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Limping From the Small Blind Then Flopping a Draw

Limping from the Small Blind Then Flopping a Draw
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  • Hand analysis: @JonathanLittle limps in from the small blind with J-4o, then luckily flops a draw.

  • Blind-vs.-blind strategy, semi-bluffing, value betting, pot odds & more in this @JonathanLittle hand.

This week's tournament hand shows me getting involved in a blind-versus-blind situation with a weak holding. However the flop was favorable and the river even more so, which encouraged me to keep betting throughout the hand.

The blinds were 600/1,200 with a 200 ante, and the table folded to me in the small blind. With about 38,000 to start, I was dealt {J-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}.

As I discuss in the video below, this is a scenario in which I'm likely to limp with a wide range of hands since the pot odds are so favorable to do so. In this case with the relatively large antes, when I put the extra 600 in to call that makes the total pot 4,200 — those are great pot odds.

If the player in the big blind is aggressive I might fold some hands in this spot, and if he is weak I might raise to about 3-3.5x the big blind. Of course, it's important to balance all of these actions (e.g., don't always limp with marginal hands, or only raise with strong ones) in order to avoid being exploited.

The big blind checked and the flop came {10-Spades}{9-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}, giving me an open-ended straight draw. I bet 1,400 (one-third of the pot) and he called. The turn was the {K-Hearts}. I decided to bet 3,000 and he called again, then the river brought the {7-Clubs}, filling my straight.

Here is where things get interesting. With anything less than a straight, I probably wouldn't be value betting here. Nor does my range include a ton of bluffs. With my straight, though, I have to decide upon an appropriate bet size as a value bet. See what I chose and how things turned out:

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

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