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Navigating Top Pair with a Bad Kicker Blind Versus Blind

Jonathan Little
  • Consider how you'd play @JonathanLittle's hand -- a tricky, early tournament blind-vs.-blind battle.

  • Is it a bluff or value bet? @JonathanLittle flops top pair, but on the river his opponent bets big.

This week's hand is an interesting one that came early in a $7,500 buy-in World Poker Tour event — a deep-stacked, blind-versus-blind hand in which I had to deal with being out of position and facing postflop pressure from my opponent.

The blinds were 100/200 with a 25 ante, and it folded to me in the small blind where I had about 26,000 and was dealt {A-Hearts}{5-Spades}. I chose to limp, something I've begun doing more often with a wide range versus competent opponents in the big blind.

My opponent had a bit more than me to start and he checked. The flop came {A-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}, giving me top pair with a weak kicker. With 625 in the middle, I bet 225, and my opponent called.

The turn was the {8-Diamonds}, which if you think about it wasn't good for me, because it is one of the cards that likely improves my opponent's flop-calling range (i.e., eights, sevens, sixes, fours, and threes).

I checked, the big blind bet 500 (about half the pot), and I called. The river then brought the {K-Spades} and I checked once more, then my opponent bet 1,500 into the pot of just over 2,000.

I had a decision to make. Look at what I did and listen to my thought process as I talk back through the hand:

Somehow I found a fold here despite it being what looks like a safe board. What would you have done? Would you simply bet all three streets with top pair, or would you take the cautious route?

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 You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

Have you ever wanted to write your own articles about poker? Maybe you've got some experiences or opinions about poker that you'd like to share. PokerNews is proud to launch The PN Blog where you can have a platform to make your voice heard. Learn more here.

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