board?

Jonathan Little
  • @JonathanLittle rivers a flush, but the board has paired. Bet big, bet small, or check and be wary?

  • How would you play this tournament hand featuring a tricky postflop spot faced by @JonathanLittle?

Today I want to share a hand I recently played in a tournament at the Borgata, one presenting a tricky river decision.

The blinds were 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante, and I began the hand with 320,000. A tight-aggressive younger player sitting on my right who had about 500,000 to begin opened by raising to 35,000, and I looked down at {A-Spades}{Q-Spades} in the hijack seat.

I elected to play it cautiously and called, and a loose-aggressive player with about 500,000 also called on the button. That meant there were three of us still in when the flop came {9-Spades}{7-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}.

The original TAG raiser checked, and I decided to bet 45,000 or about a third of the pot. Only the LAG player on the button called, then the turn brought the {5-Spades} to give me a flush draw. At this point I had almost 240,000 behind which is just about the size of the pot.

After I decided to check, my opponent checked behind. Then the river brought the {8-Spades}, completing my flush but there was that pair on the board.

Should I go for full value by pushing all in? Should I bet small for marginal value? Or should I check here, fearing the worst?

Take a look at what I decided to do and the thinking that caused me to make my choice:

How would you have played this hand, particularly on the river? Let me know in a comment below.

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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