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Jonathan Little Rivers a Straight and Faces a Bet -- Raise or Call?

Jonathan Little
  • @JonathanLittle analyzes a hand in which he rivers a non-nut straight and an opponent leads into him.

  • Consider how you might have played @JonathanLittle's hand from early in a WPT tournament.

Today's hand comes from a recent World Poker Tour event, a $3,500 buy-in tournament. It features an interesting river decision where I make a strong hand but face a leading bet, forcing me to decide whether to raise for value or be cautious and just call.

The hand came up relatively early on when the blinds were 50/100 and everyone was deep-stacked. Playing from the button, I was dealt {6-Spades}{4-Spades} and opened with a raise to 300. The big blind called, and the two of us saw the flop come {10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}{3-Spades}.

My opponent checked, I bet 350 (a little over half the pot), and my opponent called. In the video below I talk about the pros and cons of betting and checking in this spot, and why I decided to continue with a bet in this situation.

My opponent called, then the turn brought the {5-Diamonds}, putting a third diamond on the board while also giving me an open-ended straight draw.

The big blind checked again, and once more I had to decide whether to barrel. Ultimately I decided to check behind and the river brought the {7-Clubs} to complete my straight. Interestingly, my opponent then led with a bet of 800 into the pot of 1,350.

What would you do here? Raise? Call? Take a look below to see what I decided to do, as well as to hear the thinking behind my decision:

In this situation, you have to ask yourself if you raise, what does your opponent need to have in order to call you? In general, you will find that the best tournament players take the low variance option and call, especially when the opponent should have a tough time calling a raise with many inferior hands.

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 JonathanLittlePoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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