Here's another interesting and educational tournament hand, one in which I played a speculative hand and turned something very strong, but ended up facing a lot of pressure from a player with position on me.
It was still relatively early in the tournament and I had built up to around 45,000, having an edge on others at the table who sat with around 30,000. With the blinds 75/150, I was dealt in middle position and raised to 400, getting two callers — a younger player in the hijack seat, and an older guy in the big blind.
The flop came and the big blind checked. I chose to continue with a bet of 600 (almost half the pot), and the hijack raised to 1,500. The big blind folded and I chose to call the raise, bringing the pot to almost 4,300.
As I discuss in the video below, calling here may look a little splashy, but the combination of the pot odds (actual and implied) as well as the draws I had encouraged me to call.
The turn then brought the giving me trip fives, and I checked. My opponent bet big — just over 5,000 — and I had to decide whether to check-raise or just call.
Take a look at what I decided to do and hear my explanation of my thought process as the hand played out:
The problem with check-raising the turn on a dry board like this one is that it is difficult to have many bluffs, meaning that raising essentially would turn our range face-up as a premium made hand.
Especially against competent opponents, turning your strong hands face-up is usually a mistake. Of course, I theoretically could be check-raise bluffing, but on a board that usually isn't advisable because many players are not capable of folding top pair.
How would you have played this hand? Also, how would you have played hands like ace-king or ace-jack here?
Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,500,000 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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