Tough River Decision With Middle Pair

Tough River Decision With Middle Pair

Here's an interesting hand ending with a tough river decision I played in the $3,500 buy-in World Poker Tour Borgata Main Event. Read and watch, and decide what you would do if you were in my situation.

The money bubble had recently burst, and I was in the big blind with {10-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} and a stack of just over 370,000 at the 4,000/8,000 level (with an 8,000 big blind ante).

At the start of the video below I talk a bit about the payouts and how even though we were in the money I was still looking to accumulate chips at this point in order to try to set up making a deep run to the final table and big payouts.

It folded to a loose-aggressive player in the cutoff with about 220,000 to start, and he raised to 26,000 (a little over 3x). The remaining players folded to me, and I chose to defend my big blind with a call.

I actually read the big opening raise as a little bit weak, and to be honest here I was deciding between just calling and reraise-shoving. I just called, though, and the flop came {k-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{10-Spades} to give me bottom pair. I checked, and my opponent bet small — 16,000 or one-quarter pot.

I called, the turn was the {4-Hearts}, and we both checked. The river then brought the {8-Hearts}.

I mention below how the GTO solvers actually suggest making a small bet here, preparing to fold to a raise, although that doesn't necessarily mean that would be the best play in this particular situation.

How do you play this spot when the preflop raiser continuation bets and the turn checks through? Take a look below to see what I chose to do, how things played out, and to hear me talk through that river decision.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

  • Lead with a bet? Check-call? Check-fold? @JonathanLittle faces a tough river spot with middle pair.

  • Hand analysis: Consider what you would do @JonathanLittle's hand of middle pair on the river.

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