Playing a Big Draw on the Turn vs. Two Opponents

Playing a Big Draw on the Turn vs. Two Opponents

DECISION POINT: In a no-limit hold'em tournament, two early position players and one in middle position all limp into the pot. You complete from the small blind with J3, the big blind checks, and five players see the flop come 1086.

It checks to the under-the-gun player who bets. The next player folds, the middle position player calls, you call, and the big blind folds. The turn comes the 9 and action is on you.

PRO ANSWER: Whenever we have a big draw, we should consider whether attempting to create fold equity through aggression will be profitable.

Maximizing fold equity with either an open-shove or a check-shove can often both be profitable lines, but will vary in effectiveness with stack depth and hand ranges.

We have a somewhat borderline stack in this hand, meaning that if our stack was any smaller, we would have significantly reduced fold equity by check-shoving, and open-shoving the turn could sometimes be a viable play. Any larger of a stack and open-jamming is far less attractive from a risk-reward standpoint.

The fact that the pot is three-way tips our decision toward check-shoving or check-calling being more profitable than open-shoving.

That said, one very important factor here is the middle position player's hand range. We block many of the non-7-x and non-9-x hands in his range. He is also less likely to have J-x hands and spade draws because of our hand, which makes it more likely he has a strong made hand on the turn.

Semi-bluffing with so many outs is often profitable, but with 2x pot left in stacks and these ranges, check-calling or check-shoving depending on the action will show a higher EV than open-shoving.

Checking is the best play.

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