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Shows of Strength: The Check-Raise into a Multi-Way Pot

Shows of Strength: The Check-Raise into a Multi-Way Pot
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  • Three-way hand: you flop top pair and c-bet, then get check-raised. @LearnWPT looks at your options.

  • Fight back or fold to a check-raise with your top pair? @LearnWPT shows how a pro decides what to do.

DECISION POINT: In a tournament it folds to you on the button with {A-Clubs}{7-Hearts} and you raise. Both blinds call. The flop comes {A-Spades}{2-Spades}{Q-Diamonds}. Both blinds check and you make a continuation bet of half the pot. The small blind then check-raises to 2.5x your bet, and the big blind folds. Action is on you...

PRO ANSWER: We raised the button and were called by both the small blind and the big blind. On a coordinated board of {A-Spades}{2-Spades}{Q-Diamonds}, our continuation bet was check-raised by the small blind.

This check-raise in a multi-way pot — remember, the big blind was still in the hand at the time of the check-raise — represents a stronger range of hands than if the check-raise occurred in a heads-up pot. This means the small blind is less likely to be making this play with a wide range of hands and is more likely to have a strong made hand or a draw.

In addition, this check-raise represents a significant portion of the small blind's stack, further reducing the likelihood that this is a weak hand or a bluff.

Given those assumptions, our {A-}{7-}-offsuit is behind the small blind's range of hands and we should fold our hand on the flop. Recognizing situations where your opponents are likely to have narrow hand ranges is crucial in avoiding losing chips unnecessarily. You should fold here and move on to the next hand.

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