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Navigating Postflop With Middle Pair in a Multi-Way Pot

Jonathan Little
  • @JonathanLittle has pocket eights and it's six-way to the flop. See how he manages things from there.

  • Compare how you'd play this @JonathanLittle hand from the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic.

Here's another educational poker hand to consider this week, again coming from relatively early in the $10,000 buy-in World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic.

In this one I am dealt {8-Clubs}{8-Spades} under the gun. With the blinds 150/300 with a 50 ante, I raised to 800. The effective stacks are all relatively deep (I started with 50,000). I end up getting five callers all around the table, including from a great loose-aggressive player in middle position and both blinds.

The six of us saw a flop come {9-Hearts}{9-Clubs}{7-Hearts} and it checked to me. While there may be merit in betting this hand on this board, I chose to check here and it ended up checking around.

The turn was the {3-Clubs} and this time when it was checked to me I bet 2,100 into the 5,250 pot. As I explain in the video below, this bet was for value as I tend to be currently best even with so many players still in the hand. The only caller was the great LAG player, bringing the pot to close to 9,500.

The river brought the {K-Clubs} — an overcard, and also a club filling a backdoor flush. Here I checked, reasoning that my opponent would likely fold worse hands than mine to a bet (e.g., a seven, a busted heart draw, etc.).

My opponent then made a big bet of 7,000, putting me to a decision. Take a look at what I did and how it went:

I think a lot of players, especially amateurs, might have given up on the river here. Would you make the call in this spot for a substantial amount of chips with only a marginal pair? Would you have played this hand differently at another other point? Let me know in a comment below.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,400,000 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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